Calix and Pilbara Minerals plan lithium chemicals refinery

Industrial process technology company Calix and Pilbara Minerals have teamed up to develop a lithium chemicals refinery at Pilgangoora in Western Australia.,

The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding for a scoping study for a lithium salt production facility using Calix technology at Pilbara’s existing spodumene concentrate facility.

Following that the companies plan a demonstration plant at Pilgangoora, one of the world’s largest lithium resources, which they claim would be a world-first commercial demonstration scale, low-emissions lithium salt production facility.

The project will utilise Calix’s core technology – a new type of kiln that is able to be electrically heated, and thus reneweably powered.

It will convert fine, lower-grade spodumene concentrate to create a concentrated lithium salt.

This in turn can be further refined into lithium battery metals or as a direct feedstock for producing lithium iron phosphate battery cathodes.

Calix said in a statement: “The development could cornerstone a full battery production supply chain in Australia.

“The project is in strong alignment with government strategies to onshore processing and manufacturing, (for) more suatainable mining and processing, and critical minerals strategies for battery metals.”

Pilbara Minerals’ 100 per cent-owned Pilgangoora Operation is 20km from Port Hedland, and is one of the largest hard rock lithium deposits in the world.

Two processing plants at the site produce spodumene concentrate and a tantalite concentrate.

According to Pilbara Minerals: “The ability to manufacture high-value battery-grade lithium products through downstream processing has the potential to deliver significant additional value for Pilbara Minerals.

“Recognising this, Pilbara Minerals is pursuing a pathway to become a fully integrated lithium raw material and chemical supplier.”

Picture: Pilbara Minerals/Pilgangoora

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