Calix and Pilbara Minerals to trial lithium processing technology

Industrial process technology developer Calix and Pilbara Minerals have inked a joint venture agreement to develop a demonstration plant at Pilbara’s Pilgangoora Project in Western Australia (pictured) to produce lithium salts.

The companies aim to demonstrate the production of lithium salts through an ‘innovative midstream value added refining process’ utilising Calix’s patented calcining technology, and evaluate its commercialisation.

The process is said to offer a superior product, lower cost, reduced carbon energy intensity and reduced waste product logistics.

Pilbara Minerals CEO Dale Henderson said: “If successful we will be able to deliver a superior chemical intermediary product to market compared to spodumene concentrate.

“This intermediate product offers a higher concentration of lithium and less impurities whilst being produced through a new process that reduces CO2 emissions compared to the traditional process route for hard rock spodumene chemical conversion.”

The two companies have already progressed engineering design work and feasibility studies for the joint venture demonstration plant, which will be owned 55 percent by Pilbara and 45 per cent by Calix.

Market test samples were completed in October and the companies are now testing the market for the product.

They now plan to liaise with the federal government to finalise a grant agreement for a $20 million modern manufacturing initiative grant awarded to the project in May.

Calix CEO Phil Hodgson said the agreement was part of Calix’s focus on decarbonising essential industries using its core technology’s ability to electrify industrial processing.

Calix’s calciner technology uses a new type of kiln which can be heated externally using renewable electricity rather than in-kiln combustion. This also enables the capture and use of of process gases.

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Picture: Pilbara Minerals/Pilgangoora Project

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