01/03/2018 - 15:16

Talison eyes further Greenbushes expansion

01/03/2018 - 15:16

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Talison Lithium has engaged MSP Engineering to conduct a feasibility study into another expansion at its Greenbushes project while a $320 million upgrade, set to double production, is already under way.

Talison eyes further Greenbushes expansion
Greenbushes currently produces about a third of the world's lithium.

Talison Lithium has engaged MSP Engineering to conduct a feasibility study into a further expansion at the company’s Greenbushes project, where it is already spending $320 million to upgrade processing facilities and double production.

Greenbushes already produces a third of the world’s lithium and the current upgrade will take production to more than 1.3 million tonnes of lithium concentrate per annum.

Talison said the study was being commissioned in response to growing demand for lithium concentrates within the lithium-ion battery market.

The company said the study would consider an expansion of ‘significant scale’ with an investment decision expected in the third quarter of 2018.

MSP is the head contractor for the current expansion project, which is due for commissioning in the second quarter of 2019.

Talison, which is jointly owned by Chinese group Tianqi Lithium (51 per cent) and US company Albemarle Corporation (49 per cent), holds the lithium rights for the Greenbushes site, with Global Advanced Metals owning the rights to mine all other minerals at the site.

Tianqui is separately investing abut $700 million establishing a lithium hydroxide plant at Kwinana, with MSP also lead contractor. while Albemarle has commenced environmental assessments to build its own plant near Bunbury.  

GAM launched legal action against Talison in the Supreme Court of Western Australia last year, with GAM seeking to halt Talison’s planned expansion of lithium production at Greenbushes pending consent from GAM.

GAM also wants Talison to change its expansion plans to minimise sterilisation and loss of tantalum resources at Greenbushes. 

GAM recently submitted a development plan to begin direct tantalum mining at Greenbushes.

Greenbushes was previously a significant source of the world’s tantalum supply, according to GAM.

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