Metso has been awarded a major contract to supply pyro-processing and comminution equipment for a new lithium hydroxide processing plant at Albemarle Corporation’s Kemerton site near Bunbury in South Western Australia.

The construction of this greenfield project started in January 2019 and production is scheduled to commence in 2021. 

The plant will initially consist of three production trains, each producing 20,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of lithium hydroxide, with a potential expansion to five trains which will see production increase to 100,000tpa by around 2025.

The plant will be supplied with lithium concentrate produced at the nearby Greenbushes mine. 

Metso’s scope of supply includes state-of-the-art calciner and acid roaster systems, ball mills, off-gas handling systems as well as other auxiliaries. Metso’s proven pyro-processing technology will deliver high lithium recovery with low fuel consumption 

Orders were booked in Metso’s 3rd quarter 2018 and 1st quarter 2019 orders received, equipment deliveries are expected to begin in the second half of 2019. 

Metso’s Senior Vice President Australian Market Areas Ross Wotherspoon is delighted with Albemarle’s decision to work with Metso. 

"We are very pleased to be playing such an important role in Albemarle’s plans as it races to supply booming world demand for battery-quality lithium chemicals," he said. 

"Critical to the success of this project, is the combined knowledge and experience of our people and Australian based suppliers and subcontractors who are engaged to deliver major components of this important contract."

Metso’s President for Mining Equipment Business Victor Tapia said they are diversifying. 

“Lithium projects are on the increase and at Metso, we have diversified our solutions and services to meet this growing demand," he said. 

"We are the proven technology leader in minerals processing with a strong and capable support organisation close to our customers."


Image: Located approx. 100 km south-east of Kemerton, the Greenbushes mine will supply lithium concentrate to Albemarle’s new processing plant, Supplied.