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Lithium Universe gets refinery engineering study boost

Updated: Apr 30

Lithium Universe is a new face at Canada’s emerging James Bay region. Credit: File

Lithium Universe is another step closer to establishing its proposed Quebec lithium processing hub after securing global consulting heavyweight Hatch to undertake the engineering study for its downstream lithium carbonate refinery in Canada.

Hatch is fast becoming the global leader in the design of lithium refineries and will draw upon expertise from Brisbane, Perth and Montreal, with staff from all three cities contributing to the project. The first part of the study will be to determine the ideal location for the lithium refinery and Lithium Universe says the aim is to define the process and non-process infrastructure requirements for a 16,000 tonnes per annum lithium carbonate refinery, including the estimated capital and operating costs.

The design will include the use of conventional kiln conversion of spodumene, sulphuric acid sulphation and leaching, impurity removal and final purification to battery-grade lithium carbonate. It will be similar to Hatch’s design of Galaxy Resources’ Jiangsu lithium oxide plant.

Both Lithium Universe chairman Iggy Tan and non-executive director Dr Jingyuan Liu previously worked with Hatch on the design, construction and commissioning of the Jiangsu plant, which was subsequently sold to China’s Sichuan Tianqi Lithium in 2014 for a cool $132m. Mr Tan says the overall mission is to build a multi-purpose, stand-alone concentrator feeding a battery-grade lithium carbonate plant.

The company has chosen to focus on lithium carbonate rather than lithium hydroxide due to its widespread use in the fast-growing lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries. LFP batteries are increasingly used in electric vehicle applications due to their lower costs, longer shelf life and superior stability compared with lithium hydroxide.

We welcome the opportunity to work with Hatch once again. We have got the same team back together and their role is to replicate the success of their previous experience at the Jiangsu Lithium Carbonate refinery. Today that plant is considered to be a global benchmark for lithium refineries and is renowned for producing the highest-quality battery-grade lithium carbonate worldwide. With this remarkable expertise and experience, Lithium Universe considers that it can replicate the same level of success in Québec, Canada. Lithium Universe chairman Iggy Tan

The company’s Apollo lithium project covers about 240 square kilometres and includes 466 claims in the province of Quebec in the famed James Bay region, which has recently gained international recognition as a premier tier-one lithium mining province.

The site is considered a greenfield project with limited historical exploration. Quebec’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests has identified 17 outcrops on the property as being dominantly pegmatite-hosted.

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