JIANGSU PLANT OPENING
Galaxy wholly owns a battery grade lithium carbonate plant. The plant is located in the Yangtze River International Chemical Industrial Park of the Zhangjiagang Free Trade Zone in the Jiangsu Province of China, less than 1 hour's drive northwest of Shanghai (artist impression above).
The plant allows Galaxy to maintain complete control over the production and quality of the Company's products and secures lower production costs.
Lithium coarbonate is used for the manufacture of lithium-ion battery cathode materials and Galaxy uses spodumene from its Mt Cattlin project in Western Australia as feedstock for the plant.
At full capacity, the Jiangsu plant produces 17,000tpa of battery-grade lithium carbonate.
The Company has secured offtake agreements for 100% of its capacity with cathode makers in China and Japan.
The Jiangsu plant represents Galaxy's move into downstream operations, and is the first fully-automated lithium carbonate plant in China. All the necessary infrastructure is available in the Yangtze River International Chemical Industrial Park. Key utilities including water supply, sewage treatment, power supply, stream telecommunications, industrial gas and fire-fighting facilities are available at the Company's site. The Jiangsu site plan provides access to supply of sulphuric acid, soda ash and caustic soda from neighbouring producers.
Lithium Carbonate Production
The following key process steps are involved in the conversion of spodumene to lithium carbonate:
• Sulphating roast and leaching
• Lithium carbonate crystallisation
• Sodium Sulphate crystallisation
Decrepitation is essential for the hydrometallurgical processing of spodumene ore. Decrepitation in a rotary calcining kiln changes the crystal phase from the alpha to the beta form. This enables the lithium in the ore to be amenable to displacement by sodium. Moist spodumene concentrate averaging 6% Li2O and 5% moisture is reclaimed from an open stockpile area and is fed to a rotary kiln. Decrepitation takes place at 1,070 °C – 1,090°C. The kiln product consists of a granular mix of beta-spodumene and unreacted gangue minerals, which upon leaving the kiln is cooled to about 100°C in a fluid bed cooler. The cooled kiln product is then milled in a dry grinding mill to reduce the material to below 200μm in preparation for the subsequent process step and pneumatically conveyed to a storage silo.
Flow Diagram – Jiangsu Lithium Carbonate Plant