Canada Lithium Corp. ("Canada Lithium" or the "Company") announced today that wet commissioning and initial tests of most of the major hydrometallurgical plant circuits have been completed successfully at its operations near Val d'Or, Québec.
Plant Commissioning Update
Commissioning of the plant's "front end," which includes the crushing, grinding and flotation circuits, is ongoing. During commissioning, the process plant produced spodumene in January, February and March of 2013. During March 2013, the Company mined approximately 32,000 tonnes of ore at a head grade of 0.95% (as compared with the mineral reserve grade of 0.94%) and an estimated 400,000 tonnes of waste rock to complete Stage One of the Tailings Management Facility (TMF).
The EPCM stage is now substantially completed and systems testing of the plant's "back end," or hydrometallurgical circuit, is ongoing with the only commissioning delay to date being with respect to the kiln, which converts alpha spodumene (the end product of the crush/grind/flotation circuit) to beta spodumene. Pre-heating of the kiln has been completed and it is now being operated intermittently at medium operating temperatures for mechanical testing. Final commissioning of the kiln is pending final inspection by officials from the Canadian Standards Association (CSA Group), which the Company had anticipated for the end of March 2013. The Company is actively working with CSA Group to complete the inspection. CSA inspectors are scheduled to be on-site early next week.
Commissioning of the plant's hydrometallurgical circuit is ongoing, predominantly the lithium sulphate circuit, sodium carbonate circuit and the various stages of precipitation, leaching, filtration and packaging. These circuits are now operating and the first lithium carbonate product was successfully produced using out-sourced lithium sulphate.
Commissioning of the project will continue through the upcoming months. The Company's objective remains to meet its target of first carbonate shipments to China in late April 2013 at an initial reduced level as commissioning tonnages build. The Company continues to expend working capital to maintain the plant in a ready state to commence processing and currently anticipates full ramp-up to a production rate of 20,000 tonnes of battery-grade lithium carbonate per annum by the end of the fourth quarter of 2013.
Representatives of offtake partner Tewoo were on-site last week to review logistics and transportation strategies for the delivery of lithium carbonate product in the coming months to the Ports of Vancouver or Prince Rupert.
Tailings Management Facility (TMF) Update
Golder Associates, the Company's TMF geotechnical consultant, has completed an evaluation of the water discharge that occurred from the process-water cell of the TMF on March 19, 2013, and is preparing a remedial action plan which is anticipated to be completed by the end of this week and submitted to the Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement de la Faune et des Parcs (MDDEFP) early next week. Canada Lithium anticipates that the remediation work can be completed within 10 days of MDDEFP approval and without affecting plant commissioning.
A diagram of the flow sheet is on the Canada Lithium website www.canadalithium.com. Copy the link below into a web browser and scroll to the flow sheet section: http://www.canadalithium.com/s/QuebecLithium.asp