The proposed plant is part of the company’s vertical integration strategy that will allow it to extract more value from the lithium supply and processing chain.
With a lithium hydroxide plant, Neometals aims to take lithium concentrate feed from its 13.8% owned Mt Marion lithium operations and convert it to the higher value lithium hydroxide product.
M+W to deliver report in December quarter
Engineering firm M+W Group plan to deliver the report from the FEED Study in the December quarter of 2018.
The project feasibility study will integrate the FEED study results in preparation for a request for an investment decision in the March quarter of 2019.
Neometals’ CEO Chris Reed said: “We are extremely pleased with the previous studies conducted by M+W for Neometals and anticipate a similar high standard of report for the FEED study.
“Neometals looks forward to advancing its strategy to become an integrated lithium producer and maximise the value of its spodumene off-take rights from Mt Marion via the downstream conversion to lithium hydroxide in a local plant.”
Converting lithium hydroxide locally has transport, shipping and duty savings.
About seven tonnes of spodumene concentrate, such as that produced from Mt Marion, is required to produce one tonne of higher value lithium hydroxide.
Currently, that is being done in a conversion plant in China.
The lithium spodumene concentrate input represents over half the operating costs of production.