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CleanTech decides on locations of lithium processing facilities in Chile

12:03, 2nd July 2024
Alastair Ford
Vox Newswire

CleanTech Lithium PLC (CTL) Follow | CTLhas decided, following studies, to locate its direct lithium extraction plant and eluate concentration equipment at the Laguna Verde lithium project itself, and its carbonation plant at Copiapó.

Accordingly, the processing plan for material produced from Laguna Verde now involves the production of a concentrated eluate with 6% lithium, the maximum concentration before lithium salts begin to precipitate. This will then be transported to Copiapó for impurity removal and carbonation stages.

Laguna Verde is connected to Copiapó via a 270km paved international highway. Copiapó is a major regional mining centre in Chile with a population of 175,000, having well established infrastructure, a skilled workforce, and existing supply hubs for reagents and other materials.

While basing the entire plant at the project site is feasible and most lithium projects in the lithium triangle are proceeding on such a basis, the good transport link and relative proximity to Copiapó made a trade-off study valuable.

The decisions will be incorporated into the ongoing pre-feasibility study, which is being led by Worley, a global professional services company of energy, chemicals and resources experts, from its Santiago office.

Xi’an Lanshen New Material Technology Company has been selected to provide the lithium processing plant design and equipment, and Worley to design the balance of plant and infrastructure.

The plan is to produce 20,000 tonnes of battery-grade lithium carbonate per year. 


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There are always trade-offs in mining. This proposed configuration results in a minor increase in volumes transported while taking advantage of Copiapó's well-developed infrastructure and better access to a skilled workforce. 

According to the Lanshen plant design, approximately 70% of the operational workforce will be employed at the carbonation plant, and locating it in Copiapó provides major advantages in hiring a local work force.

CleanTech stresses that the benefits of this include greater female participation in the project.

It also means that the footprint at the project site, which is at 4300m above sea level, will be greatly reduced in the context of power supply, storage, camp and plant facilities, construction phase impacts, and environmental impacts.

Additionally, the carbonation plant in Copiapó would eventually be expanded to also treat concentrated eluate from the Viento Andino project.

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