South West WA Branch – Lithium Masterclass
This Masterclass will cover the value chain from hardrock ore/brine, through process options and plant design, to finished lithium products, markets, recycling and the future. It will also cover topics such as why was lithium hot and why has it gone off the boil, lithium in Western Australia, processing, separation and concentration of coarse and fine ores and the future industry outlook.
Date: Thursday 6th February, 2020
Time: 3:30pm networking for 4:00pm Lecture start
Mercure Sanctuary Golf Resort,
Lot 100 Old Coast Road,
Bunbury, WA 6230
Includes: Mid-lecture break with a light supper and beverages provided
Registrations are essential
This event is worth 3 PD hours.
Dr. Nicholas Welham graduated from Leeds University in 1986 with B.Eng (Hons) and from the Royal School of Mines at Imperial College with a PhD in 1993. He then moved to Australia to work at the Parker Centre for Hydrometallurgy, the Australian National University, Murdoch University and the University of Ballarat (now Federation University). Dr. Welham has over 80 professional journal publications and is inventor on around 50 international patents which have been granted for novel hydrometallurgical technologies.
Dr. Welham has undertaken a large number of industrially orientated minerals projects, primarily in the hydrometallurgy area. His international standing was enhanced by being an Editor-in-Chief of the Elsevier journal “Hydrometallurgy” for ten years. He has been the principal inventor and developer of the patented base metals processes, AmmLeach® and HyperLeach™. Since 2012, Dr. Welham has been an independent consultant specialising in developing novel hydrometallurgical processes for a range of clients. He recently wrote the Chapter on Lithium Processing for the new SME Mineral Processing Handbook,
Dr. Welham is currently consulting on three hard rock lithium projects, developing a heap leach for lithium minerals in a joint venture, running one day short courses on Lithium Ore Processing and consulting on other battery metals and materials.
Lithium Ore Processing Masterclass
The ongoing surge in lithium demand is primarily driven by the anticipated demand for electric vehicles. The two major sources of lithium are brine and hard rock pegmatites, only the latter have potential to meet the short term increase in lithium demand due to the slow process used to extract Li from brines.
This Masterclass will examine the processes required to convert ore to final lithium product in limited technical detail. The mineralogy of hard rock deposits will be covered briefly as this has the greatest influence on the subsequent processing. The main drivers behind the concentration of ores by gravity and/or flotation will be discussed along with typical flowsheets for spodumene and mica resources. Some pitfalls in process design will be outlined.
Once a concentrate has been produced it is then converted to either lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide for sale to the battery manufacturers. The conversion processes will be examined and comparison between the different options will be made.
This masterclass is primarily aimed at those who wish to increase their understanding of the key features of hard rock lithium processing and the underlying factors behind process selection and design.
- Why was lithium hot and why has it gone off the boil?
- Lithium resources
- Lithium in West Australia
- Mineralogy and geology of hard rock lithium
- Brine in brief
- Physical processing, separation and concentration of coarse and fine ores
- Conversion of concentrates to Li2CO3 and LiOH
- New processes
- Future industry outlook
- Recycling of Li