FLSmidth has signed a contract for the supply of pyroprocessing and comminution equipment for Tianqi Lithium Australia’s lithium hydroxide processing plant, which will be located in Kwinana, Western Australia. Delivery will be by the end of 2017.
Tianqi Lithium Industries, which controls a majority stake in the Greenbushes mine, a major producer of lithium concentrate from spodumene, is building a downstream processing plant for lithium hydroxide in Kwinana, 38 km south of Perth.
The plant will convert around 161,000 tonnes per year of spodumene concentrate into 24,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide, for use in the growing global market for lithium ion batteries.
FLSmidth has won a contract for supplying equipment that will support critical functions in the overall process. FLSmidth’s pyroprocessing equipment includes a 2-stage cyclone preheater rotary kiln with an indirect rotary cooler, a natural, gas-fired kiln burner and a complete, off-gas handling circuit. FLSmidth says the 2-stage preheater rotary kiln represents the state-of-the-art system for facilitating spodumene phase conversion for maximum lithium recovery, while minimising fuel consumption.
“This order was won on our superior pyroprocessing technology; competing pyroprocessing solutions are hampered by issues such as refractory wear, flow instabilities and inefficient transport of solids. Our kiln system design ensures maximum efficiency, stability and availability and thereby minimum operational costs,” said Paul Avey, senior vice president of minerals, Australia South-East Asia & China.
Avey went on to explain the technology: “We have designed the cyclone preheater with a velocity profile that reduces refractory wear potential, and the rotary cooler combines indirect and direct water-cooling to achieve a low product temperature. At the same time, it is decoupled from the rotary kiln in terms of gas flow, eliminating the fine product recirculation between the kiln and cooler, which has a negative impact on system stability and product quality.”