South Africa-based DRA has secured a contract for the preliminary engineering and design of processing facilities for Altura Mining’s Pilgangoora lithium project in Pilbara, Western Australia.

Mining at Pilgangoora is planned to be conducted by open-pit methods.

The mine will also have a processing facility, which will have a feed capacity of 1.4Mt/a, producing a spodumene concentrate grading about 6% lithium oxide.

Under the contract, DRA will be responsible for all engineering disciplines to a 30% level of detail, together with capital and operating cost estimates to a 10% level of precision.

“Production of first concentrate from Pilgangoora lithium project is expected in the third quarter of next year.”

DRA Pacific Region director Chad Botha said: “We are especially pleased to have been awarded the engineering and design of this significant project.

“This assignment adds to DRA’s considerable track record in the design and delivery of hard rock lithium projects, especially in the application of heavy medium separation (HMS) systems and other gravity recovery techniques.”

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Production of first concentrate from Pilgangoora lithium project is expected in the third quarter of next year.

Pilgangoora is wholly owned by Altura Mining, and has been increased in size with a JORC mineral resource estimate of 25.2Mt at 1.23% Li20.

Altura is working to develop the project and seeking the right equity investor/offtake partner to maximise the project stake.

DRA’s subsidiary, Met-Chem of Canada develops hard rock lithium projects in Quebec, including beneficiation and hydrometallurgical facilities.