Millennial Lithium has announced that commissioning of its lithium carbonate pilot plant at the company’s flagship Pastos Grandes project in Argentina is underway.

The pilot plant is located next to the Pastos Grandes Salar. It is a full flowsheet design for producing up to three tonnes per month of ‘battery-grade lithium carbonate’.

Covering 8,664ha, the Pastos Grandes project is located in Salta Province, Argentina.

A feasibility study for the Pastos Grandes project was completed in July last year, which estimated a capital cost of £362m ($448m).

The project is expected to produce 24,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of battery-grade lithium through its anticipated 40-year mine life.

Millennial Lithium president and CEO Farhad Abasov said: “Millennial is pleased to announce the commissioning of its pilot plant designed to produce up to 3tpm of battery-grade lithium carbonate.

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By GlobalData

“Evaporation ponds have been concentrating lithium and plant feed. The first stage of the plant, the Solvent Extraction (SX) unit to remove Boron (B) has been installed and tested.

“Despite Covid-19 restrictions and slowdowns, the company has continued progressing its work with a number of off-takers and strategic investors. We are well on track with all our corporate programmes.”

Millennial said that the initial production from the pilot plant will be ‘achieved in batch mode’ in order to test and optimise the individual stage processes before efficiently ‘transitioning to continuous flow production’.

The first batch processing and production of battery-grade lithium carbonate is anticipated during the fourth quarter this year.

In June last year, Millennial Lithium submitted the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report to Argentina’s Environmental and Mining Authority for construction and operations at Pastos Grandes.