Canada Lithium Corp. reported in early June 2012 it has received the mining license for its open-pit Québec Lithium Project from Québec’s Ministère Des Ressources Naturelles et de la Faune. Canada Lithium also reported the project continues to meet critical-path schedule dates and remains on target for the C$207-million capital cost. Commissioning of the mine and spodumene processing plant is anticipated at the end of 2012, with production of first lithium carbonate at the end of the first quarter of 2013.
The Québec Lithium Project is located 60 km north of Val d’Or. Site construction work at the project was more than 20% complete, and EPCM contractor Genivar was installing mechanical and electrical components throughout the processing plant. Crushers, ball mills, kilns and hydrometallurgical components were arriving on site, and firm orders, fixed tenders or detailed supply offers had been made for approximately 50% of the budgeted capital expenditures.
The granting of the mining license for the Québec Lithium Project followed approvals for the location of the tailings management facility, waste dumps, and mill site. Several other permits were anticipated, including an operating permit for the tailings management facility. The main mining fleet of haul trucks, excavators, and dozers was on site, and pre-stripping of the pit area and orebody was scheduled to begin in late July.
In full production, the open-pit operation will be mining approximately 1 million mt/y of ore to produce approximately 20,000 mt/y of battery-grade lithium carbonate.
The Québec Lithium Project site was operated between 1955 and 1965 as an underground mine, drawing ore from a system of spodumene-rich dykes. The mine, with its 150-m-deep shaft and lateral workings on three levels, was operated by the former Quebec Lithium Corp. and included a surface concentration plant and refinery. It produced ceramic-grade and chemical-grade spodumene concentrates, lithium carbonate, and lithium hydroxide monohydrate, as well as a small quantity of lithium chloride and feldspar.
The current project will treat crushed pegmatite ores to produce an intermediate 6.5% spodumene product that will be upgraded on site to produce lithium carbonate.