Metso Corp. has been awarded a major contract to supply pyro-processing and comminution equipment for a new lithium hydroxide processing plant at Albemarle Corp.’s Kemerton site near Bunbury in South Western Australia. The construction of this greenfield project started in January and production is scheduled to commence in 2021. The plant will initially consist of three production trains, each producing 20,000 metric tons per year (mt/y) of lithium hydroxide, with a potential expansion to five trains that will see production increase to 100,000 mt/y by around 2025.

The plant will be supplied with lithium concentrate produced at the nearby Greenbushes mine. Metso’s scope of supply includes state-of-the-art calciner and acid roaster systems, ball mills, off-gas handling systems as well as other auxiliaries. Metso’s proven pyro-processing technology will deliver high lithium recovery with low fuel consumption. Orders were booked in Metso’s third-quarter 2018 and first-quarter 2019 orders received, equipment deliveries are expected to begin in the second half of 2019.

Metso Senior Vice President, Australian market area, Ross Wotherspoon said he is delighted with Albemarle’s decision to work with Metso. “We are very pleased to be playing such an important role in Albemarle’s plans as it races to supply booming world demand for battery-quality lithium chemicals,” Wotherspoon said. “Critical to the success of this project is the combined knowledge and experience of our people and Australian-based suppliers and subcontractors who are engaged to deliver major components of this important contract.”

“Lithium projects are on the increase, and at Metso we have diversified our solutions and services to meet this growing demand,” Metso President for Mining Equipment Business Victor Tapia. “We are the technology leader in minerals processing with a strong and capable support organization close to our customers.”