- Galaxy Resources (GXY) is progressing with engineering and design works for its Sal de Vida Lithium Project in Argentina
- Front-end engineering design works has commenced for the well field, brine distribution and ponds
- So far, process test work has produced high-quality lithium carbonate that has exceeded expectations
- Evaporation at the pilot ponds is performing as expected and pilot plant operations are scheduled to begin this quarter
- The company has been granted relevant permits to extract freshwater and for the use of reagents
- And, despite COVID-19, Galaxy still expects to commence production in 2022 however it has been pushed back to quarter four
- Company shares are up a slight 0.59 per cent and shares are trading for 85.5 cents each
Galaxy Resources (GXY) has de-risked the Sal de Vida Project by developing a simplified flowsheet, using mature technology and staging development.
The company is preparing Sal de Vida to be a highly-competitive, low-cost lithium brine project.
The Sal de Vida Project is situated on the Salar del Hombre Muerto salt pan in Argentina.
Engineering and process development
The project has moved into the design phase with the commencement of front-end engineering design (FEED) for the well field, brine distribution and ponds.
The second FEED package for the process plant and associated infrastructure is out to tender and will be awarded sometime in the September quarter. Preferred solutions for energy and logistics scopes have also been selected and are being progressed in more detail.
Last month, a long term hydrological pump test was completed with 40 days of ongoing brine flow from an operational well. During the test, significant brine, volume, quality and aquifer data was collected and continues to be monitored.
So far, the results indicate that all performance expectations have been achieved and some may even be upgraded in the revised hydrological model.
Pilot phase and onsite activities
Despite COVID-19, Galaxy hit a number of milestones. The company completed filling the demonstration ponds and monitored brine chemistry, which demonstrated that evaporation occurs in line with process modelling.
Commissioning is completed and staff training is well underway to prepare for the first piloting run which, as long as COVID-19 restrictions don't regress, is scheduled to commence this quarter.
The aim of the pilot phase is to use Salar del Hombre Muerto brine evaporated under normal conditions to produce samples of primary grade lithium carbonate for customers, validate the flowsheet and operating assumptions under real-life conditions, and enable vendors to confirm performance and design criteria.
Additionally, design and procurement work is underway for the next expansion of onsite accommodation.
Last quarter, a groundwater permit was granted by the provincial water authority for industrial and domestic use. A permit was also granted for the use and storage of chemical reagents by the federal regulator.
Aligning with the earlier guidance, piloting, engineering and well drilling activities for the second half of 2020 are expected to cost around US$12 million (roughly A$17.2 million).
Despite COVID-19 disruptions, Galaxy commenced work early and is still targeting first production of stage one in 2022, although it has been pushed back to quarter four.
Early works, such as pond construction and the procurement of long-lead items, are expected to begin in early 2021.
Company shares are up a slight 0.59 per cent and shares are trading for 85.5 cents each at 11:47 am AEST.