Lithium Power International Ltd | Greenbushes
15999
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Greenbushes

Greenbushes is the location of one of the world’s premium rare metal Lithium mines now operated by Talison Lithium (Talison). The area was first discovered as a resource of alluvial tin in the late 19th Century, subsequently the source of the tin was recognized to be a series of pegmatites, which also contain tantalite and spodumene (lithium). The modern hard rock mine was established in 1983, initially focused on tantalum production, the primary product is now lithium. The Greenbushes Lithium Resource at 30 September 2013 was 119.41 Mt @ 2.42% Li2O (Talison mining proposal).
Lithium Power International Limited’s Greenbushes tenement applications make up two separate projects totalling ~400km2. The first is the Balingup Project, a large tenement extending north and west of the Talison’s Greenbushes tenements. The second is the Brockman Highway Project, an area to the south of Greenbushes and south-west of Bridgetown that is divided by the Brockman Highway.

The projects are located within the Balingup Metamorphic Belt, a highly deformed area of Amphibolites, Gneiss, Metasediments, Migmatites and younger granitoids. The Donnybrook Bridgtown shear zone is a major structural corridor associated with the Greenbushes deposits and extending through both project areas. Pegmatites are known to have intruded in various parts of the belt, including on Lithium Power International Limited’s projects.
The projects are under explored for rare metal pegmatites and lithium in particular. Bedrock geology of much of the company’s project areas is obscured by cover, ~50% on the Brockman Highway, and ~70% on the Balingup Project. Exploration techniques successfully applied in other parts of the world to identify buried pegmatites will form the basis of the program to unlock potential under cover.
Past exploration has focused on bauxite, gold/base metals, and tin/tantalum. In more recent times limited exploration for lithium was conducted on a focused area (4km x 1.5km) in the west of the Balingup Project (east of Kirup) where soil sampling defined a lithium anomaly that is open in three directions. This work represents a test of only 1.5% of the total project area.

Mining

Lithium ore (spodumene) at Greenbushes is mined from the fresh, unweathered zones in the pegmatite that are exposed in the open pits.

Mining is traditional drill and blast method with ore graded and stockpiled according to its mineralogical characteristics and grade. Waste material is trucked to designated areas within the site where it is contoured and replanted as part of an ongoing rehabilitation plan.

Processing

The Greenbushes Lithium Operations has two processing plants, one producing technical-grade lithium concentrates and one producing chemical-grade lithium concentrate. Ore containing 3.0% to 4.5% Li2O is fed into the processing plants which upgrade the lithium mineral, using gravity, heavy media, flotation and magnetic processes, intoa range of lithium concentrates for bulk or bagged shipment.

Various operating modes are used in the processing plants to produce a variety of different lithium concentrates to meet specific customer requirements.