Authier lithium project is hard rock spodumene lithium open-cut mine located near Val d’Or, Quebec, Canada.
Sayona Mining owns the lithium project and is developing it with an estimated investment of C$89.9m (65.8$m). Sayona acquired the project from Glen Eagle Resources in July 2016.
The project is anticipated to produce an average of approximately 115,000 tons (t) of spodumene a year, through its estimated mine life of 18 years.
Definitive feasibility study of the project was completed in September 2018, while construction is scheduled to be commenced in late-2019. Commercial operations are expected to be started in mid-2020.
Authier lithium project is anticipated to create up to 160 jobs in the construction and operational phase.
Authier lithium project geology and mineralization
Authier lithium project is located approximately 45km north-west of the city of Val d’Or, one of the prominent mining service centers in Quebec. The deposit is approximately 825m-long and has an average thickness of 25m.
The lithium mineralization at Authier is located in a spodumene-bearing pegmatite intrusion.
Authier lithium project reserves
As of September 2018, the proven and probable mineral reserves of the Authier lithium project are estimated to be 12.01 million tons (Mt) grading 1.0% lithium oxide (Li2O). The project is estimated to contain 121, 590t of Li2O.
Mining at Sayona Mining’s Authier project
Sayona Mining proposes to employ conventional open-pit mining method at the Authier lithium project. Hydraulic excavators and dump trucks will deliver the mined ore to the primary crusher or to the stockpile.
Major mining fleet of the project will comprise 60 metric ton rigid body dump trucks, two hydraulic excavators, a front-end loader, and two down-the-hole drill rigs.
The project also includes a pilot plant, which was successfully completed by SGS Canada in May 2018.
Run-of-mine (ROM) ore will be transported from the pit to the crushing plant, where it will undergo three-stage crushing. The crushed ore will be conveyed to a ball mill in closed-circuit with hydrocyclones and grinded to obtain a P80 size of 180µm.
Iron-bearing silicate minerals will be removed from the ground ore in a magnetic separation circuit, de-slimed, and forwarded to mica flotation unit. The resultant slurry will be sent to an attrition scrubber and hydrocyclones for second-stage de-sliming before being conveyed to spodumene flotation circuit.
The spodumene concentrate will be filtered to 6% moisture and stockpiled in a covered storage area before being shipped to the port of Montreal.
The plant is expected to produce 87,400t of 6% Li2O concentrate, on an average, suitable for sale to lithium carbonate conversion plants that supply feedstock to lithium battery manufacturers.
Off-take of lithium from Authier lithium project
Sayona Mining signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Huan Changyuan, a subsidiary of Minmetals Group, for the sale of spodumene concentrate produced at Authier, in November 2017.
Huan Changyuan is entitled to purchase up to 100,000t of spodumene concentrate a year, as part of the agreement.
The lithium project is located near Val d’Or and Amos cities and can be accessed through the national highway and a nearby rural road.
Power required by the mine will be sourced from the nearby electricity grid located approximately 5km east of the mine site.
BBA, an engineering consultancy, was awarded the contract to review the mining plan and the detailed feasibility study (DFS) of the Authier lithium project, in May 2019.
A group of consultants including SGS Lakefield, Nolitrex Transport, Journeaux, and SNC Lavalin participated in the DFS preparation.