TOMRA Mining said its technology has been selected to outfit the largest lithium sorting plant in the world at Pilbara Minerals’ Pilgangoora project in Western Australia.

tomra mining pilbara 1 copyInstallation at the site has already commenced and is expected to reach completion late this year.

As part of its expansion project, Pilbara Minerals turned to TOMRA for assistance to address the key industry challenge in the processing of spodumene feed ore contaminated with barren host rock.

“For the Pilbara Mining project, TOMRA Mining offers effective ore sorting solutions with high sensor resolution and ejection accuracy that ensure high lithium recovery and waste removal with a stable and consistent performance at high capacity,” TOMRA said.

Pilgangoora is the largest independent hard-rock lithium mine and produces a spodumene and tantalite concentrate. The plant will be the largest lithium mineral ore sorting plant on earth.

“By pursuing a growth strategy to become a sustainable, low-cost lithium producer, the company has become a major player in the rapidly growing lithium supply chain. This investment will ensure the expansion of its large-scale operation in order to meet the increasing demand for lithium driven by sustainable energy technologies such as electric vehicles and energy storage,” the company said.

Pilbara Minerals’ Managing Director and CEO Dale Henderson added: “TOMRA’s experience in large global sorting installations, innovative technology, and ability to provide local support were significant factors in our decision to work with them. From the start, the TOMRA team has been working side by side with us and our engineering partner DRA Global to deliver this important project.”

The TOMRA Mining team said it had conducted a geological assessment of sample ores supplied by Pilbara, and it revealed the pegmatite deposit did have non-lithium bearing host rock intrusions. Working closely with the Pilbara Minerals metallurgical team, TOMRA conducted extensive testwork at the TOMRA Test Center in Sydney to check all options and answer testing questions.

“The samples were run at capacity on production sorters and included repeatability and variation testing. The test work benchmarked the expected performance of the sorters and was used to establish the sort quality on each of the ore types that will be fed through the plant,” it said. 

Primero Group was awarded the contract for construction of the project. Bulk earthworks for the sorting plant are ongoing.

TOMRA provided assistance with the plant layout, as its tie-in during development will add to efficient operational ramp-up and technical optimization.

Source: TOMRA Mining