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Critical Elements retains Metso and WSP for lithium plant study

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(Kitco News) - Today, Critical Elements Lithium (TSXV:CRE), a lithium development company advancing its high purity Rose lithium project in Quebec, announced that it has retained the services of Metso Outotec and WSP Canada (WSP) to prepare a Phase II engineering study for a chemical plant to produce high quality lithium hydroxide monohydrate for the electric vehicle and energy storage system battery industries.

According to the company’s statement, Metso Outotec will design the calcination process of spodumene concentrate, which would include spodumene concentrate from Phase I of its Rose lithium-tantalum project but also possibly from other sources, and study the chemical process to produce lithium hydroxide monohydrate from calcined spodumene concentrate.

Meanwhile, WSP will design the infrastructure related to the process plant and will act as the integrator for the study. Critical Elements will provide the market study information for the economic analysis.

The end product of the plant would be battery grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate (LMH, >56.5%). It is currently anticipated that the plant capacity would be approximately 27,000 tpa of LMH, as lithium carbonate equivalent. The plant would also be capable of producing battery grade lithium carbonate.

Metso Outotec will also continue to perform additional piloting studies to further increase the data set of the hydroxide process contemplated to be used by Critical Elements.

The company said that earlier pilot plant studies by Metso Outotec successfully converted spodumene concentrate from the Rose lithium-tantalum project into battery grade lithium hydroxide using a thermal leaching process. The pilot plant conversion process demonstrated strong results with extraction rates of 93%.

Based on the results of the earlier Metso Outotec studies, Critical Elements believes that the overall total recovery rate should approximate 80% which compares very favourably to industry standards.

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