IGO still positive of reaching milestone at Kwinana

4th October 2023

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia


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PERTH ( – Critical minerals company IGO is "comfortable" that it would reach 50% of the Train 1 nameplate capacity at its Kwinana lithium hydroxide refinery, in Western Australia.

IGO holds a 49% stake in the Tianqi Lithium Energy Australia joint venture (JV) with Tianqi Lithium Corporation holding the remaining interest.

The JV holds the Greenbushes lithium mine, which is 49% owned by lithium major Albemarle, as well as full ownership of the Kwinana lithium hydroxide refinery, which is one of the first fully automated battery grade lithium hydroxide facilities globally, and the only constructed lithium hydroxide plant in Australia.

While Train 1 has been built, production has been lower than expected owing to ongoing technical challenges, which delayed the startup of the plant after a scheduled shutdown in May.

“We inherited a lot of engineering challenges,” IGO acting CEO Matt Dusci told delegates at the Australian Nickel conference, in Perth, noting that there was "great chemistry" behind the project.

“We are working through some of the rectifications that we've got to do as we continue to ramp up that facility on Train 1,” he added.

IGO is also working on the front-end engineering design on Train 2 and is hoping to make a final investment decision early in 2024.

Train 1 of the Kwinana refinery has a 24 000 t/y production capacity, and construction of Train 2 will add a further 24 000 t/y in capacity. Initially, construction of Train 2 was slated to start in the first half of 2023.

Meanwhile, at the Cosmos nickel project, also in Western Australia, IGO is expected to release an updated life-of-mine plan and capital cost estimate during the December quarter.

Cosmos was acquired by IGO as part of its acquisition of nickel miner Western Areas in 2022, and the Odysseus underground mine is currently being developed at the project.

“Cosmos, it's fair to say, has been challenging. It has been a challenging environment to build the project,” Dusci said, noting that the company had spent A$340-million on the project during the 2023 financial year.

Construction of the processing plant at Cosmos is 85% complete, while shaft and key shaft infrastructure are also 85% complete.

The miner previously said that it was looking at an optimised plan to expand mill capacity from the planned 750 000 t/y to about 1.1-million tonnes a year, and to change mine plans to bring additional resources into the production profile earlier than initially planned.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter


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