Halmek Lithium, Moscow, Russia, has selected Metso Outotec’s (Helsinki, Finland) patented lithium hydroxide process for production of battery-grade lithium hydroxide at their greenfield plant in the Tula region in Russia. The order value, which is not disclosed, has been booked in Metals’ Q2/2021 orders received. Metso Outotec’s scope of delivery consists of the engineering and key equipment supply for the lithium hydroxide process, the basis of which will be the Metso Outotec OKTOP® Autoclave Plant. The environmentally sound production process is one of Metso Outotec’s more than 100 Planet Positive products.
“One of the most important tasks in the project was the selection of technology. Instead of the more traditional sulfuric acid processing to produce lithium hydroxide, we decided to choose the Metso Outotec lithium hydroxide process as it is the most promising and environmentally sound process at the moment. The pilot tests conducted at the Metso Outotec Research Center in Pori, Finland, provided excellent results,” explains Pavel Galchenko, VP, Halmek Lithium.
“Metso Outotec has developed lithium hard rock-related technologies for some 20 years now. It started with the battery-grade lithium carbonate process and, when the market changed to favor lithium hydroxide, the process flowsheet was converted to directly produce battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate (LHM) from spodumene. Both of the processes are patented and will be significant assets in our battery chemicals business, meeting the need to produce high-end Li-ion battery chemistries for the growing market,” says Mikko Rantaharju, Vice President, Hydrometallurgy business line at Metso Outotec.
HALMEK LITHIUM’s new hydrometallurgical plant, which will complement their existing lithium hydroxide plant, is currently under construction. As raw material, the new plant will use spodumene concentrate; it will feature a capacity of 20,000 tons per year of battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate, which is used in the production of batteries for electric vehicles. The first production line is planned to start up in 2023, and the second production line with a capacity of 20,000 tons is expected to start production in 2026.
Thanks to its extensive technological know-how in minerals and metals processing, a global presence and in-house research and development centers in, for example, Germany, and Finland, Metso Outotec is well positioned to support various types of battery chemicals projects, including lithium.