Principal Geologist, Felicity Hughes present on “Geometallurgy of Battery Minerals – The Way Forward.”
The RIU Explorers Conference is expected to attract an overwhelming response from the junior and mid cap resources industry, keen to communicate their latest exploration and production successes along with updates on their technical and corporate performances.
The demand for lithium, cobalt, nickel and other battery minerals is growing strongly, driven by the booming lithium-ion battery industry as well as the stainless steel and super-alloy sectors. As demand increases, stocks have diminished, and prices have risen amid new political factors that are disrupting material supplies in major exporting countries.
Over the next decade, the global arena will witness an ever-increasing demand for battery metals such as: lithium, graphite, cobalt, nickel, copper, vanadium and other rare earths.
This will create a rise for new project investment and more importantly support the EV uprising. Finding new prospects is extremely challenging. Orebodies are variable both in terms of grade and metallurgical response, and this variability is a source of uncertainty that affects mine design, plant design and capital investment decisions.
The best opportunity to make a newly discovered prospect into a viable entity is at the beginning of the mining lifecycle. The collection of appropriate verified and validated data early enough in the project life has a value-multiplying effect throughout the project life. Volumetrically representative information can be integrated into a 3D mineral system framework, which is then used to provide early indications of threat and/or opportunity, thereby potentially reducing risk and expenditure both at early stages, and later on in the project.
An early comprehensive analysis at the exploration stage will optimise ground selection, through all stages from exploration, 3D modelling, resource definition, geometallurgy and ore definition, metallurgy and process design, mine scheduling and design, to environmental impact and mine closure.
Specific battery mineral commodity examples are presented to highlight the long-term cost-saving benefits of early data collection, including a review of the benefit of geometallurgy in designing a nickel laterite treatment solution.
Felicity Hughes is a geologist/geochemist and possesses more than 35 years’ experience in a wide range of commodities; ranging from grass roots exploration planning and management, resource evaluation, feasibility, mine grade and ore control and geometallurgy. She has worked on the development and management of geological, beneficiation and geometallurgy models for First Quantum Minerals and has carried out due diligence for the Ravensthorpe Nickel Operations. She has worked in Australia, Brazil and Zambia and has successfully run her own consultancy for more than fifteen years.