Add maximum economic value to the raw materials extracted from the “Mina do Romano”.
Create a value chain based on innovative technologies and the principles of industry 4.0.
Increase international awareness and visibility of territories with low population density, in this case, the regions of Barroso and Alto Tâmega.
Promote cooperation and competition practices between companies.
Integrate an industrial eco-management in the transition zone of the Gerês-Xurês biosphere reserve.
The exploitation methods to be used in the concession, occur in two stages, with different methodologies. During the first stage, open-pit exploitation will take place by cutting to the surface to a depth of approximately 40 meters (920 m elevation).
At a later stage, the exploration methods will take place underground.
The extraction of the granite pegmatitic rocks (LCT) from the "Romano" Mine will be carried out through open pit exploitation and surface cutting, using a precision surface mining process called Strip Mining. Contrary to explosive and underground drilling methods, this process optimizes the separation between the materials of interest and the rest, promoting a more effective initial separation and, thus, increasing its quality for downstream transformation processes.
Strip Mining method consists of cutting or ripping material from the top of the deposit following a pattern pre-defined by surface miners (e.g. Vermeer T1255 Terrain Leveler). The cutting drum uses tungsten nozzles to fragment the rocks it crosses, and it will be mounted located at the back of the miner, cutting the material while the tracks advance over the ground yet to be cut. This equipment has a low centre of gravity that guarantees the best traction, keeping it balanced and stable. The surface miner to be used in open pit exploration, has sophisticated automated systems and has a suction instrument attached so that the dust emitted during the extraction process is smaller or non.
Top-down cutting system allows the nozzles to penetrate the ground without using the machine's traction effort. This technique gives operators the opportunity to control the size of the product by changing the cutting depth of the drum. The disaggregated material is left on the ground behind the machine, ready to be loaded and transported. Then, it will be stacked / grouped in stockpiles by bulldozers and loaded with wheel loaders to be transported by off-road trucks/dumpers. It is also important to note that Vermeer surface miner will also be used in the construction and maintenance of ore transport roads, other access routes to and from the concession.
Part of the material will be taken to the Lusorecursos industrial unit, in order to be processed and chemically transformed. The remaining rejected materials will be deposited in temporary landfills, and finally, used to backfill the voids resultant from the underground exploitation method.
While the open-pit exploitation occurs, it is important to develop underground works for the exploitation of the pegmatitic body due to their complexity and the temporary scale of the works. The tabular geometry of pegmatitic bodies makes the underground exploitation economic viability, as there is less extraction of tailing materials. Thus, it is assumed that the mineral dilution will be reduced, since the tailing material will not need to be removed and can be used as a support for work taking place underground, ensuring the necessary safety conditions.
Initially, a tunnel and a shaft will be opened in order to obtain access to the mineral deposit. These must be dimensioned in a way that allows vehicles to pass through for the circulation of materials, equipment and workers. There must be larger pockets for manage vehicles in the tunnel. After the primary accesses, there will be the opening of access galleries for the “attack”, in places that will give access to the extraction of the mineral deposit. In these, smaller than the tunnel, there will be actions to extract, collect and transport the mineralized rock, which will be conducted to a crushing system and, consequently, to the mining annex complex area. At this stage, specific equipment will be needed for underground work, since these must have specific characteristics, such as reduced dimensions, greater managing of the vehicles and other attributes related to the confined environment.
Lusorecursos Portugal Lithium intends to produce lithium hydroxide monohydrate (LiOH.H2O) from petalite and spodumene concentrates, which come from the extraction and improvement of the granitic pegmatite rocks (LCT) of the "Romano" Mine.
The mining annex complex will consist of a Concentrator and a Chemical/Hydrometallurgical Transformation Plant for mining concentrates.
The concentration consists in the fragmentation of the target rocks, with the consequent separation of their different mineral constituents, using several specific methods (e.g. crushing and milling, granulometric separation, optical sorting, magnetic and gravity separation and foam flotation processes, among others).
Hydrometallurgy consists of converting petalite and α-spodumene, to β- spodumene after calcination at 1100 ° C. Then, these materials are subjected to a set of chemical processes that culminate in the formation of lithium hydroxide - LiOH.H2O ultrapure, a precursor suitable for the synthesis of compounds that integrate cathodes and electrolytes of battery cells.
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