Earlier this month, Veolia Water Technologies announced that it will supply its proprietary HPD Evaporation and Crystallization technology to recover lithium from a mining waste stream, reducing environmental impact and producing a valuable by-product in sodium sulfate.

North American Lithium Inc. is planning to re-start its hydromet mining operation in La Corne, Quebec, Canada for the production of lithium carbonate (Li2CO3). Lithium carbonate is one of the main materials needed to produce lithium ion batteries for electric vehicles, computers, and mobile phones.

Lithium Carbonate.

North American Lithium has turned to Veolia Water Technologies for the installation of the Sodium Sulfate Crystallization Circuit. The primary objective is increased recovery of lithium while producing a sodium sulfate (Na2SO4) by-product. In doing so, the project will benefit from recovering two products from what, previously, was a waste stream, thereby reducing the environmental impact and making the project a commercially viable source of valuable lithium carbonate.

Veolia ammonium sulfate crystallizer. Credit: Veolia.

“The system design is based on Veolia’s vast experience with this form of production coupled with complex mixed salts solubility, energy efficiency, and reliability. This ultimately enabled Veolia to provide the right solution to benefit both North American Lithium and the local environment,” said Klaus Andersen, CEO of Veolia Water Technologies Americas.

The multistage process includes MVR Falling Film Evaporation, two-stage crystallization in a HPD Draft Tube Crystallizer, and a HPD MVR Crystallizer to produce anhydrous sodium sulfate that is dried for sale. This solution allows the client to recover useful resources in an energy efficient way and ensures a complete and well running lithium carbonate production plant.

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