Sigma Lithium has started commissioning the first module of the Phase 1 production plant – the Greentech Plant – at its 100%-owned Grota do Cirilo project, in Minas Gerais State, Brazil, on schedule and within budget, with the dry module crushing circuit having started in mid-December.
All tests on the crushing plant commissioning were successfully completed and commissioning is expected to be finalised by February.
Commissioning on the wet module dense media separation circuit is expected to also start in February. It is expected to be completed by April, at which point the company intends to start commercial production.
In addition, other tasks and tests were successfully completed, including energising the substation and transformer and the mechanical completion of the secondary and tertiary crushers and associated crusher, feeders and conveyor belts.
Sigma also conducted electrical testing of the secondary and tertiary crusher motors, started original-equipment manufacturer commissioning of the secondary and tertiary crushers for operation and operated tertiary feeders and conveyor belts numbers 3, 4 and 6.
Recently, Sigma also commissioned a system that will pump water from Rio Jequitinhonha, which is 6 km from the sewage treatment plant, to clean the water of its solid faecal residues, making it suitable for use in the Greentech plant.
Co-CEO and co-chairperson Calvyn Gardner says Sigma has been “laser focused” on delivering battery-grade sustainable lithium in the second quarter of 2023.
Co-CEO and co-chairperson Ana Cabral-Gardner says the company has rapidly advanced the commissioning of the Greentech plant, as planned, on schedule and on budget in December. “Our technical team, led by Gardner and Brian Talbot, has worked tirelessly and relentlessly this quarter to make that happen.”
Simultaneously, she says Sigma’s environment, social and governance teams have worked intensely to ensure the communities of Itinga and Araçuaí have been concomitantly lifted through Sigma’s transformative new social initiatives through the allocation of funding to build 2 000 rainwater collection systems and to empower 10 000 women through microcredit facilities.
Meanwhile, Sigma has been conducting continued exploration work with the goal of further increasing the mineral resources, focusing on outlining a deposit which will comprise a Phase 4, expected to be larger than 20-million tonnes, with the resource estimate update expected to be completed in 2023.
A substantial increase in the estimated mineral resources strengthens the position of the Grota do Cirilo project as the largest and highest-quality hard rock mineral deposits in the Americas, and among the largest in the world.
In other news, Sigma also reports that Miazga Participações has acquired a farm property, which will serve for several objectives of Sigma, including for the preservation of endangered tropical forestry that could be otherwise suppressed.
Sigma notes that there might be a further donation of this area to the State Forestry Authority for permanent preservation.
Miazga will subsequently use this land on behalf of Sigma Mineração – an indirectly-owned subsidiary of Sigma, which, in turn, will receive regulatory environmental compensation credit as a result.
The land also further advances Sigma towards achieving net zero goals by 2025.
To execute the acquisition of this land, Sigma entered into a loan agreement of C$221 250 with Miazga, which is acquiring the land from Deraldo Leandro Mendes.