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Our Operations

Unidade de mineração
Unidade de mineração

Mining Unit

Located in the municipalities of Araçuaí and Itinga, our underground mine - known as Mina da Cachoeira - has galleries that reach up to 220 meters deep and extend for 14 kilometers. 

Mining is carried out using the sublevel stoping method, with the highest safety standards, which includes remote-controlled equipment, Jumbo and Fandrill drills, mining sequencing software, geomechanical studies and monitoring.  We have recently implemented a dynamic microseismic geomechanical monitoring system, which makes us one of the few Brazilian mining companies to use this technology.

The lithium-bearing pegmatites at Mina da Cachoeira are of excellent quality. They consist of quartz, feldspar, mica and spodumene, from which lithium is extracted. After mining, the pegmatites go to the processing plant, where they undergo crushing, particle size classification and concentration, using dense medium, optical ore sorting and x-rays.

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Mina da Cachoeira

Gallery extension: 14 km

Equal depth of operation: 220 m

Measured + indicated resources: 4.5 million tons (Lithium-bearing pegmatite @ 1.4% Li2O).

Capacity: 45 thousand tons/year of Spodumene Concentrate @ 5.5% Li2O

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Planta química

Chemical Plant Unit

Located in the municipality of Divisa Alegre, around 180 km away from the Mining unit, the Chemical Plant converts the spodumene concentrate into high purity lithium chemical compounds. We use the acid route - the same one mostly used by world producers - with adaptations and improvements developed internally by our research and development (R&D) department.

The process of obtaining chemical compounds goes through several stages in different areas: 

  • Pyrometallurgy - This is where the whole process begins. The spodumene concentrate is calcined and sulphated with sulfuric acid, producing lithium sulphate. As this is a highly energy-intensive stage, we continually seek to reduce the use of fossil fuels, by maximizing the use of biomass and electricity generated from renewable sources;

  • Carbonation - In this stage, the lithium sulphate solution, after leaching and filtering, reacts with sodium carbonate to form lithium carbonate;

  • Refining - Area where the lithium carbonate goes through various processes such as filtering, physicochemical purification, centrifugation, bicarbonation and ion exchange, reaching the different levels of purity required in each of the products in our range.

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Chemical Unit

From lithium carbonate, we produce lithium hydroxide monohydrate through centrifugation, crystallization and reaction with calcium oxide. 

All products are dried, adjusted for particle size and packaged before being sold to the national and international markets.

One of the co-products generated in our process is anhydrous sodium sulphate, a chemical product sold to industries in various segments, such as paper, glass, leather, fabric, etc.

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Controle equalidade

Quality control

All the processes in our Mining and Chemical Plant units undergo rigorous quality control, which includes analysis of the inputs, the intermediate phases of the processes, effluents, tailings and outputs.

We have various analytical instruments at hand, in particular atomic absorption, ICP (plasma spectrometer) and laser particle size analysis, which enable quantitative analysis of the various metals, impurities and other elements that we control.

IMS

We have implemented the Integrated Management System (IMS), based on the requirements established by international standards. Read More:

 

ISO 9001:2015 - Quality Management System

 

 

 

ISO 14001:2015-  Environmental Management System

 

 

ISO 45001:2018 -  Occupational Health and Safety Management System

ABNT NBR 16001:2012 - Social Responsability

 

 

Integration is the key point of the IMS, as the structures of similar standards
merge into a single management model. This enables us to map and integrate all
our processes in order to identify opportunities for improvement and implement
them to achieve results. In addition, this allows us to plan policies, objectives and
performance targets, as well as define operational procedures and processes.

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IMS Policy

The Integrated Management System Policies consist of documents that clearly explain our intentions and guidelines related to Quality, Environment, Safety and Occupational Health.

These documents are aligned with CBL's general policy and express our commitment to customer satisfaction, to the continuous improvement of our products and processes, as well as to the results and progress of environmental controls, thereby guaranteeing the safety and physical integrity of all employees.

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