Qube gets lithium logistics exposure in WA

By: Rob McKay


Galaxy deal for Esperance exports entails shift from Bunbury

Qube gets lithium logistics exposure in WA
Qube's Rotabox system, which will be used for the Galaxy deal.

 

Qube has gained an entry into transport of unrefined high-profile metal lithium in a deal with miner Galaxy Resources.

Galaxy has altered its logistics chain for spodumene, a primary lithium source, shifting exports from its Mt Cattlin lithium and tantalum project to the south coast port of Esperance.

Esperance is 187km from Mt Cattlin – previous production went through another Southern Ports Authority (SPA) port, Bunbury, 483km from the mine.

Mt Cattlin spodumene concentrate will be trucked to Esperance port as it is produced and stored on site before ship loading.

"We will be running with existing equipment, Volvo prime movers and Muscat trailers," a Qube spokesman tells ATN.

"Qube will be undertaking the mine site loading, transport, storage within a port shed and then ship loading using Rotabox."

Rotabox is a Qube designed and developed container rotating frame system with automatic lids to halt dust emissions.

The suppression of dust has been a sensitive issue for Esperance, which suffered a lead dust poisoning scandal a decade ago.

In its May annual general meeting presentation, Galaxy outlined the expected global growth in lithium demand, led by batteries used in the electrification of hybrid and electric vehicles, including light commercial vehicles and forklifts.

It expects auto transport demand generally to nearly double between 2015 and 2020, from around 20 gigaWatt hours (GWh) to about 40 GWh, with China at the centre but India also in the mix.

It notes Asian electric vehicles displayed a 37.5 per cent sales growth in 2015 year on year, along with growing demand and government mandating action on electric vehicles in Europe.

"Obtaining the Esperance port license is a major milestone achieved in the ongoing preparation ahead of the start of production at Mt Cattlin in time for the first shipment later this year," Galaxy MD Anthony Tse says.

"We are also very pleased to be working with the Southern Port Authority and Qube Logistics in establishing a long term and mutually-beneficial partnership."

The value and duration of the deal was not revealed.

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