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Lithium Refinery Prefeasibility Study




The Aurora Lithium Hydroxide Refinery Project is a proposed (25,000 tpa Lithium Carbonate Equivalent (LCE)) refinery to be constructed in Portugal.

The refinery will toll treat spodumene concentrates obtained from both local and international sources to produce battery grade LHM. LHM demand is projected to significantly increase in both Portugal and the EU based on legislated requirements to phase out internal combustion (IC) engine vehicles via replacement with lithium-ion battery and electric vehicles (EV).

Aurora engaged Primero to undertake a pre-feasibility study (PFS) to review and evaluate a series of lithium refining process routes, select a suitable route and develop the refinery design. Primero were engaged due to our previous hard rock lithium experience and more recent experience with lithium refinery design.


  • Assess available refining technologies and selection of single go forward option.
  • Quantitative and qualitative analysis and ranking of 9 potential sites on a range of metrics for selection of go forward option.
  • Process design of the refinery.
  • Refinery engineering and layout works for the development of preliminary quantities.
  • Capital and operating costs development and financial analysis.
  • Project Lifecycle assessment and EIA works.


The study has:

  • Analysed several available lithium refining technologies and selected the base case technology for Aurora to further develop based on technology readiness, capital and operating cost, carbon emissions intensity.
  • Assessed nine locations in Portugal for the refinery location, analysing a range of measures such as logistics and supporting infrastructure, proximity to ports, suppliers and customers, land availability and use, environmental and community impacts.
  • Developed the selected refinery process design, incorporating lessons learned and design improvements from other refinery projects.
  • Developed detailed capital and operating costs and assessed the project economics and NPV, including analysis of sensitivity to key cost parameters.