Our Projects

North American Lithium Re-Start



Sayona Quebec Inc
Minerals Processing
La Corne, Quebec, Canada

Sayona Quebec (Sayona) acquired the North America Lithium (NAL) mining and processing operations in La Corne, Quebec. The NAL facility halted production in February 2019 and has been in care and maintenance since. Sayona plans to recommence mining and spodumene concentrator operations in Q1 2023, with chemical plant operations to commence at a later stage. Initial operations shall commence at a plant throughput of 3,800tpd, to increase throughput to 4,200tpd by mid-2023.

Based on historical processing issues experienced by NAL, Sayona had identified various process improvement and debottlenecking projects.

Sayona engaged Primero to review previous engineering works, complete design, and detailed engineering, manage and support procurement, provide technical support for construction management, provide technical support during commissioning for the four CAPEX Projects as follow:

  1. Ore Sorting (Addition of 3rd Sorter).
  2. Classification Screens Upgrade.
  3. Sewage Treatment Plant.
  4. Spodumene Concentrator Belt Filter Study Upgrade.

Sayona recognised our expertise and track record in the Lithium Spodumene mining industry. They wanted access to our process expert and have mandated us to review the complete process re-design and update.

Similar projects experience with brownfield engineers. Primero has built long-term relationships completing small upgrade works for multiple clients in the past. Our experienced and fit-for-purpose brownfield engineering is key to this project.

Geographical location. Primero is based in Montreal with employees that have direct experience in Lithium operations, engineering, construction management and commissioning.

Cold weather engineering expertise. Primero’s Montreal office has a vast experience in cold weather engineering solutions, particularly in Northern Canada and Alaska.

Our high standard in quality, performance management, budget tracking & control. Primero is an ISO9001 certified company and has a safety culture promoting a zero-harm workplace with a AS4801 OHS accreditation.


  • Ore Sorting (Addition of a 3rd Ore Sorter)
    • Install a second fine ore sorter in parallel to the existing fine ore sorter, complete with all required ancillary items, including conveyors, chutes, compressed air system and dust extraction system and others.
    • Primero reviewed the crushing circuit simulations to ensure that the circuit has been optimised for the ore sorting circuit. Primero considered the optimisation of crusher operating parameters and screen cut points to ensure the utilisation of the ore sorting circuit is maximised.
    • Sayona has also requested that Primero provide a brief options study to review the option of ore washing upstream of ore sorters to improve sorting efficiency.
  • Classification Screens Upgrade
    • Increase the capacity of the ball mill classification circuit to achieve the design mill feed rate of 4,200tpd (rod mill feed).
    • The current circuit consists of 4 off Derrick stack sizer type screens (5 deck) for ball mill classification. During previous plant operations, this classification circuit was a bottleneck, and limited the rod mill feed rate to approximately 3,200tpd. It has been proposed by Sayona to add 2 off Derrick stack sizers identical to the existing four screens to achieve the design throughput.
    • The detailed design and engineering provided for the installation of (2) additional Stack Sizers, a new 6-way distributor, and (2) 5-way flow divider.
    • The capacity of the classification screen feed pumps was also reviewed as part of the works.
  • Sewage Treatment Plant
    • Provide the detailed design documentation required for the installation of a sewage treatment plant. Sayona has advised that the equipment required for completion has been purchased and is currently on site at NAL, furthermore preliminary engineering and permitting has been completed previously by NAL.
    • Primero provided the detailed design documentation to allow a Contractor to complete the installation works.
  • Spodumene Flotation Concentrate Belt Filter Upgrade
    • Increase the capacity of Flotation Concentrate Belt Filter to achieve the design mill feed rate of 4,200tpd (rod mill feed).
    • A review of existing spodumene belt has been completed based on the process data provided and the study concluded that a larger filtration area was required to achieve the target capacity. During the technical and commercial evaluation of options to refurbish existing belt filter or purchase a new one, it was determined by Primero and agreed by Sayona to purchase a new concentrate belt filter, vacuum pump, filtrate receiver and filtrate pump to accommodate the new demand.
    • For all the detailed scope Primero is delivering complete detailed engineering design, providing technical and commercial evaluations to NAL and responsible of expediting the delivery of equipment. Finally, primero will provide technical construction assistance and technical commissioning assistance.


  • Ore Sorter (Addition of 3rd Ore Sorter)
    • Mechanical design completed.
    • All major long lead mechanical equipment and conveyors were delivered to site.
    • SMP installation package were issued, and technical support provided during construction and commissioning.
    • Plate work packages delivered to site.
  • Classification Screens Upgrade
    • Derrick classification screens, primary and secondary distributors were delivered to site.
    • All mechanical and structural design completed.
    • Plate work chutes are currently under fabrication.
    • Slurry piping packages delivered to site.
    • SMP installation package were issued, and technical support provided during construction and commissioning.
  • Sewage Treatment Plant
    • All civil drawings were issued for construction.
    • SMP installation packages issued for construction.
    • General contractor finished the work, and commissioning is completed.
  • Spodumene Concentrate Belt Filter Upgrade
    • Belt Filter and ancillary equipment purchased
    • Mechanical and structural design SMP installation package were issued, and technical support provided during construction and commissioning.