Detailed engineering, Sign-off and approval by local Authorities of the Salar Site, Tres Quebradas Lithium Project -Catamarca Argentina

Neo Lithium Corp. (NLC) from Canada and his Argentinean subsidiary Liex S.A. (LIEX) were acquired by Zijin Mining to produce lithium carbonate from the Tres Quebradas Salar, located southwest of Catamarca Province, Argentina.

The 3Q Salar is situated in the well-known “Lithium Triangle” in South America and is one of the largest and highest-grade projects of its kind. Spread across an area of 353 square kilometres, the project’s mining license covers the entire surface and brine of the 3Q Salar. Its resources are abundant, high in grade, and low in impurities, with favourable conditions for development.

The so-called 3Q Project is designed to produce 20,000 tonnes of battery-grade lithium carbonate per annum, with its commissioning scheduled at the end of 2023. In this project, lithium will mainly be extracted through precipitation. The production process and flows will be optimized for higher lithium recovery and production volume. To expand production, intensive work will be done on technological research, preparation of plans for technical upgrades and expansion, and licensing, in order to reach new production targets as soon as possible.

The 3Q Project of LIEX/ZIJIN was divided in two main productive sites, which are:

  • The Salar Site: here the brine wells for extraction and the solar evaporation ponds will be built over the 3Q Salar lake, at an altitude of 4.100 masl with the nearest community of Fiambalá, at 160km.
  • The Fiambalá Site: here the chemical production plant will be installed, at an altitude of 1.500 masl

In this opportunity, LIEX/ZIJIN has awarded SAXUM with the detailed engineering, sign off and approval by the provincial association for engineering professionals for the 3Q-Salar project. SAXUM will develop all issued for construction drawings for the Salar, including civil, structural, mechanical, piping, electrical, and automation. SAXUM’s scope of work includes the issued for construction drawings for the ponds and process plant in the Salar. For this purpose, the full integration with the topography by means of accurate 3d models is performed.

SAXUM with its lead professionals is responsible for the endorsement, sign-off and stamping of the engineering design documents following the regulations of the Argentinean standards and of the Center for Engineering Professionals of the Catamarca Province.

Conceptual and Basic Engineering for Port Cement Terminal Upgrade Project in the Gulf of Mexico

SAXUM’s confidential client, a leading cement producer in the Americas, is developing a port terminal upgrade project on the Gulf of Mexico coast; for this particular project, our client has required SAXUM’s engineering services expertise for the cement industry to perform conceptual trade-off studies, and basic engineering to assess the feasibility of this project and to estimate the resulting project CapEx and OpEx.

Different technologies and capacities were considered for the storage facilities to be considered in this project. Also, facilities with one and more compartments were assessed during project development.

SAXUM scope of work for this project included the performance of different trade-off studies for selecting the most convenient alternative solutions for the storage of cement, transport, ship unloading, and wagon loading systems. Once the final alternatives were selected and approved by our Client, SAXUM has completed the Basic Engineering including CapEx and OpEx estimates.

Preliminary Economic Assessment for Orvana Minerals - Taguas Gold Mine Project in San Juan, Argentina

Orvana Minerals (Orvana) has contracted SAXUM for the purpose of the Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) for the Taguas Project, in the framework of the Canadian Standards NI43-101.

The Taguas Property is host to a high-sulfidation epithermal gold-silver system hosted in altered tertiary age rhyolite volcaniclastic rocks. Supergene-oxidized gold-silver mineralization occurs on the south half of the Property.  The oxide gold-silver mineralisation consists of sub-vertical, northeast striking mineralized structures in an envelope of lower grade mineralisation.  The high-grade zones consist of relatively continuous mineralization with gold grades ranging from 0.2 g/t Au to over 4.0 g/t Au and 10 g/t Ag to over 50 g/t Ag.  Oxidation extends from the surface to approximately 100m – 200m below surface. The present PEA refers only to this oxidized gold-silver mineralization occurring near-surface in Cerros Taguas.

The mining method proposed for the Property in this PEA is conventional truck and shovel open-pit mining.  The proposed recovery process will be crushing of mineralized material at a rate of 15,000 TPD, stacking in 6 10 m lifts on a permanent heap leach and gold and silver recovery from the heap leach pregnant solution in a carbon Adsorption-Desorption-Recovery (ADR)Merrill-Crowe recovery plant and electrowinning, where gold and silver will be precipitated to produce doré gold bars.

SAXUM has coordinated the whole team of professionals and QPs for the purpose of PEA report. Our engineering team was directly involved in the project CapEx estimate based on our extensive database and experience in mining projects in Argentina and the Americas.

The Taguas project PEA of Orvana has been filed on SEDAR in January 2022.

Completion of conceptual and basic engineering for Northern Cement plant of CSN in Brazil

Currently, COMPANHIA SIDERÚRGICA NACIONAL (CSN) has a share of 14% of the cement market in the southeast region of Brazil, with an installed capability of 4.7 million tons per year and pretend triple its capability over the following years.  SAXUM has a long relationship with CSN and has participated in different projects, ranging from cement grinding to the new clinker and cement production line at Arcos.

To achieve its purpose, CSN has awarded SAXUM with two strategic projects, one in the north region and the other in the south region. SAXUM contract awarded consists of developing conceptual and basic engineering with CAPEX and tender documents for the implementation of a new cement factory with a capacity of 7,200tpd of clinker and 3 million tons of cement per year in the South and another cement factory in the North with a capacity of 4,500 TPD of clinker. Including full process design, with interdisciplinary engineering and support on Environmental Impact Assessment.

Engineering Services for Tres Quebradas Fiambala Project – China ENFI Engineering Corporation - Catamarca, Argentina

The so-called Tres Quebradas Project (3Q-Project), is located to the west of Fiambalá, in the department of Tinogasta, at Catamarca, Argentina. The 3Q Project production installations are divided into two sites, the Tres Quebradas Salar, and the Fiambalá Process Plant. ENFI Engineering Corporation, from China, was awarded by the owner ZIJIN Mining to develop the engineering for the Fiambala Project for the purpose of producing lithium carbonate. In turn, ENFI has awarded SAXUM for the purpose of civil, structural, mechanical and electrical engineering of the project, based on the conceptual designs to be performed by ENFI. In addition, SAXUM’s scope of work includes the sign-off and approval of the engineering designs by the Center for Engineering Professionals of the province of Catamarca, Argentina, attending Argentinean standards.

The Fiambalá Plant includes a Boron Extraction System, Calcium and Magnesium removal circuits, Lithium carbonate precipitation, Drying, Packaging and Storage areas preparing for the export of lithium carbonate. Electricity provided to Fiambalá town comes from Tinogasta Transformer Station.

For this particular project, SAXUM is delivering engineering services to review, optimize and update the basic engineering as well as to complete the detailed engineering for the process plant at Fiambala. Disciplines involved in this project are Mechanical and Piping, Civil, Structural, Mechanical, Electrical, and I&C Engineering Designs.

SAXUM present at the World's Premier Mineral Exploration & Mining Convention - PDAC 2022 in Toronto

SAXUM was present at Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) 2022, which was held between the 13-15th of June in Toronto Canada.

This convention is the World's Premier Mineral Exploration & Mining Convention and is the leading convention for people, governments, companies and organizations connected to mineral exploration. In addition to meeting more than 1,100 exhibitors, 2,500 investors and 23,000 attendees in person in 2020, participants could also attend programming, courses and networking events.

The annual convention is held in Toronto, Canada. It has grown in size, stature and influence since it began in 1932 and today is the event of choice for the world’s mineral industry.

In picture, our CEO, Guillermo Etse, next to SAXUM's GM North America, Chris Hayman, at SAXUM's booth.

SAXUM´s Lead Mechanical and Piping Engineer, Mr. Esteban Lescano


Esteban is a Mechanical Engineer from Universidad Nacional de Tucumán. He has been in SAXUM for more than 15 years, where he held the position of Lead Mechanical and Piping Engineer for several projects, either for mining or cement industries.

He resides in Tucumán, northwest Argentina, and he deeply enjoys engineering challenges as well as spending time with his family, doing smithy and home gardening.

He has extensive experience working in engineering teams providing solid support with his optimal design solutions and complying with scheduled tasks. Esteban is provided by a deep knowledge of standards for mechanical and piping designs.

As a lead engineer at SAXUM, he organizes project teams for accomplishing the scope of work in mechanical engineering of the projects by SAXUM and is directly involved in the review for quality assurance of the design documents issued by our company. He maintains permanent contact with the Lead Mechanical Engineers of our clients and follows up their satisfaction with SAXUM’s designs.

During his period in SAXUM, Esteban has been part of several projects worldwide (Bolivia, Argentina, United States, Spain, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Chile, among others).

He has assisted our main clients such as Yura, Borax, Yamana Gold, Calcesur, Barrick Gold, Ultracem, Soboce, Hanaq, GCC, Lafarge Holcim, Xtrata Copper, Glencore, Newmont, Hochschild, Anglo Gold Ashanti, CSN among others. He is currently working for the Kwinana project in Western Australia, Cockburn Cement Ltd.

His professional background includes: piping design, calculation, and assessment including general arrangements, chutes, hoppers, bin details, and full integration of the mechanical field in every project. He has an outstanding capability to lead multidisciplinary teams.

Projects developed to include both, green- and brown fields, reaching an integral and complete experience background.

At SAXUM we are highly honoured to have Esteban in our team.

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