LSE-listed Bacanora Lithium is in the “final stages” of discussions with financing and offtake partners regarding its plan for full funding for the construction of Stage 1 of its Sonora lithium project, in Mexico, the company reported on Monday.
The process plant has been designed to initially process 1.1-million tonnes of ore a year during Stage 1 of the project, subsequently increasing to an estimated 2.2-million tonnes a year at Stage 2, producing 17 500 t/y and 35 000 t/y of battery grade lithium carbonate (Li2CO3), respectively.
Stage 1 of the project is expected to cost about $419.62-million and Stage 2 about $380.26-million.
Last month, a feasibility study has confirmed the positive economics and favorable operating costs the project. The feasibility study envisages an openpit operation using continuous miners to mine the ore zones and a truck-and-shovel fleet to remove the waste material.
An estimated 37.1-million tonnes of ore will be mined over the planned 19-year mine life, with a lithium grade of 4 151 parts per million and an average stripping ratio of about 3.4:1 over the life-of-mine.
Further, the lithium company has secured an in-principle undertaking from battery chemicals trader Hanwa to extend its lithium offtake agreement, which will underpin an expansion of the Sonora lithium project.
The offtake agreement will be extended by another five years at a rate of 17 500 t/y of Li2CO3 on the same terms as the initial five-year offtake, with formal documentation expected to be completed shortly.
Meanwhile, discussions for additional strategic partners for extra Stage 2 tonnages are continuing.
Construction of the Li2CO3 plant is set to start later this year, with commissioning set for 2020.