PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Rhyolite Ridge lithium/boron project, in Nevada, could be in production by 2021, delivering 20 200 t/y of lithium carbonate and 173 000 t/y of boric acid.
ASX-listed Global Geoscience on Tuesday reported that a prefeasibility study (PFS) into the Rhyolite Ridge project had estimated initial capital expenditure of $426-million.
Over the more than 30-year mine life, the project is expected to deliver earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of $297-million a year and revenue of $450-million a year at steady-state production.
The PFS calculated an after-tax net present value of $1.8-billion and an internal rate of return of 27.7%.
“We are delighted by the outcomes of the PFS that clearly show Rhyolite Ridge will be a structurally low-cost and very long life mine supplying two critical materials necessary for urbanisation and energy efficiency,” said Global Geoscience MD Bernard Rowe.
“The boron co-product will generate sufficient revenue to cover nearly all operating costs and thereby enable Rhyolite Ridge to be the lowest cost producer of lithium in the world.”
The PFS was based on an openpit mining operation and a processing capacity of 2.6-million tonnes a year.
Rowe said that with some A$75-million in cash, Global Geoscience was able to undertake the work required to rapidly progress the project into production.
“With the in-depth knowledge provided by the PFS, the company is well positioned to commence serious discussions with a diverse range of potential markets and finance partners.
“Preparations are well under way for the Rhyolite Ridge definitive feasibility study (DFS) and we expect to be appointing the engineering firm to lead the study in the coming weeks.”
The DFS is scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2019, and subject to all approvals, construction could start in the same quarter, with first ore to be processed in the third quarter of 2021.