PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Construction and development of the Mt Holland lithium project, in Western Australia, has started.
ASX-listed Wesfarmers said on Friday that Covalent Lithium, its joint venture (JV) with Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A, had received a Ministerial Statement under the state’s Environmental Protection Act outlining the conditions that would apply to the construction and operation of the planned lithium hydroxide refinery, as part of the greater Mt Holland project.
The project has now received all critical approvals.
The JV partners in February this year announced a final investment decision for the Mt Holland project, following a 2020 decision to defer development of the project in order to undertake additional actions to enhance the long-term value of the project.
The integrated Mt Holland project is expected to produce spodumene concentrate from the mine and concentrator project, which would then be transported to the Kwinana lithium refinery and processed to produce battery grade lithium hydroxide.
An updated definitive feasibility study has regarding the project’s engineering design and capital and operating costs as well as an increase in concentrator and refinery production capacity from 45 000 t/y to approximately 50 000 t/y of battery grade lithium hydroxide.
The study included increased flexibility to provide for a second phase of the project to expand production capacity at Mt Holland and the Kwinana refinery. Preliminary work to evaluate expansion options will commence in parallel with the construction of the first phase of the project.
Over an estimated project life of 47 years, the integrated Mt Holland project would deliver earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of $22-billion, and average revenues of $713-million a year.
First production of lithium hydroxide is planned for the second half of 2024, and Westfarmer’s share of capital expenditure for the development of the project is estimated at A$950-million, which will be funded using existing cash and debt facilities.