PERTH (miningweekly.com) – A definitive feasibility study (DFS) into the Finniss lithium project, in the Northern Territory, has estimated that it would require a capital investment of A$73-million.
ASX-listed Core Lithium on Wednesday reported that the one-million-tonne-a-year openpit operation would produce up to 180 000 t/y of high quality lithium concentrate over an initial mine life of three-and-a-half years.
The project is estimated to have a pretax net present value of A$114-million and an internal rate of return of 80%, with a pay-back period of around one-and-a-half years, delivering free cash flows of A$158-million and revenues of around A$501-million.
The DFS was based on the Grants and BP33 deposits, but Core noted that the ore reserves and the larger Finniss project had significant upside to increase the scale and life through the addition of more resources and conversion to reserves.
“The DFS for Finniss once again highlights the significant potential of the project and puts Core on track to become the Northern Territory’s first lithium producer,” said Core MD Stephen Biggins.
“The DFS confirms that Finniss is a simple but high value operation, in part due to the minimal spend required on infrastructure thanks to high grade spodumene reserves in close proximity to Darwin port.
“With the DFS now completed, we are aiming to finalise funding over the coming months so that construction can commence as soon as practicable. We are also maintaining our exploration momentum, with the aim of materially increasing the potential mine life of Finniss before we commence first production.”
Biggins noted that over one-third of the capital expenditure for the project can be met with a $20-million prepayment commitment by the company’s largest shareholder and Chinese lithium producer Yahua Group.
Furthermore, regulatory approvals, and offtake and financing discussions were progressing to support the timetable of allowing construction to start by the second half of this eyar, ramping up to commercial production in the first half of 2020