PERTH (miningweekly.com) – ASX-listed Firefinch has received its first $39-million payment from joint venture (JV) partner Ganfeng Lithium Co, after Chinese regulators approved the JV over the Goulamina lithium project.
The two companies earlier this year struck an agreement under which Ganfeng would make a $130-million cash investment in return for a 50% interest in the Goulamina project vehicle, and would also secure up to $64-million in debt funding that would bring the Goulamina project, in Mali, into production.
Firefinch on Wednesday said that following advice of non-objection from the government of Mali, Ganfeng has now deposited the first tranche of the funding into an escrow account, in line with the conditions of the subscription agreement.
Once the restructure of Firefinch’s corporate structure has been completed, to separate its lithium activities from its gold activities, the project exploitation licence will be transferred to the JV company, and the cash would be released from escrow.
The transfer is expected in early 2022, Firefinch told shareholders.
The company is currently completing a definitive feasibility study update that will consider a Stage 2 expansion of Goulamina, involving a 75% increase in production capacity from 2.3-million tonnes a year to 4-million tonnes a year, resulting in spodumene concentrate production increasing from 450 000 t/y and making Goulamina one of the largest producers globally.
The completion of the updated definitive feasibility study, and a final investment decision for Goulamina is on track for late 2021.