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Goulamina lithium project, Mali – update

Image of drill rig at Goulamina mine project

2nd September 2022

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Name of the Project
Goulamina lithium project.

Location
Southern Mali, about 50 km west of Bougouni.

Project Owner/s
Leo Lithium, a subsidiary of Firefinch, and Chinese partner Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium.

Project Description
An update to the October 2020 Goulamina definitive feasibility study (DFS) in December 2021 has confirmed that the project is among the world’s biggest lithium developments.

Stage 1 spodumene concentrate production is estimated at 506 000 t/y, increasing to a peak of 880 000 t/y in Stage 2. The DFS envisages a standard openpit mining operation.

The flowsheet will comprise:

• three-stage crushing to a P80 of 6.2 mm, with a fine-ore bin and overflow dead stockpile;

• closed-circuit ball milling and screening to an estimated P80 of 180 µm, based on a closing screen P100 of 212 µm;

• two-stage magnetic separation;

• three-stage flotation (roughing, cleaning and recleaning);

• concentrate dewatering, filtration and storage;

• separate flotation and process tailings thickening, with common tailings pumped to a tailings storage facility;

• reagent mixing and distribution;

• separate flotation and process water circuits; and

• air services.

The DFS update proposes the construction of a 2.3-million-tonne-a-year throughput plant, incorporating in the design the infrastructure and equipment for the construction of a Stage 2 expansion to increase plant throughput to four-million tonnes a year.

The project is expected to have a minimum mine life of 21 years, producing 15.6-million tonnes of spodumene concentrate over that period.

Potential Job Creation
Not stated.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
The project has a pretax net present value, at an 8% discount rate, of $4-billion and an internal rate of return (real) of 97.8%.

Capital Expenditure
Stage 1 will cost about $255-million and Stage 2 $70-million.

A formal investment decision on Goulamina was taken in March in 2022.

Planned Start/End Date
Firefinch expects to complete construction in early 2024 and commissioning in about mid-2024, with full production expected in 2025.
 

Latest Developments
Early works have started at the Goulamina lithium project.

Speaking at Paydirt’s Africa Downunder conference, held in Perth on August 31, Leo Lithium MD Simon Hay said mechanical construction and electrical installation at the Goulamina project were due to start in the second half of 2023, with commissioning and startup slated for the first half of 2024.

The Stage 2 DFS would take place during the initial construction of Stage 1, with Stage 2 execution within 12 months from the Stage 1 operation reaching its nameplate capacity.

“We've . . . an outline . . . of what Stage 2 looks like. As you can tell from the capital cost, it won't be anywhere near as difficult or [take] as  long to build that project. So we expect at this very early stage, it's roughly a year to build it. The study phase won't be very long. It's not really a study – it's more we'd go straight into an engineering phase. And again, we expect commissioning to be shorter because it would be the second line that we have equivalent commissioning,” he added.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
None stated.

Contact Details for Project Information
Firefinch, tel +61 8 6149 6100 or email info@firefinchltd.com.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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