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Goulamina lithium project, Mali – update

Image of drill core from the Goulamina project

Drill core from the Goulamina project

Photo by Leo Lithium

20th January 2023

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
Firefinch subsidiary Leo Lithium, 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
Leo Lithium has reported a 33.8-million tonne increase to the resource estimate at its Goulamina project.

Following a resource definition drilling campaign in the second half of 2022, the Goulamina project is now estimated to host a mineral resource of 142.3-million tonnes, at 1.38% lithium oxide, a 31% increase on the previous estimate.

“These results continue to reveal high-grade, thick intercepts and confirm our expectations of multiple, wide mineralised pegmatite zones. Also, the deposit remains open at depth and along strike, creating new drilling targets for the team. This significant upgrade also supports the possible extension of the 23-year mine life of the Goulamina project,” Leo Lithium MD Simon Hay has said.

Meanwhile, resource definition drilling is on the north-east domain, with drilling results to be announced shortly, and a mineral resource estimate set to be restated in the current half-year.

“These results are also encouraging ahead of first spodumene concentrate product in the second quarter of 2024 and the early revenue opportunity from the targeted export of direct shipped ore in the second half of 2023,” Hay adds.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
Lycopodium (updated DFS, and engineering, procurement and associated project management services contract).

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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