Africa|Cleaning|Construction|Contractor|Crushing|Design|Dewatering|Engineering|Filtration|flotation|Infrastructure|Mining|PROJECT|Project Management|Screen|Screening|Services|Storage|Water|Equipment|Infrastructure|Operations
Africa|Cleaning|Construction|Contractor|Crushing|Design|Dewatering|Engineering|Filtration|flotation|Infrastructure|Mining|PROJECT|Project Management|Screen|Screening|Services|Storage|Water|Equipment|Infrastructure|Operations

Goulamina lithium project, Mali – update

Location map of the Goulamin project

Photo by Leo Lithium

15th September 2023

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor


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Name of the Project
Goulamina lithium project.

Southern Mali, about 50 km west of Bougouni.

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

Project Description
The project is one of 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 23 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
The total project capital from the final investment decision to first production in the second quarter of 2024 is expected to be $318-million.

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 that the project was 35% complete at the end of July and is expected to accelerate in the coming months, with an intensive construction phase planned in the second half of 2023.

Leo Lithium has indicated that the direct shipping ore (DSO) opportunity at the Goulamina lithium mine remains.

Speaking during the last day of Paydirt’s Africa Downunder conference, in Perth, Leo MD Simon Hay told delegates that negotiations with the Mali government were ongoing, after the company had been ordered to halt its DSO operations earlier this year.

The Mali government formed a commission in July to investigate topics, including DSO, the status of government’s free-carry stake and the overall status of the progress at Leo’s Goulamina mine.

Leo had been targeting the production of 185 000 t of DSO exports until spodumene production at Goulamina starts.

“Originally, the company was planning to make six shipments of DSO – three this year and three next year. The DSO plans were put together with the support of the previous Mines Minister, but a new . . . Minister was appointed about two months ago, and one of his first actions was to stop the DSO,” Hay told delegates.

The reason for the DSO stoppage is that Leo Lithium had to engage with government and explain the operation in more detail, as well as provide market commentary, pricing information and product-quality information for government.

“The final decision hasn’t yet been reached on DSO, and there is the opportunity that it will be permitted in the future,” Hay has said.

However, Hay has pointed out that the economics of Goulamina are not based on the DSO operation, but rather on the enlarged spodumene project.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
Lycopodium (updated DFS, and engineering, procurement and associated project management services contract); and Corica Mining Services (mining contractor).

Contact Details for Project Information
Firefinch, tel +61 8 6149 6100 or email


Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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