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Kathleen Valley lithium/tantalum project, Australia – update

Location map of the Kathleen Valley project

6th May 2022

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Name of the Project                                    
Kathleen Valley lithium/tantalum project.

Location
North-east Goldfields of Western Australia.

Project Owner/s
Liontown Resources.

Project Description
A definitive feasibility study (DFS) has confirmed the potential to develop a state-of-the-art, second-generation lithium/tantalum mining and processing operation.

The DFS optimises the mine schedule, process plant design and forecast sales pricing to enhance the technical and financial viability of a standalone, long-life, four-million-tonne-a-year operation.

The project has an ore reserve of 68.5-million tonnes grading 1.34% lithium oxide and 120 parts per million tantalum pentoxide, underpinning an initial estimated 23-year mine life, based on the updated mining schedule.

Building on the October 2020 prefeasibility study, the DFS base production has been increased from two-million tonnes a year to 2.5-million tonnes a year, producing about 500 000 t/y of spodumene concentrate, with a four-million-tonne-a-year expansion planned in Year 6 to deliver about 700 000 t/y spodumene concentrate.

Potential Job Creation
Not stated.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
The project has an after-tax net present value, at a real 8% discount rate, of A$4.2-billion and an internal rate of return of 57%, with a payback of 2.3 years.

Capital Expenditure
Initial project capital is estimated at A$437-million.

Planned Start/End Date
First production is expected to start in the first half of 2024.

Latest Developments
Liontown Resources has signed a binding offtake agreement with South Korea-based LG Energy Solutions, enacting a term sheet signed earlier this year.

Under the terms of the agreement, LG will buy 100 000 t of spodumene concentrate from the Kathleen Valley operation in the first year, increasing to 150 000 t/y over the remaining four years of the five-year offtake term, which is expected to start in 2024.

The offtake agreement covers nearly one-third of Kathleen Valley’s expected startup production capacity of about 500 000 t/y.

The offtake agreement with LG Energy Solutions follows an earlier offtake agreement with electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla, for the supply of up to 150 000 t/y of spodumene concentrate, also starting from 2024.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
ZOOID (environmental social governance); Optiro (geology and mineral resources estimate); Snowden Mining Industry Consultants (mine optimisation, planning, design and scheduling); ALS Metallurgy (process testwork); Lycopodium Minerals (process and infrastructure design, capital and operating expenditure); Knight Piésold (tailings and hydrogeology); MBS Environmental (environmental studies); Peter O’Bryan and Associates (geomechanical engineering) and Metso-Ouotec (design, fabrication and delivery of a semiautogenous grinding mill).

Contact Details for Project Information
Liontown Resources, tel +6 8 6186 4600 or email info@ltresources.com.au.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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