PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Lithium developer Liontown Resources is progressing the development of its Kathleen Valley project, in Western Australia, awarding a key contract to processing equipment supplier Metso-Outotec for the design, fabrication and delivery of a semi autogenous grinding (SAG) mill.
The SAG mill contract is worth an estimated A$10-million, and the mill will accommodate both base production of 2.5-million tonnes a year and the planned expansion to 4-million tonnes a year in year six of the mine plan.
Liontown said on Monday that detailed engineering and design for the A$473-million Kathleen Valley project continues and the company is targeting the award of all key equipment packages over the next six months to maintain schedule and meet its target of first production of lithium concentrate in 2024.
The Stage 1, 2.5-million-tonne-year operation will produce about 500 000 t/y of spodumene concentrate. During year six of the operation, a further A$66-million investment will be made to increase the project capacity to 4-million tonnes a year, delivering 700 000 t/y of spodumene concentrate.
Based on this production scenario, the Kathleen Valley operations is expected to have a mine life of 23 years, and will generate life-of-mine free cash flows of A$12.2-billion. The DFS estimated a post-tax net present value of A$4.2-billion and an internal rate of return of 57%, with a payback period of 2.3 years.
“The SAG mill contract is the first of the long-lead items to be ordered and represents an important milestone for the Kathleen Valley project. Placing this significant order with a world-class partner in Metso-Outotec is a great way to start the year and reflects our commitment to advance the Kathleen Valley project rapidly towards first production,” said Liontown MD and CEO Tony Ottaviano.