Mina do Barroso lithium project, Portugal – update

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9th June 2023

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor


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Name of the Project
Mina do Barroso lithium project.

Near Boticas, northern Portugal.

Project Owner/s
Savannah Resources.

Project Description
Barroso, a world heritage site for agriculture, is one of many lithium-rich areas in northern Portugal, where it already mines feldspar, quartz and pegmatites in the mountainous region.

A scoping study has confirmed that Mina do Barroso has the potential to be a major European producer of spodumene lithium, with robust project economics and the potential to deliver substantial shareholder value.

The study is considered a base case for the project, and is based on a mine and concentrator-only development for the production of spodumene concentrate.

The project will use a contract miner and fleet.

Conceptual openpit mine planning has been developed, targeting a plant feed rate of 1.3-million tonnes a year, with an estimated average life-of-mine (LoM) mill head grade of 1.02% (diluted) lithium oxide and an average overall strip ratio of 5.2:1 (waste:ore ratio). The project LoM will exceed 11 years.

The flowsheet comprises a combined 1.3-million-tonne-a-year, dense-media separation and flotation circuit, with an overall plant availability of 85% for the recovery of spodumene. The study estimates average production of 175 000 t/y of spodumene concentrate at 6% lithium oxide.

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 $356-million and an internal rate of return of 63.2%, with a payback of 1.7 years.

Capital Expenditure
Initial capital expenditure is estimated at $109-million.

Planned Start/End Date
Construction is expected to start in the second quarter of 2019, with production expected to start in the first quarter of 2020.

Latest Developments
Portuguese authorities have approved Savannah’s environmental-impact assessment (EIA) for what could become Western Europe's biggest lithium mine, calling the step a "major milestone" for the project.

Portugal's APA environment regulator has given the company a "favourable" environmental impact declaration (DIA)but there are a wide range of measures that Savannah must comply with, such as limiting the removal of vegetation from the project area, not taking water from a nearby river and undertaking landscaping once extraction has ended.

The project must also include a "socioeconomic compensation package", such as royalties to the municipality where the mine is to be located.

A positive DIA enables the company to progress to the next stages of the process, including the publication of a new scoping study and a social-impact assessment.

The company expects the remaining steps of the environmental licensing process to take 9 to 12 months to complete. It hopes to receive its final environmental licence in 2024.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
Hatch (engineering services); PayneGeo (geological model and resource estimations); Minesure (analysis and definition of the scoping level mining inventory and contractor costs); Primero Group (primary engineering group and lead manager for the feasibility study); Knight Piésold (lead geotechnical and hydrological engineering); Quadrant (consultant on transport and logistics requirements); Nagrom and ALS (assay and metallurgical testwork services); VISA Consultores (environmental-impact statement assessment); CV&A Consultores and S317 Consulting (stakeholder management strategy, community engagement plan and sourcing of European Union funding); and Noah’s Rule (financial adviser).

Contact Details for Project Information
Savannah Resources, David Archer, tel +44 20 7117 2489.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter




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