Oakover concentrate study proves up

30th August 2023

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia


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PERTH ( – An updated dense media separation (DMS) manganese concentrate scoping study at the Oakover project, in Western Australia, estimates that the project will require a capital investment of A$123-million.

ASX-listed Firebird Metals on Wednesday reported that the four-million-tonne-a-year project could deliver 1.2-million tonne a year of manganese concentrate, grading between 30% to 40%, over a mine life of 18 years.

The scoping study estimated that the project would have a net present value of around A$741.3-million and an internal rate of return of 73.1%, with a pay-back period of 16 months.

“We are very pleased with the results from our updated manganese concentrate scoping study, as it has reinforced the world-class nature of our Oakover project, which contains all the necessary elements to become a significant manganese operation,” Firebird MD Peter Allen said.

“Following major growth in the Oakover indicated resource, which was lifted by 80% to 105.8-million tonnes in March this year, the board believed it was prudent to recomplete the concentrate scoping study. The decision has been vindicated as we have nearly doubled the life-of-mine at Oakover from 10 years to 18 years, net present value has grown from A$329-million to A$741.3-million and the internal rate of return has increased from 47% to 73.1%. These are excellent numbers and a great result for the company and our stakeholders,” said Allen.

“Importantly, we have set a strong platform to deliver on our vision to become a global leader in the manganese industry, combining mining and downstream processing with a dedication to the advancement of the electric vehicle battery sector. We are developing and pushing ahead with Oakover at the right time, as the use of manganese in electric vehicle batteries is growing rapidly. Batteries such as lithium/nickel/manganese/cobalt oxide, lithium-ion/manganese oxide and lithium/manganese/iron/phosphate (LMFP) continue to be used more and more by car manufacturers and Tesla has stated plans for two-thirds of their batteries to be manganese based.

“LMFP batteries are forecasted for the biggest growth rise of all the manganese-based batteries, due to the fact it meets the key criteria of car manufacturers - cheap, safe and delivers good range. 2023 is seen by many industry participants as the beginning of the new era of lithium-ion batteries by commercialising LMFP and we look forward to benefiting greatly from this demand.”

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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