PERTH (miningweekly.com) – ASX-listed Altura Mining on Thursday revealed details of a prefeasibility study into its Pilgangoora lithium project, in Western Australia.
A base-case study of a one-million-tonne-a-year throughput estimated that the Pilgangoora project could deliver about 150 000 t/y of spodumene concentrate over a mine life of 19 years.
The project was expected to generate life-of-mine (LoM) revenues of more than A$1.3-billion and LoM cash flows of about A$609-million.
The project was expected to require a capital investment of A$97.6-million, and would have a net present value (NPV) of A$277-million and an internal rate of return (IRR) of 42.5%.
However, Altura pointed out that initial marketing indications demonstrated that spodumene concentrate sales in excess of the base case could be achieved, which resulted in the miner also considering the production case for a two-million-tonne-a-year ore feed.
Based on the increased production case, the Pilgangoora mine could deliver 289 000 t/y of spodumene concentrate over a mine life of ten years.
The two-million-tonne-a-year operation would require a capital investment of A$146.7-million, but would deliver improved economics, with the NPV estimated at A$392-million and the IRR at 60%.
LoM cash flows for the expanded operation also increased to A$623-million.
Altura told shareholders on Thursday that the results of the mining study confirmed the significant potential of the Pilgangoora project, allowing the company to continue to direct substantial resources towards it in the hopes of fast-tracking development.
A definitive feasibility study on Pilgangoora would now be undertaken, with the aim of completing it by the end of March this year.