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Sayona provides update on NAL ramp-up

The NAL operation in Quebec

The NAL operation in Quebec

9th November 2023

By: Mariaan Webb

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

     

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Lithium miner Sayona Mining is confident that its ramp-up plan for North American Lithium (NAL), Quebec, is robust and will deliver optimal production, the ASX-listed firm said on Thursday.

The ramp-up plan has a strong focus on cost management and resolving process limitations, Sayona said, noting that the NAL team was addressing the bottlenecks causing downtime.

Sayona in March restarted operations at NAL, which previously operated from 2017 to 2019. Although substantial process plant componentry upgrades were completed to enable the restart, the company reported that residual limitations in capacity and space in the existing plant remain.

Sayona is now building a crushed ore dome to act as a secondary supply source of crushed ore to enhance existing plant feed availability. However, vendor delays have resulted in the project not being available for the winter months, which could result in limitations on plant feed during the coming months. The project is scheduled for completion in March.

Sayona is considering options to maximise feed sources until the crushed ore dome is completed.

The NAL operational update was announced as part of Sayona’s five-pillar strategy that the board approved.

The strategy entails:

1. Optimise operations – ramp up production at NAL to sustainably optimise production and maximise returns and cashflow generation.
2. Expand resource base – expand known mineral resources through drilling programmes at NAL and Moblan and continue value accretive exploration in Québec and Western Australia.
3. Develop assets – Deliver portfolio potential through the development of upstream assets and pursue value accretive growth options.
4. Integrate downstream – evaluate and secure opportunities for downstream integration into higher value lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide production.
5. Explore strategic partnerships – to lock in demand, access end markets, establish a vertically integrated supply chain, and fund the accelerated development of the company with strict cash flow management.

As part of the strategic review, Sayona interim CEO James Brown and board of directors recently toured the operations at 75%-owned NAL and reviewed other initiatives, including its 60%-owned Moblan.

Sayona views Moblan as an increasingly attractive and strategic high-grade lithium asset.

The company stressed that it was also committed to downstream processing in Quebec. It is the board’s preference to develop a downstream operating and supply model for Moblan that allows Sayona to produce the concentrate from the mine and link with an experienced chemical partner with demonstrated commercial technology. The addition of an end-user for the chemicals would further enhance the offtake model. This model will minimise risk across the supply chain and allow positive financial returns from the downstream chemical exposure.

“We are confident that this strategy will generate significant, long-term value for Sayona’s shareholders, employees, joint venture partners and community stakeholders,” said Brown.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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