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Wolfsberg lithium project, Australia – update

Image of lithium ore

3rd November 2023

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Name of the Project
Wolfsberg lithium project.

Location
The mine and concentrator site are located about 20 km east of Wolfsberg, and the hydrometallurgical plant is located to the south of Wolfsberg, in Austria.

Project Owner/s
European Lithium (EUR) announced on October 26, 2022, that it had entered into a business collaboration agreement with Sizzle Acquisition Corp, pursuant to which EUR will combine its wholly owned Wolfsberg project with Sizzle through Critical Metals Corp (CRML) – a newly formed, lithium exploration and development company.

Project Description
Wolfsberg is expected to be the first licensed lithium mine in Europe.

The definitive feasibility study (DFS) proposes an average mine production rate of 780 000 t/y, peaking at 840 000 t/y over the life-of-mine (LoM), which is based on an ore reserve of 11.48-million tonnes, mined over 14.6 years.

The DFS envisages two integrated operations, a mining and processing operation to produce a lithium concentrate (spodumene), and a hydrometallurgical plant to convert the spodumene into battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate.

The hydrometallurgical plant is expected to produce 8 800 t/y of lithium hydroxide monohydrate, with a total production of about 129 000 t of lithium hydroxide monohydrate over the LoM.

Total spodumene concentrate production is estimated at 90 000 t, coarse feldspar at 1.95-million tonnes, fine feldspar at 587 000 t, total coarse quartz at one-million tonnes and total fine quartz at 164 000 t.

Potential Job Creation
Not stated.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
The project has an after-tax net present value, at a 6% discount rate (weighted average cost of capital), of $1.5-billion and an internal rate of return of 33.3%, with a payback of 6.75 years.

Capital Expenditure
Estimated capital expenditure is estimated at $873-million.

Planned Start/End Date
Not stated.

Latest Developments
CRML, the entity to be formed through EUR’s business collaboration with Sizzle Acquisition, has secured an additional $10-million equity investment for the project.

The investment facility is from an investment vehicle managed by a New York-based financial group.

EUR expects CRML to secure more capital in the following weeks and leading up to shareholder approval for its transaction with Sizzle.

In the quarter ended September 30, 2023, nine additional mining licences were issued by the mining authority to cover the complete underground footprint of the mine design as laid out in the DFS.

Meanwhile, in-house studies continue to assess the technical and commercial impacts of relocating the proposed hydroxide plant to Saudi Arabia, based on the DFS.

EUR is preparing the documentation for a formal mining application with the mining authority. Several qualified consultancies have received a tender to quote. The appointment of the suitable consultancy to lodge the formal mining application is expected in the fourth quarter of first quarter of 2024.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
DRA (DFS); Dorfner Anzaplan (metallurgical testwork in support of DRA process engineering); SENET – South Africa (hydrometallurgical plant study, on behalf of DRA); SRK Consulting (mining engineering and mine capital and operating cost estimates, geotechnical engineering, hydrogeology and ore reserves); Paterson & Cooke (tailings design with capital and operating cost estimate); Orykton Consulting (marketing study spodumene, battery-grade lithium hydroxide and by-products); Mine-IT Sanak-Oberndorfer – Austria (resource evaluation); Umweltbüro – Austria (environmental baseline studies); DLA Piper – Austria (mining law); Haslinger Nagele – Austria (permitting regime) Kärntner Montanindustrie – Austria (liaison with Austrian authorities); Benchmark Mineral Intelligence – UK (marketing study for lithium carbonate/hydroxide); Gambosch Consulting – Australia (analysis of lithium market); Cresco Project Finance – South Africa (financial model, on behalf of DRA); ZAMG – Austria (meteorology seismic snow-wind loads for both project sites).

Contact Details for Project Information
European Lithium, tel +61 8 6181 9792 or email info@europeanlithium.com.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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