PERTH (miningweekly.com) – A scoping study into the Pioneer Dome lithium project, in Western Australia, has supported a decision to progress to more detailed studies, ASX-listed Essential Metals said.
The scoping study is based on a mineral resource estimate (MRE) of 11.2-million tonnes, at 1.16% lithium oxide, containing 129 000 t of lithium, and estimates a base case net present value of A$367-million and an internal rate of return of 40%.
Over the more than seven years of mine life, the project is expected to produce 193 745 t/y of 5.7% spodumene concentrate at a nameplate capacity of 1.2-million tonnes a year, with the capital costs for the project estimated at A$293-million.
“The robust scoping study results support more detailed studies being undertaken to determine the optimal development pathway to developing a lithium mining operation in Western Australia whilst taking advantage of expected strong demand for lithium concentrate, which should generate healthy margins,” said Essential Metals MD Tim Spencer.
Essential will now start planning a prefeasibility study or definitive feasibility study for the Pioneer Dome project, and will undertake additional drilling to raise the confidence of the MRE. The company will also undertake further metallurgical testwork and flowsheet optimisation.