Photo by: Bloomberg
PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Lithium developer Leo Lithium has awarded a $348-million openpit mining services contract to Corica Mali for operations at its Goulamina mine, in Mali.
The contract encompasses six months of pre-production activities at Goulamina followed by a fixed five-year term. The scope of the contract comprises grade control, drill and blast, load and haul, and plant ore feed services.
Leo said in a statement on Friday that the planned material movement target is between 18-million and 20-million tonnes a year over the term.
Corica has already mobilised to site under an early works contract and is currently undertaking the pre-strip and direct shipped ore (DSO) mining and crushing services.
“We are delighted to appoint Corica as our mining services contractor following an intensive tender process. Corica has a long history and strong presence in Mali and will bring substantial local employment and supplier opportunities to the region,” said Leo Lithium MD Simon Hay.
“With the mining contractor now in place, Leo Lithium has taken another major step towards realising its target of first spodumene concentrate production in the first half of 2024. We look forward to working with Corica over the long term, commencing with DSO activities this quarter.”
On an annualised basis, Leo Lithium is targeting 185 000 t of DSO exports until spodumene production starts.
An investment decision on Goulamina was taken in 2022 to develop the $225-million Stage 1 project which will produce 506 000 t of spodumene concentrate a year, increasing to 880 000 t/y in Stage 2, for a further investment of $70-million.
Leo this year struck a A$106-million cooperation agreement with Chinese lithium giant Ganfeng Lithium under which Ganfeng would take a 9.9% shareholding in Leo Lithium, and the two companies would work together towards expanding Goulamina to the Stage 2 production of up to one-million tonnes a year of spodumene concentrate, adding 500 000 t/y to the Stage 1 operation, and examining opportunities to accelerate the timing of the Stage 2 development.