PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Openpit mining operations have started at the Kathleen Valley lithium project, with the project still on track to produce its first product in mid-2024.
ASX-listed Liontown Resources on Friday reported that the first blast at Kathleen Valley had been successfully fired, and the openpit mining operation would generate material for the construction of the run-of-mine pad and tailings storage facility, as well as potential direct shipping ore and a stockpile of mill feed to facilitate the startup commissioning and ramp-up of the process plant.
“Completion of the first blast and commencement of openpit mining operations at Kathleen Valley is a significant milestone for Liontown, signifying our transition from explorer to mining operator,” said Liontown MD and CEO Tony Ottaviano.
“Achieving this milestone ahead of schedule is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the Liontown and Iron Mining Contracting teams. We are excited to be working with the experienced team at Iron Mine Contracting. We have every confidence in their ability to deliver results and look forward to partnering with them to bring our Kathleen Valley lithium project to life.”
The 2.5-million-tonne-a-year Kathleen Valley operation will produce 500 000 t/y of spodumene concentrate, and in year six of operations, Liontown will look to increase the project capacity to 4-million tonnes a year, delivering 700 000 t/y of spodumene concentrate, within six years.
Based on this production scenario, the Kathleen Valley operation is expected to have a mine life of 23 years, and will generate life-of-mine free cash flows of A$12.2-billion.