Core is advancing the Finniss Lithium Project near Darwin and last month lodged an application for a mining lease at the Grants prospect with the NT Government.
A definitive feasibility study is currently underway at Finniss and is on track for completion later this month.
The study is focused on mining and production of high-grade lithium concentrate with development planned to start in 2019.
Core chairman Greg English said at the AGM that Finniss had many characteristics that make it favourable for development.
These include: the high-grade ore being amenable to simple dense media separation; mining of spodumene through open pit mining methods; the project’s 90-kilometre proximity to Darwin’s port; and being Australia’s closest lithium project to China.
English added: “We are confident that once all permits are granted and funding is secured … we will be able to successfully develop the Finniss project and successfully grow the mineral resource to support an increased mine life.”
Proximity to Darwin port
Core has been actively drilling at Finniss for over two years after the company reset its strategy in 2016 with the objective of discovering and developing a lithium project in the Northern Territory.
The work to shore up the project has increased the size of the Grants mineral resource by 42% to 4.3 million tonnes at 1.4% lithium and increase the BP33 mineral resource by 51% to 2.15 million tonnes at 1.5%.
Finniss’ global mineral resource now amounts to 5 million tonnes at 1.5% lithium.
The company has signed offtake framework agreements with Yahua and Ruifu and are now negotiating final and binding definitive agreements for the sale of spodumene concentrate.
English noted that the offtake agreements also include pre-payment conditions which may potentially assist with funding Finniss’ development.
Core completed a pre-feasibility study for Finniss in June, indicating the project would be a low-capex lithium concentrate operation with globally competitive cash costs, high operating margins and rapid capital payback.
The Grants deposit is expected to generate a net present value (NPV) of $140 million pre-tax with an internal rate of return (IRR) of 142% at an average concentrate price of US$649 per tonne.
At the time of the PFS’ completion the spot concentrate price was US$895 which, if realised, would increase the NPV to $246 million.