The scoping study enhances the project’s ‘exceptional’ economics, including a steady-state 22,700-tonne a year lithium hydroxide chemical plant supported by a mine-concentrator producing 160,000 tonnes a year of 6% lithium oxide spodumene concentrate.
The scoping study includes a steady-state 22,700 tonnes a year lithium hydroxide chemical plant
By-products quartz, feldspar and mica will provide credits to the cost of lithium production.
Piedmont president and CEO Keith Phillips said: “We are very pleased with the results of the updated scoping study which reflects the benefits of a 25-year mine life, a refined concentrator flow sheet and PFS-level engineering and metallurgy.
“The economic benefit of developing an integrated lithium chemical business in North Carolina, USA is clear, driven by the exceptional infrastructure and human resource advantages of our location, as well as the competitive royalty and tax regime offered in the United States.
“We will continue to progress our mine-concentrator through the permitting and feasibility processes, but we will now redouble our efforts on the strategic front by accelerating our lithium hydroxide test work and intensifying the strategic discussions we have had with offtake partners.”
The scoping study features:
- An integrated project to produce 22,7000 tonnes per year of lithium hydroxide;
- A 25-year project life with 2 years of concentrate-only sales and 23 years of integrated operations;
- More than 100% increase in life-of-project lithium hydroxide production compared with prior studies;
- Lithium hydroxide cash costs of US$3,105 per tonne and spodumene cash costs of US$199 per tonne;
- Exceptional project economics including NPV of US$1.45 billion, after tax IRR of 34% and annual average EBITDA of US$298 million;
- Mine – concentrator engineering and metallurgical test work completed to PFS level; and
- Conventional technology selection in all project aspects.
Piedmont will now focus on initiatives such as continuing phase-four drilling, securing necessary permits and approvals for the mine-concentrator and beginning metallurgical test work to produce lithium hydroxide.
Other initiatives include:
- Accelerating the development of the company’s proposed lithium hydroxide chemical plant;
- Beginning a detailed market study of the important US quartz, feldspar and mica markets; and
- Formalising dialogue with several prospective strategic, technical and offtake partners.