Test work and recent optimisation studies have identified opportunities to materially reduce the start-up capital requirement to build the project without impacting operational margins.
The estimated capital costs of constructing a new beneficiation, agitation leaching, and metal recovery plant would be reduced to about $524 million.
This will be done by reducing the start-up mining rates to operationally correspond with a standard-sized acid plant installation that can produce more than 15 megawatts of electricity per year and 1,800 tonnes per day of sulphuric acid.
Components of the $4.7 billion tonne Speewah Specialty Metals Project will be designed around being modular and readily scaleable by nature to fund and expand the tonnages mined.
A new two-stage acid leaching process is also being investigated which may reduce current acid consumption volumes.
The completion of the PFS is now expected towards the end of 2019.