Following receipt of regulatory approvals, such as the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) which granted the development of the next stage of works at Rincon, the company has been engaging more effectively with potential capital providers towards a funding outcome for the 2,000 tonnes per annum plant.
Based on Argosy’s current plans, development of the plant is estimated for a 12-15-month construction timeframe with a 3-4-month commissioning period thereafter, with capital expenditure estimated at around US$14.3 million (plus contingency and VAT).
The company is targeting a successful funding resolution and to begin construction and associated development works for the processing plant operation during the first half of this year.
Evaporation pond construction
As part of this next stage of works, the 38 hectares of evaporation ponds constructed to supply concentrated lithium brine to the planned plant are in full operation concentrating lithium brine.
These evaporation ponds were completed in 2018 and are ready to deliver concentrated lithium brine into the plant.
Product operations and shipment
During the quarter, the company continued lithium carbonate production operations from an industrial-scale pilot plant utilising its proprietary and exclusive chemical process to produce a 99.5% lithium carbonate product.
Argosy is scheduling a preliminary trial cargo comprising around 5 tonnes of high-quality lithium carbonate produced from the industrial-scale pilot plant operations for shipment during this quarter.
The company will continue to monitor the lithium market dynamics and supply chain pressures, including current lithium prices, as well as limit pilot plant production operations during this period, to ensure cash preservation.
Argosy’s strategy for the pilot plant operation is prioritising production of high-quality lithium carbonate product and tailoring product specification in conjunction with end-users for potential offtake arrangement.
10,000 tonnes commercial project
Argosy has also continued works in preparation for the future development of the 10,000 tonnes per annum commercial-scale operation requirements, including evaporation pond design plans and cost estimation works.
The design plans estimate 21 evaporation ponds totalling 300 hectares within the Mina Romulo tenement.
Application documents requirements include the environment, chemicals, community and baseline study approvals.
These works are scheduled for completion around June-July 2020, with the submission of the associated EIR thereafter.