THE staged optimised feasibility study (OFS) of the Acradia lithium project, in Zimbabwe, has confirmed the economic viability of the project, said ASX-listed Prospect Resources.
The OFS considered the construction of two 1.2-million-tonne-a-year modules, resulting in low up-front capital costs, with reduced execution and market risks.
The Stage 1 operation would require a capital spend of $140-million, to deliver 73 800 t/y of chemical spodumene, 42 500 t/y of technical petalite and 10 600 t/y of chemical petalite, at an all-in sustaining cost of $405/t.
The Stage 2 operation would increase annual throughput from the 1.2-million tonnes in the Stage 1 operation, to 2.4-million tonnes a year, from year five of the operation, resulting in average chemical spodumene production increasing to 146 000 t/y, technical petalite production to 95 500 t/y, and chemical petalite to 23 900 t/y.
The Stage 2 operation would require an additional $72-million capital investment, with the enlarged project having an all-in sustaining cost of $383/t.
Arcadia, at full production, is expected to have a pre-tax net present value of $456-million, an internal rate of return of 35%, and average annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $699-million.
“It is very pleasing to have a viable alternate to the direct development pathway, being a progressive modular build to 2.4-million tonnes a year, now validated by the Staged OFS undertaken by Lycopodium,” said Prospect MD Sam Hosack.
“This study confirms Arcadia as one of the only independent, shovel-ready projects globally without offtake totally locked up. It highlights that Arcadia is one of the world’s premier hard rock lithium assets, with outstanding projected returns under a more conservative development pathway.”
“The OFS details our clear differentiation with a range of potential product markets, and customers versus traditional spodumene projects. Even at the smaller initial scale, the Lycopodium results demonstrate highly competitive forecast operating costs and margins, reflecting prices for technical petalite at a significant premium to traditional chemical grade spodumene concentrate pricing.
“With strong lithium market conditions, and with renewed interest from potential partners, we are now completing the work on the Direct OFS pathway case before funding decisions are made.” Mining Weekly