LSC Lithium Corporation announced that it has completed the Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA”) for its Pozuelos-Pastos Grandes (“PPG”) Project, located in Salta province.
- US$762 million after-tax NPV at 8% discount rate and IRR of 30%
- CAPEX estimate of US$338 million with 34% of estimate at PFS level accuracy
- OPEX of US$2,994/t of lithium carbonate over life of mine
- Mine life of at least 20 years with initial production in 2021 and steady state in 2024
- Designed for production of 20,000tpa of battery grade lithium carbonate
- Combined PPG Project Resource of 2,617,000 tonnes LCE in Measured and Indicated category and 938,500 tonnes LCE in the Inferred category
- Process development supported by benchscale test work. Pozuelos brine chemistry, in particular is amenable to excellent process performance
LSC’s President and CEO, Ian Stalker, noted, “These results support our view that PPG is one of the most advanced and economically viable lithium projects in Argentina. Operating costs are in the lowest quartile globally, the capital requirements are manageable, and we are excited by the large resource, which leaves room for future upsizing.”
“This important development milestone will be further supported by the Environmental Impact Statement which we intend to submit to the Salta mining secretary. We look forward to 2019, when further pilot testing and geotechnical work at the project will support further data for a full Feasibility Study.”
Unique Project Advantages
The PPG Project enjoys certain unique advantages, which support a rapid development schedule, and low capital and operating costs:
- LSC controls over 90% of the area of the Pozuelos salar and its surroundings. This advantageous position makes siting of infrastructure, extraction of fresh water and preparation of brine-extraction models extremely simple. In this way, sustainable pumping of brine can be ensured.
- Geotechnical conditions in the mature portion of the Pozuelos salar are such that construction of evaporation ponds can occur on the salar surface at low cost.
- For the two reasons above, it was decided to locate all infrastructure at Pozuelos, with only extraction wells and a pipeline located at Pastos Grandes.
- Pozuelos’ proximity to the existing Fenix gas pipeline ensures that only a 26km connection needs to be constructed. LSC has been allocated gas capacity on this pipeline by the gas supply company.
- At least three separate sources of fresh water have been identified and road access is readily available.
- The brine chemistry of the Pozuelos and Pastos Grandes salars complement each other. Test work has shown that an efficient evaporation path can be pursued to produce a high grade and high purity concentrate for feeding into the lithium plant ensuring high recovery rates.
- LSC developed a processing method that is based on conventional and proven operations for lithium brines.
GHD was selected in June 2018 as the preferred engineering company for the execution of the PEA after an extensive selection process, where LSC solicited expressions of interests and proposals from 14 different companies across the globe. GHD offers extensive experience in the design and implementation of lithium projects with brine feedstock. GHD has experience in Argentina’s Puna plateau, working with Orocobre as the preferred engineering service provider for the expansion project at Sales de Jujuy operation, as well as providing services for Neo Lithium’s Tres Quebradas project. GHD also supports major lithium producers in Chile and Australia along with other lithium developers in the South American region.