Advanced Australian lithium developer, Core Lithium (ASX: CXO), has announced significantly improved metallurgical performance from the final phase of testwork on the BP33 deposit within the Finniss Lithium Project, located near Darwin in the NT.
Excellent recoveries confirmed in final Dense Media Separation (DMS) test work on spodumene pegmatite from BP33
Exceptional Concentrate Quality Produced at High Recovery
Concentrate Grade of 6.0 % Li2O
Low Impurities <0.5% Fe2O3
High 71% Recovery
Production of high-quality lithium concentrate by DMS avoids much higher capital, financing and operating costs associated with flotation processing
DMS-only processing of high-grade lithium Mineral Resources close to Darwin Port enables Core to be one of the most capital efficient and cost competitive lithium producers in Australia
Finniss’ superior quality, low-iron, coarse lithium concentrate differentiates Core in the quality-focussed battery and Electric Vehicle (EV) supply chain
These new results to be applied to Feasibility Study update this quarter targeting significantly increased mine-life and substantially improved economics
Core Lithium positioned at front of the line of new lithium producers
DMS results (summarised below) were excellent showing that a 6.0% Li2O concentrate can be produced at an overall lithium recovery of 71% at a coarse 6.3mm crush size.
Metallurgical testwork was conducted on representative bulk samples of spodumene pegmatite from diamond core drilling at BP33 and overall these results demonstrate the robust metallurgy of the deposit.
The Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS), released in April 2019, was based on the production of a 5.5% Li2O concentrate at 72% recovery. The updated results indicate an improvement in the concentrate grade of 9% for little decrease in recovery. The 6.0% Li2O concentrate grade is comparable to that produced by WA lithium producers.
These new results from the high lithium grade and low iron content ore body at BP33 improve on and confirm previous test work results in regard to producing exceptional quality lithium concentrate at better lithium grades, lower iron content, at higher recovery and at a coarse crush size.
Core believes that the high-quality, low-iron, coarse Finniss lithium concentrate will be preferred in a lithium battery and EV market focussed on demand for exceptional quality materials supplied from ethical and sustainable sources.
Importantly, production of high-quality lithium concentrate by DMS avoids much higher capital, financing and operating costs associated with flotation processing.
DMS-only processing of high-grade lithium resources in close proximity to the capital city and port of Darwin enables Core to be potentially one of the most capital efficient and cost competitive lithium producers in Australia.
Core’s 2019 DFS highlights production of 175,000tpa of high-quality lithium concentrate at a C1 Opex of US$300/t and US$50M Capex through simple and efficient DMS (gravity) processing of some of Australia’s highest-grade lithium resources.
The potential for producing meaningful quantities of Lithium Fines and Feldspar byproducts was also confirmed by these latest results. Core’s transport cost from mine to port is only US$7/t, so by-products produced at marginal cost have potential to significantly add to project profits.
These outstanding new metallurgical results from the high grade BP33 orebody will be incorporated along with new Mineral Resource and Ore Reserve estimates into an updated Feasibility Study in Q2 2020 targeting a significantly increased mine life and substantially improved project economics.
With project approvals to construct and operate now secured and substantially increased mine life in the near future, Core’s Finniss Lithium Project is positioned to be at the front of the line of new global lithium supply as EV manufacturing recovers post COVID-19.