Advanced Australian lithium developer Core Lithium (ASX: CXO) has announced a significant increase in the Ore Reserves and, as a result, Life of Mine (LOM) for the company’s wholly owned Finniss lithium project in the Northern Territory.
Increased Ore Reserves underpin a JORC-compliant seven-year Life of Mine (LOM).
Finniss Ore Reserves increased by 159%.
Underground Mining Pre-Feasibility Study has confirmed the viability of underground mining at BP33 and Carlton.
Maiden Underground Ore Reserve Estimates established for BP33 and Carlton.
Low start-up capital requirements for the Finniss project materially unchanged.
Current additional Mineral Resource inventory to potentially sustain the Finniss Project closer to ten years.
Extended Ore Reserves and mine life significantly improve potential Project returns, as Core targets FID in 2020.
Total Ore Reserves now stand at 5.7 million tonnes (Mt), which supports a 7-year LOM assuming open pit mining methods at the Grants deposit and underground mining methods at the BP33 and Carlton deposits.
An Underground Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) was also extended beyond Measured and Indicated Resources, with a Scoping Study (SS) conducted in parallel to assess true project potential and to help direct immediate resource conversion and resource extension drilling efforts.
The PFS and SS (together “the studies”) strengthen the potential for the Finniss Project to achieve a 9-year Project and potentially beyond.
Importantly, on the back of this increase in Reserves, the LOM of the Finniss Project has doubled and can be achieved without substantial increases to the start-up capital for the Finniss Project.
The increased Resources, Reserves and extended mine plan along with other key inputs will be used to update the Feasibility Study for the Finniss Project as the Company moves toward Financial Investment Decision (FID) later in 2020.
The subvertical shape of the deposits and excellent ground conditions at BP33 and Carlton, allowed sublevel open stoping to be selected as the mining method for the PFS to provide a lower cost and lower risk method than other underground mining methods.
The underground PFS and SS was recently completed by independent consulting firm OreWin Pty Ltd (OreWin). OreWin is an Australian mining consultancy that specialises in all aspects of project development, from resource evaluation through to feasibility studies. The studies have examined underground mining of the Mineral Resources for the Grants, BP33 and Carlton deposits.
Core is at the front of the line of new global lithium production, with recent approval from the NT Government to develop one of the most capital efficient and cost competitive lithium projects in Australia.
The Finniss Project is located within 25km of power station, gas, rail and one hour by sealed road to workforce accommodated in the capital city of Darwin and importantly to Darwin Port – Australia’s nearest port to Asia.
Core has also recently signed its first European Offtake MOU with Geneva-based Transamine for 50,000tpa, in addition to binding offtake for 75,000tpa with one of China’s largest lithium producers, Szechuan Yahua.
Core’s Managing Director, Mr Stephen Biggins stated: “Today’s announcement of a seven year mine life backed by Reserves, and closer toward 10 years when including the Project’s potential resource inventory, now allows us to seriously leverage the Finniss Project’s strength of location and production capacity to fully embrace such infrastructure as grid connection to power.
“The downstream lithium battery supply chain and project financiers have recognised the significance of the recent Finniss Project approvals and the now extended feasible production capacity. We are well engaged with a number of parties globally for the remaining offtake of Core’s high-quality lithium concentrate and expect to be engaging with project financiers in the second half of 2020 to reach FID.
“In the context of the substantial increases in Resource and Reserves of the Finniss Project this month, coupled with additional demand for offtake, Core is also likely to consider expanding production and revenues from the Finniss Project above the current concentrate production capacity of 175,000tpa.”