Goulamina Project risks significantly reduced: Mali Lithium
Mali Lithium (ASX: MLL) has provided an update on progress made during the development of the Definitive Feasibility Study relating to key project infrastructure at the Company’s 100% owned Goulamina Lithium Project in Mali.
· Water Licence received from Malian Authorities to pump from nearby Selingue Dam, de-risking the project water supply
· Alternatives to diesel power generation on site confirmed, allowing for operational cost savings in the final Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS)
· Opportunities to reduce road transport costs identified using a combination of shorter route to Port and backloading of product using empty trucks returning to Port from Bamako
· Project risks significantly reduced by confirming and optimising key infrastructure, which translates directly into reduced Operational Costs
Good progress has been made on developing a robust water management plan for the Project. Water for the processing plant and supporting infrastructure will be drawn from several sources:
· Following detailed negotiations with the Director of Hydraulics for Sikasso and a resulting site visit, MLL has been given approval to draw water from Sélingué Dam. Water will be pumped 29km from the dam to one of the Surface Water Run Off Facility (SWROF), intermittently. The volume of water to be drawn will be determined by what is produced from bores and harvested volumes. This agreement effectively de-risks the Project entirely in terms of water supply. An additional benefit of installing this pipeline is that it will enable offtakes to be put in place to supply local villages with clean, treated water.
· A geophysical survey has been carried out at Goulamina and has identified several prospective targets for groundwater. These targets are expected to be drilled and tested during the November drilling campaign. Subject to the testing results, groundwater is likely to be the main source of water during construction.
· A report by AQ2 and supporting geotechnical testwork has demonstrated the viability of constructing two Surface Water Run Off Facilities (SWROF). These facilities will harvest surface water run-off during the wet season, with modelling work showing that based on average rainfall statistics and allowing for evaporation and seepage, they will provide sufficient water for operations, assuming a 25-35% recovery of water from the plant’s tailings storage facility.
The Pre- Feasibility Study (PFS), released in July 2018, presented a 12 MW owner-operated station powered by diesel generators. Discussions are underway with Energie Du Mali (EDM), which is the sole provider of electricity in Mali, to investigate opportunities for the supply of power from the hydroelectric power station located at Sélingué Dam.
The energy situation in Mali is constantly developing and it is likely that the current supply situation will change with the introduction of solar power generation, with a number of proposals in place for the Sikasso region. Regardless of these discussions, the mine will need its own independent power generation capacity.
The study team has met with a number of service providers and it has been determined that BuildOwn-Operate (BOO) is preferable to an owner-operation model. This will result in reduced capital cost and will better suit the operational needs of the mine.
Standalone diesel generation is still an option under consideration but, particularly with uncertainty over oil prices, it has been determined that there are opportunities to reduce the life of mine cost per kWh by implementing either a solar hybrid system or taking advantage of alternative fuels, such as LPG, which are becoming more prevalent in the region.
Several options have been investigated for the transport and shipment of product from the Goulamina mine. Abidjan and San Pedro in Côte d'Ivoire are the primary options. Dakar port in Senegal was also given consideration but dismissed due to the distance and current condition of the roads.