The recent test work demonstrated that the conversion of Authier lithium concentrates into traditionally extractable beta spodumene (a form of spodumene amenable to further processing) was achievable, at high conversion rates. The results increase the confidence that battery grade lithium carbonate can be produced from Authier lithium concentrates.
The Company has commissioned an evaluation of the technical and economic viability of building a lithium carbonate and/or hydroxide production conversion facility in Quebec to enhance the Authier project value, and improve the long-term competitive position of the project.
The study is being prepared by Wave International (Wave), a highly experienced resource industry development consulting group with over a decade of experience in the lithium industry. Wave are one of only a handful of consultants globally who have successfully studied, designed and delivered spodumene concentration plants, as well as having successfully delivered studies and detailed design for downstream lithium conversation plants. The experience of Wave and its key personnel includes projects such as James Bay (Canada), Greenbushes, Mt Cattlin and Bald Hill.
The study will assess the alternative processing options, process flow sheet selection, operating and capital cost estimates, financial analysis, and recommendations for the next phase of development.
The Company believes that Quebec is uniquely positioned with a number of significant commercial and market advantages for value-adding concentrates, including:
- High quality infrastructure, including roads, rail, and port access;
- Globally competitive, low-cost gas and electricity prices. Electricity is sourced from renewable energy;
- Skilled, competitive cost labor force;
- Sulphuric acid availability from a copper smelter at Rouyn Noranda, 80 kilometres west of the Authier project site;
- Road and rail transport networks connecting to export ports;
- Supportive government that invests directly into mineral development projects (e.g. Nemaska and North American Lithium); and
- Located in close proximity to the US markets including, the Tesla Giga factory in Nevada, and other planned battery factories in the United States.
In addition, currently all the world's hard-rock lithium concentrates are imported and processed into value-added products in China. China's policy incentives for investment into battery manufacturing for electric vehicles and storage systems, and export tax regime for lithium products, is restricting supply of battery raw materials to western battery manufacturers like Korea, Japan and Europe. The Company believes it can be an alternative, stable source of lithium new supply to China.
The study is expected to take between 3 and 4 weeks and compliments to the current metallurgical optimisation program currently underway.
Chief Executive Officer, Corey Nolan, commented: "The commencement of the concept study signals a new potential phase of value creation for the Authier project. In the short term, the Company is committed to developing Authier as a low capital expenditure project and capitalising on the projected high price environment for concentrates over the next five to ten years. Cash flows from concentrate sales could then be applied to funding the equity required to construct the downstream processing plant. This would unlock the inherent value in the project at a time when lithium carbonate/hydroxide prices are trading near at all time price highs based on the strong demand growth for lithium-ion batteries".
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About Sayona Mining Ltd
Sayona Mining Limited (ASX:SYA) (OTCMKTS:DMNXF) is a company focused on sourcing and developing the raw materials required to construct lithium-ion batteries for use in the rapidly growing new and green technology sectors. Please visit us as at www.sayonamining.com.au
Chief Executive Officer