Galaxy firms up balance sheet

NOW that Mt Cattlin is back in production, lithium producer Galaxy Resources is turning its attention to development, raising $A61 million to progress new projects.
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Kristie Batten

The heavily oversubscribed private placement to sophisticated and institutional investors comprised 113 million shares at 54c per share, a 9.2% discount to Galaxy’s last closing price.

The company said the strong demand for the placement from new and existing investors confirmed the underlying strength of its assets.

Galaxy’s Mt Cattlin mine near Ravensthorpe is ramping up to produce 160,000 tonnes of spodumene this year, with the company set to receive up to $US905 per tonne for concentrate.

Galaxy said pricing was expected to remain robust until at least 2020 due to growing demand.

The company will now turn its attention to growth projects in the Americas.

Site works are due to begin this month on the $376 million Sal de Vida brine project in Argentina under the watchful eyes of a development team mostly made up of former FMC and SQM executives.

Early works include the drilling of two 150m-deep production wells next to test evaporation ponds, as well as a third exploratory well.

A continuous demo plant will be started up, producing commercial samples of lithium carbonate.

Sal de Vida is expected to produce 25,000 tonnes per annum of lithium carbonate over a mine life of more than 40 years from late 2019.

The project has a post-tax net present value (using a 10% discount rate) of $A1.4 billion, an internal rate of return of 34.6% and a payback period of only two years and 10 months.

Sal de Vida will also produce 95,000tpa of potash, though Galaxy has the option to defer the investment on the potash plant to save $US34 million.

The company is continuing talks with potential customers, strategic partners and financiers, and hasn’t ruled out selling a minority stake in the project.

Galaxy managing director Anthony Tse was unavailable this morning.

The company also owns the James Bay hard rock project in Canada, which has a resource of 22.2Mt at 1.28% lithium oxide.

Exploration and a revised definitive feasibility study are due to start shortly.

Aside from project work, the funds will also strengthen Galaxy’s balance sheet.

The company only had $A9.3 million in cash at the end of December, including cash reserves from a debt facility.

Debt at December 31 stood at $44.7 million.

 

Shares in Galaxy were down by 4.2% to 57c, capitalising the company at just over $1 billion.