Liontown talks up downstream facility

LIONTOWN Resources says the numbers look good for the holy grail of minerals processing: a downstream facility that can improve economics for its proposed Kathleen Valley lithium-tantalum project in Western Australia.
Liontown talks up downstream facility Liontown talks up downstream facility Liontown talks up downstream facility Liontown talks up downstream facility Liontown talks up downstream facility

Haydn Black

Reporter

The downstream scoping study, which follows this month's updated prefeasibility, considers using the lithium resource to create battery-grade products.
 
Pursuing the A$1.1 billion, 57,600 tonne per annum lithium hydroxide option would deliver a post-tax net present value of $4.8 billion, free cashflow of $19.5 billion, operating costs of $4744/t, and with an internal rate of return of 41% would deliver a payback of three years.
 
The $900 million, 87,900tpa lithium sulphate train would also have a three-year payback, with an NPV of $3.2 billion, IRR of 35%, opex of $2649/t, and free cashflow of $13.7 billion.
 
In both cases, the capex includes $325 million for the 2Mtpa mine and mill.
 
Regardless of product, plants would be designed to process 380,000tpa for the expected 40 year life of the mine based on current reserves of 71Mt, and would also recover 430tpa of tantalum. 
 
Liontown said the study completed by Lycopodium showed an integrated upstream and downstream development generated a "compelling economic upside" for Kathleen Valley, which already benefits from its location in the Eastern Goldfields.
 
The company would continue to refine its downstream options as part of a planned definitive feasibility study, with additional metallurgical test work and process engineering to support the options expected in mid-2021.
 
A final investment decision is still being targeted for late 2021.
 
Liontown's stock closed at 27.5c yesterday, just below an all-time peak of 30c set earlier in the week. The company is now worth around $474 million.