Robust scoping study for Galan development

GALAN Lithium says a preliminary economic assessment of its Hombre Muerto West brine project in Argentina places it in the lowest quartile of the global lithium cost production curve, beating out Western Australia’s hard rock mines.
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Galan will need just seven production wells in Argentina

Haydn Black

Reporter

The scoping study, which is based on just 60% of estimated resource, sets a total development budget of US$439 million, which including a substantial $102 million contingency, for a project capable of producing 20,000 tonnes per annum of battery-grade lithium carbonate equivalent over 40 years at cash costs of $3518/t.
 
The operation could generate annual pre-tax earnings of $174 million, and comes with an after-tax net present value of $684 million, an internal rate of return of 19%, and a payback of around 50 months.
 
The initial development requires just seven production wells, to be located in the Rana de Sal and Pata Pila areas. 
 
The evaporation ponds to recover lithium from brines, would cost $147 million, the largest single item within the development budget.
 
Galan managing director Juan Pablo Vargas de la Vega said the economics were "robust" and "compelling", assuming an average LCE price out to 2040 of $11,687/t, based on forecasts from Roskill.
 
In addition to the upside in the 40% of resources not included, de la Vega said the recent Del Condor acquisition provided potential financial upside to optimise the project layout, and an ability to reduce capital and operating cost estimates further.
 
He said the company would move ahead to prefeasibility and feasibility studies, with the aim of getting HMW into production as soon as possible.
 
It hopes to begin construction in late 2022, with production from 2025 and ramp-up complete in late 2026. 
 
Roskill expects there will be strong demand for new projects and secondary lithium sources with a fundamental supply deficit from the late 2020s. 
 
Galan estimates resources of at 2.3 million tonnes grading 946 milligrams per litre of LCE, the third largest publicly disclosed resource in the Hombre Muerto basin.
 
Galan shares have doubled since it announced its resource update in mid-November, and were last traded at A32c, valuing the company at $55 million.