THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Piedmont Lithium (ASX: PLL) reported results of an updated Scoping Study for the company’s vertically integrated lithium hydroxide chemical project located in North Carolina, USA.
The updated Scoping Study included a steady-state 22,700 tonnes per annum lithium hydroxide (LiOH) chemical plant supported by a mine/concentrator producing 160,000 tonnes per annum of six per cent lithium oxide (Li2O) spodumene concentrate.
By-products quartz, feldspar, and mica will provide credits to the cost of lithium production.
The Scoping Study features:
Integrated project to produce 22,700 tonnes per annum of LiOH;
25-year project life with two years of concentrate-only sales and 23 years of integrated operations plus more than 100 per cent increase in life-of-project LiOH production compared with prior studies;
First quartile operating costs, including lithium hydroxide cash costs of US$3,105 per tonne (AISC of US$3,565 per tonne) and spodumene concentrate cash costs of US$199 per tonne (AISC of US$238 per tonne);
Exceptional project economics of NPV of US$1.45 billion, after-tax IRR of 34 per cent, and steady-state annual average EBITDA of US$298 million;
Mine/Concentrator engineering and metallurgical testwork completed to PFS-level; and
Conventional technology selection in all project aspects.
The integrated Piedmont project is projected to have an average life of project all-in sustaining cost (AISC) of approximately $3,565 per tonne, including royalties and net of by-product credits, which the company claims should position it as the industry’s lowest-cost producer.
Piedmont believes the Scoping Study demonstrates the integrated project’s strong commercial potential, and now puts the company in a strong position to engage in discussions around future financing of the project, including with prospective strategic and off-take partners.
“We are very pleased with the results of the updated Scoping Study, which reflect the benefits of a 25-year mine life, a refined concentrator flow sheet and PFS-level engineering and metallurgy,” Piedmont Lithium president and CEO Keith D. Phillips said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.
“The economic benefit of developing an integrated lithium chemical business in North Carolina, USA is clear, driven by the exceptional infrastructure and human resource advantages of our location, as well as the competitive royalty and tax regime offered in the United States.
“Recent corporate transactions (i.e. Wesfarmers/Kidman and Albemarle/Wodgina) have reinforced the wisdom of the company’s integrated business strategy.
“We will continue to progress our Mine/Concentrator through the permitting and feasibility processes, but we will now redouble our efforts on the strategic front by accelerating our lithium hydroxide testwork and intensifying the initial strategic discussions we have had with a broad array of potential strategic, offtake and financial partners.”