- Global lithium exploration and development company Lepidico (LPD) is a step closer to developing its vertically integrated phase one lithium carbonate project after completing a definitive feasibility study (DFS)
- The arrangement would see ore mined and concentrated at Karibib in Namibia before being shipped to a conversion plant in Abu Dhabi
- The proposed conversion plant in the Khalifa Industrial Zone will use the L-Max process, patented by Lepidico’s subsidiary Li-Technology
- The DFS estimated the plant could produce 7000 tonnes per annum of lithium carbonate equivalent over 14 years
- This is estimated to return a net present value (NPV) at an eight per cent discount rate of $340 million and an internal rate of return (IRR) of 31 per cent ungeared
- Importantly, valuable by-products would be produced, including critical minerals rubidium and caesium, and would generate 38 per cent of revenue
- Lepidico shares are trading 28.6 per cent higher for 0.9 cents each
Lepidico (LPD) has completed the definitive feasibility study for its vertically integrated lithium carbonate phase one project.
The global lithium exploration and development company is looking to develop an integrated project comprising the Karibib mine and mineral concentrator in Namibia and a lithium chemical plant in Abu Dhabi.
The proposed plant in the Khalifa Industrial Zone will use the L-Max process, the patent for which is 100 per cent owned by Lepidico’s subsidiary Li-Technology.
The DFS evaluated the plant could produce 4900 tonnes per annum (tpa) of battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate and other valuable by-products or 7000 tpa of lithium carbonate equivalent over 14 years. This could be achieved at an all-in sustaining cost of US$3,221 (roughly A$4,876) per tonne, after credits from other products.
This is estimated to return a net present value (NPV) at an eight per cent discount rate of $340 million and an internal rate of return (IRR) of 31 per cent ungeared.
Total development capital for the integrated project comes to US$139 million (about A$210 million) which would be split 30/70 across the Namibian and Abu Dhabi operations respectively.
By-products caesium, rubidium, sulphate of potash and amorphous silica would represent 38 per cent of the total revenue are a strategically significant having been included on the U.S. government’s list of critical minerals.
The DFS is based on the ore reserve for Karibib, which is understood to be the only JORC compliant estimate for both rubidium and caesium. Karibib is permitted for the re-development of two open-pit mines.
Managing Director Joe Walsh said the DFS is a major milestone for the company and represents the culmination of six years of work.
“Lepidico’s phase one project represents a unique development opportunity for the production of four valuable alkali metal streams, lithium, caesium, rubidium and potassium. This is enabled by the company’s proprietary process technology, L-Max, coupled with lepidolite as the mineral feed source,” Joe started.
“LOH-Max further differentiates phase one from other lithium projects by providing a single process step solution for the production of lithium hydroxide without the costly and potentially problematic production of sodium sulphate,” he expanded.
“The vertically integrated Phase 1 Project has been demonstrated by the Feasibility Study to be robust technically, economically and from a sustainability perspective, with the focus now on banking the study to transition the business into development and on into production,” Joe continued.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lepidico has indicated it may take longer than expected to secure binding offtake agreements and permitting in Abu Dhabi but anticipates these and full project funding will be secured in the June 2021 quarter.
Lepidico shares are trading 28.6 per cent higher for 0.9 cents each at 11:43 am EST.