Rock Tech drops lithium refinery plans in new Georgia Lake prefeasibility

Rock Tech Lithium (TSXV: RCK) launched a prefeasibility research for its Georgia Lake lithium venture in northern Ontario displaying decrease useful resource grades and a diminished web current worth, whereas dropping a plan to construct a refinery.

The up to date indicated useful resource involves 10.6 million tonnes grading 0.88% lithium oxide, inferred sources of 4.2 million tonnes grading at 1% lithium oxide, the corporate introduced on Wednesday. The research additionally included a primary possible mineral reserve for Georgia Lake estimated at 7.3 million tonnes grading 0.82% lithium oxide.

That in contrast with a earlier mixed measured and indicated useful resource of 6.6 million tonnes grading 1.16% lithium oxide and an inferred useful resource of 6.7 million tonnes grading 1.16% lithium oxide in a preliminary financial evaluation (PEA) launched final 12 months.

Georgia Lake, deliberate as an open-pit and underground mining venture, is positioned 160 km northeast of Thunder Bay.

The Vancouver-based explorer’s new research projected an after-tax web current worth of US$146 million with a reduction charge of 8% in contrast with US$230 million on the similar low cost charge estimated within the PEA. Nonetheless, the brand new research forecast an after-tax inside charge of return of 36% (primarily based on a spodumene focus value of US$1,500 per tonne) versus 20% within the PEA.

The brand new research supported the development and operation of a 1-million-tonne-per-year concentrator at Georgia Lake. The venture would value US$192.2 million to construct, with sustaining capital prices of US$98.5 million together with closure after a nine-year mine life. The prefeasibility forecast common annual spodumene focus manufacturing of 100,000 tonnes at a value of US$719 per tonne.

However the research didn’t contemplate a 15,000-tonne-per-year converter for refining among the output as had been envisioned within the PEA. As a substitute, the corporate mentioned the output may be refined at its proposed converter in Guben, Germany, at an organization owned and operated converter in North America or by promoting the output to third-party refiners.

“These outcomes help the combination of Georgia Lake with the downstream conversion business, the place now we have been constructing sturdy partnerships and intensive know-how,” Rock Tech chief govt officer Dirk Harbecke mentioned within the launch. “The encouraging outcomes additionally reveal that we’re properly positioned to discover potential fields of collaboration within the North American and European electrical automobile provide chain.”

The corporate intends to proceed with a feasibility research and make a manufacturing choice subsequent 12 months, it mentioned. Final month it agreed to a five-year, $2-billion take care of Mercedes-Benz to produce 10,000 tonnes per 12 months of battery-grade lithium hydroxide from the German plant to the automaker.

The explorer envisions open pit mining for the primary 4 years and underground mining for the ultimate 5 years at a charge of two,800 tonnes per day. The method plant is to incorporate crushing, grinding, density media separation and flotation to supply a mixed 6% lithium oxide.

Estimates between the brand new research and the PEA differ primarily as a result of the converter was omitted from calculations, and there was extra confidence in engineering particulars, decrease mineral sources and better value projections, the corporate mentioned.

Rock Tech is amongst firms within the quickly rising subject of battery metals as world demand for lithium wanted for a transition to scrub power is anticipated to balloon six occasions by 2050 from present quantities, based on U.S. authorities forecasts.

Georgia Lake is on an inventory of some 70 Canadian initiatives that may be eligible for funding not simply from Ottawa’s personal $3.8 billion vital minerals technique introduced in April, but in addition from the U.S. Division of Protection in an allied partnership to thwart Chinese language domination of the market. China controls some 80% of vital minerals output, based on BMO Capital.

Shares in Rock Tech fell 0.7% to commerce at $3 mid-morning in Toronto, valuing the corporate at $254.1 million. The inventory has traded inside a 52-week vary of $2.27 to $7.96.

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