Cornish Lithium received funding from Innovate UK’s Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) and the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) through their ‘moving the UK automotive sector to zero emissions’ competition, to produce an all encompassing Scoping Study for the Trelavour Hard Rock Project.
The Scoping Study was carried out by a team of internationally recognised experts and consultants in the mining industry, directed, co-ordinated and managed by Cornish Lithium’s in-house hard rock technical team.
The Trelavour Scoping Study, sets out the design and economics of the Trelavour Project based upon the production of battery grade lithium hydroxide. The Trelavour Project comprises open pit mining of lithium enriched granite from a brownfield china clay pit, together with processing via comminution and flotation to a concentrate of lithium-bearing mica. Lithium hydroxide is then produced from the mica concentrate utilising the licensed Lepidico leaching process at an industrial site in close proximity to the mine.
The Trelavour Scoping Study covered the following key topics:
- Property description and location
- Geology and mineralisation
- Mining and resources, with a JORC compliant inferred mineral resource estimate
- Mineral processing, metallurgical testing and recovery methods
- Project infrastructure
- Waste management
- Environmental studies, permitting and social or community support
- Project execution
- Capital and operating costs
- Interpretation and conclusions
- Conclusions, risks, opportunities
- Recommendation to proceed to a full Feasibility Study for the Trelavour Project
Highlights from the results of the Scoping Study include:
- 1.25 million tonnes per annum (“Mtpa”) run of mine, with a 20-year mine life producing an average of 7,800 tpa of lithium hydroxide;
- Robust economic result:
o Post-tax NPV (8%) of US$318.6 million and a post-tax IRR of 24.4%
o Initial capital expenditure of US$243.8 million (including US$48.9m of contingency)
o Payback expected within 3.8 years from first production
- The Trelavour Project benefits from excellent logistics and close proximity to existing infrastructure, including power, rail, road and port facilities.
There are also areas for potential economic improvement from these base case values. One important example is that whilst the Scoping Study includes the required capital expenditure to produce a number of by-products such as caesium and rubidium, the study has not yet taken account of the additional revenue that could be generated from the sale of these by-products. Cornish Lithium is currently completing processing test work that will provide representative samples and specification of these by-products, allowing their potential value to be estimated. It is expected that the results of this work will be announced by the end of Q3 2022.
Following their review of the Scoping Study, Cornish Lithium’s major institutional shareholder, TechMet, a leading technology metals investment company, exercised its option to invest a further £9 million at 20 pence per share.
The Option is the second tranche of an £18 million funding package provided by TechMet, which was announced by Cornish Lithium in November 2021. The Option became exercisable following the Company’s delivery of the Scoping Study for the Trelavour Hard Rock Lithium Project to TechMet for its review.