CleanTech Lithium PLC, (AIM:CTL, Frankfurt:T2N, OTCQX:CTLHF), an exploration and development company, advancing sustainable lithium projects in Chile for the clean energy transition, announces the results of a recently completed Scoping Study for the Francisco Basin Project, which confirms the project’s outstanding economics, potential for future resource expansion and strong ESG credentials.
- Supports the potential for Francisco Basin to become a major supplier of battery grade lithium to European and US markets based on sustainable direct lithium extraction (“DLE”) technology
Scoping Study Highlights:
- Based on annual production of 20,000 tonnes of battery grade lithium carbonate for a production period of 12 years based largely on Indicated resources
- Calculates accumulated net cashflows (post-tax and royalties) of US$2.5 billion to be generated over the production period with low operating cost of US$3,641 per tonne of lithium carbonate
- Estimated capital expenditure of US$450.0m, based on DLE plant using Sunresin Materials existing DLE technology, including 20% contingency
- Attractive economics with post-tax NPV of US$1.1 billion using a discount rate of 8%, post-tax IRR of 43.5% and a payback period of 2 years and 7 months – based on a long-term lithium carbonate price of US$22,500 per tonne from 2028 (Note: see below for sensitivity analysis including the NPV at a 10% discount rate)
- The study assumes production commences in 2027 as the Company aims to progress project development stages with a one-year lag to the more advanced Laguna Verde project, where production is targeted for 2026
- Industry leading ESG credentials, a critical advantage for the EU market, based on utilising DLE which returns spent brine to the basin aquifers, and renewable energy for processing power by connecting with the Chilean grid and its abundant renewable energy supply
- The Company plans to undertake another resource drill programme at Francisco Basin, commencing Q4 2023, aiming to further upgrade the current resource estimate, which is 0.92 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) at a grade of 207mg/L Lithium
- This could extend the 12-year production period and would enhance projected economic returns
- A Pre-Feasibility Study (“PFS”) on the project is planned to commence on the completion of the resource drill programme, which is expected to be in 2H 2024
Commenting, Aldo Boitano, Chief Executive Officer, of CleanTech Lithium PLC, said:
“The Scoping Study provides added confidence in the robust economics of our second project, Francisco Basin, based on low operating and capital costs, with a post-tax NPV of US$1.1 billion and IRR of 43.5%, and a payback period of 2 years and 7 months. The study further advances the process and technical design concept for the project, with strong ESG principles incorporated at each stage.
“The next step at the project is to complete further resource drilling with the aim to expand and upgrade the current JORC resource estimate of 0.92 million tonnes LCE; an increase in the resource provides the potential to extend the production period of 12 years assumed in the study. DLE test-work on Francisco Basin brine is ongoing and important technical data will be generated when trials start at our pilot plant, which is currently being assembled at our facility in Copiapó. The Company plans to proceed to a Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) for the project on completion of the planned resource drill programme, which is expected to be in 2H 2024.
“Francisco Basin is our second project which is being developed on a schedule one year behind our more advanced Laguna Verde project. Combining the two scoping studies means we have a total NPV of nearly $3 billion and an IRR of more than 43% for each project.
“This Scoping Study marks a major milestone for the Company and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Scoping Study consultant, Chilean based lithium sector experts Ad-Infinitum, as well as our technical team for their hard work in completing the study. The Scoping Study outlines a plan to produce battery-grade lithium with a low environmental footprint, which positions the Company extremely well to supply the EU and US markets.”
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