A pre-feasibility study improved the overall economics of Neo Lithium Corp.'s Tres Quebradas lithium brine project in Argentina compared to a 2017 preliminary economic assessment.
Neo Lithium said March 21 that the latest study achieved a similar net present value on a lower initial capital expenditure, making the project easier to finance and allowing the company to consider a potential expansion.
The latest study estimated a posttax net present value, at an 8% discount rate, of US$1.14 billion, with a 49.9% internal rate of return. Meanwhile, the 2017 study outlined a posttax net present value of US$1.2 billion, at the same discount rate, with a 27.9% internal rate of return.
Initial capex is now pegged at US$318.9 million, with a payback of one year and eight months from the start of production. The previous study defined an initial capex of US$490.2 million and a two-year payback period.
The mine life was also extended to 35 years with average production of 20,000 tonnes per year of lithium carbonate, compared to the initial 20-year mine life and average output of 35,000 t/y.
Cash operating costs are now estimated at US$2,914/t of lithium carbonate, compared to US$2,791/t previously.
The company expects to complete a full feasibility study in the first half of 2020.