A preliminary economic assessment for Lithium Power International Ltd.'s Maricunga lithium brine project in northern Chile pegged a post-tax net present value, discounted at 8%, of US$731 million, a 20.4% internal rate of return, and a 3.25-year payback period.
The study estimated annual production of 20,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate and 74,000 tonnes of potassium chloride for 20 years, according to the Dec. 19 release.
The direct costs for project development were estimated at US$389.4 million. Indirect costs were estimated at US$55.2 million, and contingency at US$82.7 million.
Operating costs are estimated at US$2,938 per tonne for lithium carbonate, and US$145 per tonne for potassium chloride.
A definitive feasibility study over the project is expected to be completed in the second half of 2018.
The company owns a 50% interest in the project, with 32.30% held by the Maricunga joint venture company Minera Salar Blanco SpA and 17.70% by Bearing Lithium Corp.