Advantage Lithium Corp.'s pre-feasibility study for its Cauchari joint venture lithium project in Argentina estimated an after-tax net present value, discounted at 8%, of US$671 million and a 20.9% internal rate of return, according to an Oct. 22 release.
The study is based on production of battery-grade lithium carbonate from a stand-alone plant with a nameplate capacity of 25,000 tonnes per annum.
Initial capital expenditure is estimated at US$446 million, including a 20% contingency, with cash operating costs of US$3,560 per tonne of lithium carbonate. The payback period is estimated at four years and 10 months.
The project will require additional capex totaling US$157.5 million for expanding the well field production from the initial northwest sector into the southeast sector. The deferred capex is planned for years five and nine.
Sustaining capex is estimated at US$2.7 million per year, and a peak working capex is estimated at US$33.5 million.
The project is expected to produce 660,500 tonnes of battery-grade lithium carbonate over a 30-year life, based on reserves as of Sept. 15, which totaled 392 million cubic meters of brine in the proven and probable category grading 480 milligrams per liter containing 191,000 tonnes of lithium metal, or 1.02 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent.
Advantage Lithium owns a 75% interest in the joint venture, and Orocobre Ltd. holds 21.25%.