Advantage Lithium Corp.'s preliminary economic assessment for lithium carbonate production from a stand-alone plant at its 75%-owned Cauchari joint venture project in Argentina pegged a posttax net present value of US$827 million, discounted at 8%, and a 24.3% internal rate of return.
The project's stand-alone plant will have the capacity to produce 20,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate per annum. Cauchari is estimated to have a 25-year mine life, including a three-year ramp-up to full capacity.
Preproduction CapEx was estimated at US$401 million, with a payback of three years and four months from the start of production and five years and 11 months from the start of construction.
Operating expenditures are expected at US$3,667 per tonne of lithium carbonate, according to the company's Aug. 14 release.
The study is based on a recently updated resource estimate comprising inferred resources of 3 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent in about 1.2 cubic kilometers of brine grading 450 milligrams per liter of lithium and 4,028 mg/L of potassium, with 9.5 million tonnes of potassium chloride.
A definitive feasibility study is expected to start in August and finish early in the second quarter of 2019. Production from the project is planned to start in 2021.
Orocobre Ltd. owns a 21.25% stake in the joint venture.