MD Chris Evans told Mining Weekly Online on the sidelines of the Paydirt Africa Downunder conference, in Perth, that in addition to advancing its relationship with China Minmentals, Mali Lithium was also targeting lithium carbonate producers as possible strategic partners.
“We are also looking further upstream to auto manufacturers and battery makers that need to secure lithium supply,” Evans said on Wednesday.
Evans noted that Mali Lithium would consider both company or project-level investments, with the size of the project stake up for offer depending on the size of the investment.
“I think we are willing to look at any deal. It is about creating value for shareholders, so if any particular deal seems to be creating value for shareholders, we will consider it,” he said.
A final investment decision on the Goulamina project is expected at the end of 2020, with project construction expected to take between 18 and 24 months.
An updated prefeasibility study into the Goulamina project estimates that it could produce an average 362 000 t/y of spodumene concentrate, or a total of 5.7-million tonnes of concentrate over an initial mine life of 16 years, based on a two-million-tonne-a-year mineral concentrating plant.
The project is estimated to have a net present value of A$653-million and an internal rate of return of 49.5%, and would require a capital investment of A$196-million.
Evans, meanwhile, said that Mali Lithium would also be investigating the development of downstream processing capacity for the Goulamina project. These studies would not form part of a definitive feasibility study for the project, which is due for completion early next year.