Altura Mining reveals ‘robust economics’ for doubling production at Altura lithium project

Altura Mining ASX AJM lithium mine floatation circuit ball mill
Altura Mining's floatation circuit and ball mill at its lithium mine.

Emerging lithium producer, Altura Mining (ASX: AJM) has revealed “robust economics” for its definitive feasibility study into doubling production at the company’s namesake Altura lithium project in Western Australia’s Pilbara.

The stage two definitive feasibility study has shown doubling production would add “significant project value over a short period of time”.

Under the stage two study, production of 440,000 tonnes per annum of 6% lithium concentrate has been projected after a capital expenditure of A$118 million.

Total revenue of A$4.377 billion is anticipated with a 2.3-year project payback period and life of mine earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortisation of A$2.473 billion.

The stage two definitive feasibility study has incorporated recent increases in Altura’s mineral resource and ore reserve estimates, which have grown since the original definitive feasibility study was finished 18 months ago.

The updated measured and indicated resource for Altura is 44 million tonnes grading 1% lithium for 441,000t of contained lithium. Total reserves sit at 34.2mt grading 1.04% lithium for 356,600t of the mineral.

“The swift completion of the stage two definitive feasibility study has provided excellent outcomes and provides the platform to move Altura into a strong global supply position,” Altura managing director James Brown said.

“The definitive feasibility study team has been able to utilise the knowledge from stage one and effectively provide opportunities to capitalize on that experience,” he said.

Commissioning underway

Stage one commissioning is underway at Altura, with anticipated production of 220,000tpa of 6% lithium concentrate to generate about 30,000tpa of lithium carbonate equivalent.

First concentrate sales of Altura ore are expected to occur by the end of the current quarter.

A life of mine net revenue of A$1.56 billion was predicted under stage one, which equated to A$73.9 million per annum over 11 years.

The Altura project covers about 394 hectares within the Pilbara’s known Pilgangoora district.

As stage one ramps up, Mr Brown said the company would look at making a formal investment decision to begin stage two development to reach nameplate production of 440,000tpa in early 2020.

By mid-morning trade, Altura’s stock price had lifted 0.53% to A$0.377.

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