Two of the world’s most promising undeveloped lithium projects are ending 2019 in good shape to realise their potential in the early 2020s.
European Lithium, which is developing Europe’s largest lithium project at Wolfsberg in Austria, has had its 11 mining licences and 54 exploration licences extended to the end of 2021 by the Austrian mining authority.
The company has also arranged a €7.5mn ($8.3mn) debt facility to replace an existing facility, enabling it to complete a definitive feasibility study. A pre-feasibility study has already indicated that the project can use its 7.4mn t ore reserve to produce around 55,400 t/yr of lithium concentrate, which can be converted to 8,400 t/yr of lithium hydroxide monohydrate at a nearby metallurgical plant.
European Lithium is part of a syndicate that has applied to the German government to access funds from a €1bn grant aimed at developing Europe’s electric vehicle industry. The company aims to have the Wolfsberg project in production by the end of 2021.
Prospect Resources has concluded a share placement to raising working capital for its Arcadia lithium project in Zimbabwe while a potential investor and offtake partner completes due diligence and a financier considers the granting of a debt facility.
A definitive feasibility study indicates that Arcadia, Africa’s most advanced lithium project, can produce 173,000 t/yr of spodumene concentrate, 122,000 t/yr of petalite concentrate aimed at the glass and ceramics industries, and 173,000 lbs/yr of tantalum concentrate.
Uranium One, a subsidiary of Russian state-owned nuclear firm Rosatom, is considering gaining access to at least 51pc of Arcadia’s future lithium production. The African Export-Import Bank is mulling a $143mn funding facility for the project, which is targeting initial production at the end of 2020.