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Atlantic Lithium hits multiple milestones at Ewoyaa in 2H23, targets construction for 4Q24

10:56, 15th March 2024
Victor Parker
Vox Newswire
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Atlantic Lithium (ALLFollow | ALL, an Africa-focused lithium explorer, announced its unaudited interim results for the six months ended December 31, 2023.

The highlight of the half-year for Atlantic was the granting of a mining lease for its flagship Ewoyaa lithium project in Ghana, a major milestone in the advancement of the project toward production. The grant made Atlantic the first company to be given permission to mine lithium in the country. Atlantic was subsequently granted the undrilled Bewadze and Senya Beraku licences in the eastern portion of its Cape Coast lithium portfolio in Ghana, estimated to be highly prospective.

During the period, Atlantic completed a flotation scoping study at Ewoyaa, confirming the viability of a flotation circuit to run independently from the Dense Media Separation-only (DMS) processing plant. Other notable developments at Ewoyaa include the receipt of an EPA authorisation to divert transmission lines currently traversing planned mining areas, and the award of a bulk customer permit for electricity requirements, expected to result in 30-50% power savings.

In terms of exploration, Atlantic saw positive drill results from its ongoing 2023/24 work programme. Drilling outside the current Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) returned multiple broad intervals of visible spodumene and the longest continuous pegmatite interval of 106m. Post-period, drilling returned 83m at 1% Li2O from 36m and 47m at 1.05% Li2O from 87m within the same area.

Additionally, a maiden JORC compliant feldspar mineral resource estimate (MRE) was reported for Ewoyaa of 15.7Mt at 40.2% feldspar, including 13.7Mt (87%) in the Measured and Indicated categories. Feldspar is a by-product of spodumene production that Atlantic aims to supply to the Ghanaian ceramics market, potentially enhancing the value of the project.

The drilling programme at Ewoyaa has been continuously extended from the initially planned 18,500m to 26,500m, and post-period by a further 3,000m of sterilisation drilling over the proposed processing plant area to support construction, bringing the total programme to 29,500m.

 

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The historic grant of a mining lease for Ewoyaa represents a major milestone and endorsement from the government of Ghana, significantly advancing the project toward production. The agreed terms position Ewoyaa as one of the lowest capex and opex hard rock lithium projects globally, with strong commercial metrics and profitability potential for a 2.7Mtpa operation, producing a total of 3.6Mt of spodumene concentrate (approx. 350,000tpa) over a 12-year mine life (LOM).

The project's updated definitive feasibility study determined a post-tax NPV8 of US$1.3bn, with free cash flow of US$2.1bn from LOM revenues of US$6.6bn and average LOM EBITDA of US$280m per year. C1 cash operating costs were estimated at US$377/t of concentrate Free-On-Board Ghana Port, after by-product credits, with an AISC of US$675/t.

Upcoming key milestones include EPA approval, parliamentary ratification of the mining lease, and the grant of a mine operating permit. Overall, the permitting process is advancing rapidly and these milestones are expected to be passed without delays. Atlantic expects to break ground at Ewoyaa in Q4 2024.

Ewoyaa's development cost is estimated at US$185m. Atlantic's main partner on the project is US-based Piedmont Lithium who has committed US$70m and 50% thereafter of the total capex. Additionally, Ghana's Mineral Income Investment Fund has agreed to invest US$32.9m (US$5m already invested). Atlantic is also advancing an offtake partnering process due to complete in Q1 2024. As it stands, once in production Atlantic will own 40.5% of Ewoyaa, Piedmont will own an equal 40.5%, Ghana's Mineral Income Investment Fund will own 6%, and the government of Ghana will own 13%.

Overall, Ewoyaa boasts very strong underlying fundamentals, including proximity to existing infrastructure, potential for resource growth as indicated by recent drilling outside the current MRE, and impressive economic outputs as indicated by the DFS. The abovementioned feldspar maiden MRE and results of the flotation scoping study represent potential for further upside. Following December's £4.2m fundraise, and with a robust cash position of £7.5m, Atlantic is funded to cover its share of development costs for the project.

Encouraging drill results continue to come in, increasing confidence in an upcoming upgrade to the current 35Mt resource, expected in Q3 2024. Commencement of construction is targeted for late 2024 and initial production for early 2025. Simultaneously, further targets are being identified in the newly secured Bewadze and Senya Beraku licences.

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