Galan moves closer to lithium producer as Argentinian pilot delivers premium goods
Link copied to
Galan Lithium is well on its way from explorer to producer, with the successful delivery of a premium quality 6% lithium chloride concentrate product from its Hombre Muerto West (HMW) pilot plant in Argentina.
The 6% lithium chloride concentrate product is equivalent to 13% Li20 or 31.9% LCE, with samples now ready to distribute to potential offtakers.
“This is a wonderful achievement and significant project milestone. To deliver a high quality product from our HMW piloting activities is just reward to the Galan team,” Galan Lithium (ASX:GLN) MD Juan Pablo Vargas de la Vega said.
“It has proven our process model and design theories were correct – it can be done.”
The next stage of the piloting is to achieve continuous production delivering multiple samples at low and medium scale for satisfying any volume required by potential offtakers.
The pilot plant is expected to continue operations during 2023 and 2024 to feed a demonstrative lithium carbonate plant to be installed at the HMW project site in 2024 – as well as providing ongoing data for further optimising the HMW project.
Galan commenced piloting activities in April 2022 by filling the first evaporation pond of the existing pilot plant which was small scale and aimed at proving the process design for the HMW project.
Preparations and engineering design have now commenced for a lithium carbonate pilot plant using lithium chloride produced at HMW, with the company confident of delivering lithium chloride production of 5.4ktpa LCE in 2025 – as outlined in the Phase 1 Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) released earlier this month.
At a capital cost of US$104m (minus contingency) and operational expenses of US$3,963/t of recoverable LCE, Phase 1 will deliver a post-tax NPV of US$460m, IRR of 36% and free cash flow of US$54m per year – and with a payback period of about two years, it will facilitate funding for further expansions.
The DFS also projected a four-phase approach to building out the HMW and Candelas projects to a final output of 60,000ktpa LCE.
The first three phases of production will concentrate on HMW, while Phase 4 will include LCE from Candelas.
The two projects have a combined resource of 7.3Mt at 852mg/l Li – with HMW providing the bulk of this at 6.6Mt LCE at 880m/l Li – giving the company one of the highest-grade, large-scale resources in the brine-rich Argentina.
A larger Phase 2 DFS is expected in August or September this year, which will lay out the runway for Galan to ramp up output to 20,000t of lithium carbonate equivalent a year.
Those sorts of numbers would put Galan in a class alongside peers like Livent’s El Fenix brine and Allkem’s Olaroz project in Argentina’s Lithium Triangle.
The Phase 2 DFS is expected to be released in Q3 2023.
In the meantime, Phase 1 preparation works for lithium chloride production in H1 2025 and camp expansion continue, with 80% of top-soil clearing for main Pond 1 completed.
Further approved early works continue at site and camp, with the Phase 1 full construction permit also expected to be received in Q3 2023.
“As we gear up for Phase 1 construction, I am confident that Galan has put together one of the most experienced lithium brine teams in the business,” Vargas de la Vega said.
This article was developed in collaboration with Galan Lithium, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.