Australia-based Core Lithium has awarded preferred contractor status for three key components of its 100%-owned Finniss lithium project, near Darwin in the Northern Territory.
The three contractors are key participants in the development team Core is assembling following the granting of the first mining licence earlier this month, it said.
Primero Group has been named the preferred engineering procurement and construction (EPC), and front-end engineering and design (FEED) contractor. Primero has worked on several Australia hard-rock lithium projects including Pilbara Minerals’ Pilgangoora operation and Tawana/Alliance’s Bald Hill mine.
Meanwhile, Qube Bulk Pty has received the status of preferred provider of haulage and transport solutions for Finniss, with Lucas Total Contract Solutions selected as preferred mining services contractor.
Core said it would work with all three companies to finalise contract terms that “reflect the most cost-effective and time-efficient solution for Finniss”.
The FEED study by Primero is underway to improve the accuracy of the EPC estimate on the 1 Mt/y processing plant and associated infrastructure at Finniss, the company said.
In line with its construction schedule, Core is targeting first production of spodumene concentrate from Finniss by the end of 2019.
Core’s Managing Director, Stephen Biggins, said: “These key contract roles are crucial for the success of the Finniss lithium project, so we did not make our decisions on who should be awarded these packages of work lightly. We believe we have selected the best contractors for the respective contracts out a field of worthy contractors, and look forward to working with Primero, Lucas TCS and Qube once the contracts have been finalised and the next phases of work at Finniss get underway.”
He added that final award of the contracts would follow the completion and release of a definitive feasibility study on Finniss, in addition to financing of the project.
Core’s development of Finniss is initially centred on production from the high-grade Grants deposit as an open-pit mining operation and construction of a 1 Mt/y dense media separation process plant to produce a 5% Li2O spodumene concentrate for export.
The prefeasibility study on the project envisaged a total capex of A$53.55 million ($38 million) and A$168 million (pre-tax) in free cash generation over a period of 26 months based on a price of $649/t for its concentrate.