Kidman, SQM hit milestone at $849m Mt Holland project

The Mt Holland site. Image: Kidman Resources.

Kidman Resources expects the in-development Mt Holland lithium project in Western Australia to create 300 full time operational jobs and supply up to $1.7 billion in royalties to the Western Australian Government.

The Covalent Lithium joint venture project between Kidman Resources and Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A. (SQM) will mine the Earl Grey hard rock lithium deposit around 110km southeast of Southern Cross in the Goldfields region. The ore mined will then be processed at a refinery near Kwinana.

The PFS results have also been released for the Kwinana lithium refinery, with an updated scoping study related to Mt Holland’s proposed mine and concentrator.

Kidman has projected a total capital cost of $US601 million ($849 million) for the project. The project also boasts solid economics with an annual average production of 45,254 tonnes of lithium hydroxide — 40,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) — from Mt Holland at a cost of $US4487 ($6336) per tonne.

The company has also reported a total project revenue of $US33.5 billion and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of $US22 billion over a 47-year mine life, equivalent to $US713 million and $US467 million a year, respectively.

The project is expected to create 700 full-time jobs (400 at the refinery) during construction and 300 (150 at the refinery) during operations.

“These studies mark an important milestone in our project to deliver a long-life, vertically-integrated lithium mine-to-refinery operation in Western Australia,” Kidman chief executive officer and managing director Martin Donohue said.

“Covalent Lithium will be a producer of premium refined battery-grade lithium, which will be a competitive advantage for Kidman’s marketing activities both now and into the future.

“We are pleased with the findings of these studies including the attractive economics, the clear potential to further optimise the cost structure and the opportunities for local job creation.”

A final investment decision on the project is expected to take place in the first half of 2019.

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