Core eyes larger Fin­niss re­source

The Australian Mining Review - - NEWS:NEWS EXPLORERS ON THE MOVE - REUBEN ADAMS

CORE Ex­plo­ration be­lieves fresh high-grade drill re­sults have demon­strated “sig­nif­i­cant po­ten­tial” to grow re­sources at the near-term Fin­niss lithium project in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory.

The emerg­ing lithium de­vel­oper has em­barked on ag­gres­sive drilling this year to grow the Fin­niss re­source base, ahead of a late-2018 De­fin­i­tive Fea­si­bil­ity Study (DFS) and early 2019 Fi­nal In­vest­ment De­ci­sion.

The Pre-Fea­si­bil­ity Study (PFS) con­firmed Stage 1 of the Fin­niss Project, min­ing the high-grade Grants de­posit, would gen­er­ate strong free cash flow; but with a mine life of just 26 months, fur­ther re­sources were re­quired to un­der­pin a po­ten­tial long-life op­er­a­tion.

Lat­est re­sults from the Carl­ton prospect, 1km from Grants, in­cluded 16 me­tres at 1.79 per cent lithium ox­ide (Li2O) from 84m, while re­sults from Hang Gong prospect 1.5km from Grants “high­lights po­ten­tial for shal­low-dip­ping, mul­ti­ple stacked peg­matites” and in­cluded 11m at 1.34 per cent Li2O from 97m.

“These ex­plo­ration re­sults demon­strate the huge po­ten­tial of the Fin­niss lithium project that we are yet to re­alise,” Core man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Stephen Big­gins said.

“The re­main­der of 2018 is shap­ing up to be a very busy one for Core as we con­tinue to progress Grants towards de­vel­op­ment, while con­tin­u­ing drilling to grow the ex­ist­ing re­source base at Grants and BP33, as well as main­tain­ing an ag­gres­sive ex­plo­ration pro­gram to con­tinue to iden­tify prospects such as Carl­ton and Hang Gong.”

The PFS es­ti­mated Stage 1 capex of just $53.5 mil­lion, of which more than $US20 mil­lion was al­ready com­mit­ted by ma­jor lithium off­take part­ner, Yahua Group.

This, com­bined with a non-bind­ing $US35 mil­lion pre-pay­ment fa­cil­ity with Ri­uFu, would fully fund Stage 1, the com­pany said.

The PFS also flagged $346 mil­lion in pre-tax rev­enue to be gen­er­ated over the 26 month pe­riod, at a strong oper­at­ing mar­gin of 57 per cent based on av­er­age life of mine sale price of $US649/t (FOB) (A$865/t at 75 cent ex­change rate) con­cen­trate; and even more if sales prices move closer to cur­rent spot prices.

The com­pany said these strong oper­at­ing mar­gins pro­vided for a rapid pay­back pe­riod of less than 12 months.

The strong free cash gen­er­a­tion from Stage 1 was ex­pected to help Core self-fund fu­ture de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties at Fin­niss, in­clud­ing any fu­ture de­vel­op­ment of the nearby BP33 de­posit, which has po­ten­tial to more than dou­ble the cur­rent mine life.

BP33 will be con­sid­ered as part of the DFS later in 2018.

“These ex­plo­ration re­sults demon­strate the huge po­ten­tial of the Fin­niss Lithium Project that we are yet to re­alise.”

Im­age:CoreEx­plo­ration.

Core man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Stephen Big­gins.

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