The recent release of EMP Metal’s Viewfield lithium brine project’s Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) has reverberated across the mining industry, sending seismic waves through the market. The PEA revealed a post-tax Net Present Value (NPV) of a staggering $1 billion, while also disclosing a pre-tax internal rate of return (IRR) of 55% and a pre-tax NPV of $1.49 billion at an 8% discount rate. The capital cost of the project stands at $571 million, with an additional $52 million contingency, and a promise of repaying the investment over 2.1 years.
CEO Rob Gamley expressed his elation, declaring the company’s deep satisfaction with the PEA results. “With payback in approximately two years, a 23-year project life and a pre-tax IRR of 55%, our Viewfield project is clearly a world-class lithium asset,” remarked Gamley, exuding confidence in the astounding success of the endeavor.
One of the most notable features of the analysis is the segmentation of the development process into three distinct elements. The first involves drilling the production and disposal wells along with laying the pipelines. The second revolves around setting up the infrastructure necessary for pre-filtration while also incorporating the Koch direct lithium extraction solution. Last but not least, the third element is dedicated to establishing the infrastructure for concentration, refining, and conversion of lithium chloride eluent into battery-grade LCE, all accomplished using Saltworks Technologies’ revolutionary technology. Moreover, the PEA has estimated a recovery factor of 50% total lithium in place.
The project boasts seven target zones at Valleyfield, exhibiting varying concentrations from 84 mg/L to 259 mg/L. Initial production will center on the Wymark C, D, and E zones for the first seven years, owing to their proximity and high concentration levels. This phase is estimated to yield a remarkable 18,850 tonnes of LCE annually. Subsequently, production will shift to the Wymark A, B, and Saskatoon A and B targets, commencing from the eighth year, albeit with slightly lower lithium chloride concentrations. The average annual output during this phase is projected to be 10,200 tonnes LCE.
As for the base case used in the PEA, it assumes an after-tax NPV at 8% of $1.01 billion and an IRR of 45%. The projected operating costs are anticipated to hover around $40.4 million, approximately averaging to $3,319 per tonne of LCE.