Cadence Minerals (AIM/NEX: KDNC; OTC: KDNCY) is pleased to note the update published today by Bacanora Lithium (AIM:BCN) (“Bacanora”) on its activities at the Sonora Lithium Project in Mexico (‘Sonora’ or the ‘Project’) following the recent completion of the Strategic Investment by leading global lithium company Ganfeng Lithium Co., Ltd. (‘Ganfeng’).
Cadence Minerals – Holdings in BCN, Mexalit and Megalit:
Bacanora is a lithium exploration and development company. Cadence holds 30% of Mexalit and Megalit joint venture companies. Mexalit is the owner of the El Sauz, El Sauz 1, El Sauz 2, Fleur and Fleur 1 mineral concessions, which forms part of the 20-year mine plan of the Sonora Lithium Project in Northern Mexico.
Ganfeng Review and Process Testwork
The Bacanora project team in Mexico continues to progress the final design work for the mine site, infrastructure, concentrator and kiln sections of the processing plant. Representative samples have been sent to Ganfeng in China. Ganfeng’s technical review of the hydrometallurgical circuit has commenced with a view to potentially sourcing key sections of the lithium production equipment from their current equipment suppliers in China. This work is expected to be completed in H1 2020. As part of this technical review, both Bacanora and Ganfeng continue to develop testwork programmes for the potential production of other downstream high value lithium products in addition to the battery-grade lithium carbonate used in the Company’s feasibility study. The results of this work will be reviewed over the next few months.
The feasibility study indicated highly favourable economic indicators for a battery grade lithium carbonate operation at Sonora, including US$1.25 billion NPV, 26% IRR and operating costs among the lowest in the industry at around US$4,000/t of lithium carbonate (see announcement of 13 December 2017 for further details).
Once Ganfeng completes its review, Bacanora will deliver final engineering costs for Stage 1 of the Project, following which Bacanora will look to finalise the funding package for the Project. At this stage, the Company believes that the engineering costs will remain in line with the 2018 Feasibility Study forecast of approximately US$420 million.
The recent 29.99% equity investment by Ganfeng Lithium and their 22.5% investment at the project level, in combination with a combined 100% off-take held by Ganfeng and Hanwa Corporation (‘Hanwa’) for Stage 1 production of 17,500 tonnes per annum of lithium products at the Project demonstrates the strong support that both these cornerstone investors have shown in Sonora. Combined, Ganfeng and Hanwa have a see-through ownership of more than 50% of Sonora. In the last 18 months, Bacanora has already secured a US$150 million debt facility with RK Mine Finance and continues to explore additional sources of project funding. The 22.5% project investment and 29.99% equity investment from Ganfeng, in addition to ongoing support from Bacanora’s other shareholders and off-takers, ensures a very solid position for finalising the project funding stage of the Sonora development.
Bacanora had US$40 million of cash at the end of October 2019, which will enable it to commence the bulk earthworks on site in H1 2020 and start to upgrade the primary access road to site. Bacanora will also be able to use part of these funds to place the initial orders for some of the longest lead-time items in the concentrator, pyrometallurgy and hydrometallurgy sections of the lithium plant.
General Market Conditions
There have been a number of media reports over the past few months highlighting the impact of an over-supply of lower grade bulk spodumene concentrates from Australia into the Asian lithium converter markets. Recently a number of these projects have been delayed, closed, reported decreased production or put on care and maintenance. With the majority of these concentrate operations being at the higher cost level, this supports the Bacanora strategy of developing a fully integrated lithium project that produces a final battery grade lithium product at much lower costs rather than an intermediate concentrate.
Bacanora CEO Peter Secker said: “Recent research reports predict the lithium industry would need US$30 billion in investment in upstream capacity to meet its forecast of 1 million tonnes of supply by 2025 (a threefold increase on current levels). In order to secure funding, any new lithium project needs to be low on the operational cost-curve, without having to rely on by-product credits to artificially lower that cost per tonne. A project also needs to have reliable engineering cost estimates. A project needs to be of sufficient scale, in a location with a favourable environmental and political climate and deliver a high-grade end product. The Sonora Lithium Project is one of the very few projects globally that can deliver on all of these factors.”
The full release can be found at: https://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/news/market-news/market-news-detail/BCN/14301803.html
This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of EU Regulation 596/2014.
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Kiran Morzaria B.Eng. (ACSM), MBA, has reviewed and approved the information contained in this announcement. Kiran holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Industrial Geology) from the Camborne School of Mines and an MBA (Finance) from CASS Business School.
Certain statements in this announcement are or may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are identiﬁed by their use of terms and phrases such as ”believe” ”could” “should” ”envisage” ”estimate” ”intend” ”may” ”plan” ”will” or the negative of those variations or comparable expressions including references to assumptions. These forward-looking statements are not based on historical facts but rather on the Directors’ current expectations and assumptions regarding the Company’s future growth results of operations performance future capital and other expenditures (including the amount. nature and sources of funding thereof) competitive advantages business prospects and opportunities. Such forward-looking statements reﬂect the Directors’ current beliefs and assumptions and are based on information currently available to the Directors. Many factors could cause actual results to differ materially from the results discussed in the forward-looking statements including risks associated with vulnerability to general economic and business conditions competition environmental and other regulatory changes actions by governmental authorities the availability of capital markets reliance on key personnel uninsured and underinsured losses and other factors many of which are beyond the control of the Company. Although any forward-looking statements contained in this announcement are based upon what the Directors believe to be reasonable assumptions. The Company cannot assure investors that actual results will be consistent with such forward-looking statements.