Greenfields Lithium Investment Australia
Sub-contracted to the lead project engineer for completion of the geology, mining and logistics components of the overall scoping study on a proposed spodumene investment.
Palaris were engaged as part of the overall scoping study team to complete three aspects of the study; geology, mining and logistics.
For the geology component the scope of work was to assess the existing and historical exploration data for the asset and complete a basic model of the potential size, grade and orientation of the deposit. From the geological interpretation, geotechnical information was reviewed to provide conceptual input into open pit mining scenario. For the mining scenario conceptual capital and operating costs were determined for input into the overall project financial model.
Additional commentary on the generic mining operating and cost variance based on changing waste to ore rations and ore body geometry was added to provide guidance in preliminary evaluation of alternate lithium ore sources.
During the assignment the Client determined that studies for the project logistics were required to assess the viability of rail versus road to regional ports for the lithium concentrate exports. Palaris were engaged to undertake the trade-off studies for rail to regional ports including train loading options at the proposed mine site.
Palaris completed ground up geological modelling of the individual host pegmatites in 3D using a combination of the available drilling, mapping and geophysics historical information to produce a basic deposit model. With limited existing information on modifying factors for mine design, conceptual design parameters were benchmarked from similar deposits being mined in the region. Costs for the mining were also benchmarked from relevant scale contract operations. Sensitivity analysis in costs was then provided for variations in key geological and mine design assumptions.
Palaris used in own in-house team for the logistics review, with team members having development and operation backgrounds across the logistics supply chain. To quickly limit the options, the potential ports were assessed first to determine without further significant investment, what type of train combinations could be accommodated for unloading. This refined the review to bulk only for one port and container to another. Palaris worked with the below and above track owners and operators to refine the optimal solutions to each, with Palaris providing the conceptual loading solutions at the mine. finally, a series of port storage and ship loading options were evaluated. These rail scenarios were then assessed against road options, providing a solution priority matrix for the asset with capital and operating cost estimates for each.
The Client of the scoping study, an end user of lithium concentrate, used the study as the basis of its investment decision concluding additional deposits were required to meet its future demand.