Bacanora to complete Sonora lithium project feasibility study this year

Lithium exploration and development company Bacanora Minerals (TSX-V, LON:BCN) said Thursday it expects the feasibility study at its Sonora lithium project in Mexico to be completed by the end of the year.

Final study is focused on a two-phase open pit mine and lithium carbonate processing facility with a life of over 20 years.

Finalizing the report would be the fourth major milestone achieved by the company in just two years. In 2015, the firm and its joint-venture partner Rare Earth Minerals (LON:REM) signed a conditional agreement with Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) to supply the electric cars and energy storage products company with lithium hydroxide from the Sonora project. In May last year, the company secured a $11 million investment from Blackrock, and this April, it  inked a long-term supply deal with Japan’s Hanwa Corporation that will see the Tokyo-based trader acquire up to 100% of the output coming from Sonora.

A Pre-Feasibility Study completed in early 2016 established Probable Mineral Reserve for the Sonora project of 2.1 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent.

The definitive feasibility study focuses on a two-phase open pit mine and lithium carbonate processing facility with a life of over 20 years.

Phase one will see Bacanora process 17,500 tonnes per year of battery-grade lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) for the first two years. It will then ramp up to phase two where it will process 35,000 tonnes of Li2CO3 each year.

According to the company, while expenditure at Sonora may be higher than brine deposits in Chile, the length of time to produce lithium carbonate should be considerably shorter and Sonora's operating expenditure is expected to be higher than brine deposits in Chile, the length of time to produce lithium carbonate and the operating costs should be considerably shorter.