CleanTech Lithium to kick off production at second Chile mine in 2027

Francisco Basin asset. (Image courtesy of CleanTech Lithium.)

Chile-focused CleanTech Lithium (AIM: CTL) said on Tuesday that results of a recently completed scoping study of its Francisco Basin project confirmed the asset’s forecast potential and estimated production start in 2027.

The lithium junior said the project, located close to its Laguna Verde asset, is slated to produce 20,000 tonnes of battery-grade lithium carbonate annually for 12 years, utilizing direct lithium extraction (DLE) technology.

Net cashflow after tax and royalties is estimated at $2.5 billion over the full production period, with operating costs of $3,641 per tonne of lithium carbonate and capital expenditure of $450 million.

The scoping study supports the potential for Francisco Basin to become a major supplier of battery grade lithium to the European and US markets, CleanTech said.

The next step will be a resource drill program starting in the final quarter of the year, with the intention of upgrading the resource estimate, which could extend the project’s lifespan, the company said.

“Francisco Basin is our second project which is being developed on a schedule one year behind our more advanced Laguna Verde project,” chief executive Aldo Boitano said in the statement. “Combining the two scoping studies means we have a total net present value of nearly $3 billion and an internal rate of return of more than 43% for each project.”

Laguna Verde and Francisco Basin are CleanTech Lithium’s flagship projects. The company also owns the Llamara greenfield project, located about 600km to the north of Laguna and Francisco. This asset is in the Pampa del Tamarugal basin, which is one of the largest basins in the famed lithium triangle.

Chile is the world’s top copper producer and the second-largest producer of lithium. Both metals are considered vital commodities for the global transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies.

Global demand for lithium, according to the country’s government projections, will quadruple by 2030, reaching 1.8 million tonnes. Available supply by then is expected to sit at 1.5 million tonnes.