DRA appointed to complete Czech lithium project DFS

Engineering firm DRA Global is aiming to deliver a definitive feasibility study on the proposed US$640 million Cinovec hard-rock lithium project by the end of this year after its appointment by 49% owner, European Metals Holdings (EMH), to run the study.

Czech Government-controlled CEZ sa owns the other 51% of Cinovec, recognised as Europe’s largest lithium deposit with reserves currently put at 34.5 million tonnes grading 0.65% lithium oxide and 0.09% tin. The project is about 100km north-west of Prague in western Czech Republic.

EMH’s January 2022 prefeasibility study update outlined a 2.25Mt per annum underground mine and plant producing an average 22,500tpa of lithium carbonate for at least 20 years.

It said recently its principal hydrometallurgical adviser, Lithium Consultants Australasia, estimated it could cut capital and operating costs of its proposed lithium carbonate plant by 10-20% by simplifying the plant flowsheet.

EMH said the simplified flowsheet precipitated lithium phosphate directly from polished pregnant leach solution (PLS) and then cleaned the lithium phosphate to enable precipitation of a purer crude lithium carbonate. Bicarbonation and re-precipitation then produced a higher-quality end-product because of the cleaner crude lithium carbonate.

EMH said simplification of the central section of the lithium chemical plant flowsheet reduced the number of basic chemical engineering unit processes, after the initial roast/water leach, and also eliminated energy-intensive cooling processes.

Testwork in Australia has reportedly demonstrated overall lithium recoveries of 88-93%.

Australia-based EMH had about A$17.5 million in the bank at the end of 2022. Its ASX market value is about A$134 million.

EMH said DRA, “a recognised leader in the delivery of lithium projects globally”, would build on its 2022 optimisation work.

“We are pleased to have secured a company of DRA’s calibre, with a proven track record of delivering critical pieces of work like the Cinovec DFS in a timely and efficient manner,” EMH executive chairman Keith Coughlan said.

“We will be working closely with DRA over the coming period, and we are excited by the positive outcomes that this DFS will provide.

“It is not expected that this will delay the critical path of the project, as during this time the company will be in the process of finalising permitting, offtake and project finance matters.”


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