ASX-listed Liontown Resources has awarded privately-owned Byrnecut a circa-A$1 billion, four-year underground mining contract as it moves toward production at its $470 million Kathleen Valley lithium project next year.
Liontown said the “tier-one mining contractor”, based in Western Australia, won a competitive tender process started in March this year. Its “demonstrable record and capability across the entire underground value chain, from mine start to full and ongoing production and at a size and scale required at Kathleen Valley, was critical to its success in the tender process”.
Byrnecut will complete about 90km of underground development over four years and provide production services. It is expected to spend more than A$125 million on new equipment for Kathleen Valley.
“Our collaboration with Byrnecut has already delivered value in the form of the updated one mine, two orebodies mine plan, which was optimised as an outcome of the tender evaluation process,” Liontown CEO Tony Ottaviano said.
“We remain on track for first production from Kathleen Valley by mid-2024 and I look forward to partnering with Byrnecut for the next stage of our project development.”
The contractor is scheduled to start mine development in the December quarter.
The underground will be the primary source of ore for Liontown’s three million tonnes per annum spodumene concentrate plant. Byrnecut would also complete “early enabling works for the planned 4Mtpa expansion as part of the longer-term operation of the underground mine”, the company said.
Its 20-plus-year current production plan is underpinned by a mineral resource of 156 million tonnes grading 1.4% Li2O and 130ppm Ta2O5. Underground reserves total 65.4Mt grading 1.34% Li2O for 879,000t of Li2O.
Liontown says mineralised pegmatites have been intersected over a strike length of 1.7km and to a vertical depth of 600m.