Provides ~45% of site power needs
Jobs in the long term
Located in northern Québec, approximately 130 km east of James Bay and the Cree Nation of Eastmain community. Québec is a highly attractive investment destination for lithium production due to its supportive resource development sector, access to skilled labour and its proximity to high-growth electric vehicle markets in North America and Europe.
Allkem is proposing to develop the James Bay Project as a sustainable, hard-rock operation, maximising the usage of renewable energy and utilising spodumene expertise gained from its successful Australian operation, Mt Cattlin.
The strategy for development is to advance the upstream mine and concentrator operation whilst simultaneously investigating downstream options.
The 2021 Feasibility Study and Maiden Ore Reserve released on 21 December 2021, details average annual production of 321 kilotonnes per annum (“ktpa”) of 5.6% Li2O spodumene concentrate with a ~19 year mine life.
This long life project is supported by a Mineral Resource Estimate of 40.3Mt at 1.4% Li2O and Ore Reserve of 37.2Mt at 1.3% Li2O.
The outcropping, high-grade spodumene pegmatite deposit supports a low life-of-mine strip ratio of 3.5:1 and an open cut operation using conventional mining methods. Mineralisation is also open to the north and east of the ore body.
Similar to operations at Mt Cattlin, the process plant is designed to produce a 6.0% Li2O concentrate grade with operational flexibility to increase recovery by reducing the grade to 5.6% Li2O.
The process flowsheet incorporates crushing and dense medium separation, also similar to Mt Cattlin. Crystal sizes are coarse and therefore grinding and flotation methods are not necessary, contributing to low operating costs.
The Feasibility Study details competitive cash operating costs (FOB Montreal) of USD333 per tonne of 5.6% Li2O concentrate and capital cost estimates of USD285.8 million.
Project economics are robust with pre-tax Net Present Value (“NPV”) of USD1.42 billion at an 8% discount rate, pre-tax Internal Rate of Return (“IRR”) of 45.8% and a pre-tax payback period of 2.4 years.
The Project is well serviced by key infrastructure including Hydro-Québec power, which provides a low-cost, clean energy source for approximately 45% of site power needs. The project is also located adjacent to the Billy Diamond Highway, which connects it to major roads and railways in the region.
The town of Matagami is located approximately four hours south of James Bay and connects it to the Canadian National Railway network, which allows future production to be railed to various locations in North America or ports along the Saint-Lawrence River for international shipment.
Construction is planned to commence in ealry CY23 with commissioning in H1 CY24, subject to receipt of necessary environmental and other approvals.
Basic engineering has commenced alongside the procurement process for key equipment, temporary installations, contracts and preparation of construction permits.
Completion of the 2021 Feasibility Study allows the Impact and Benefit Agreement negotiations and Environmental Social Impact Assessment approvals to continue and be completed.
Consultation will continue with key stakeholders in relation to project updates, particularly the Cree Nation community of Eastmain.
James Bay has a unique opportunity to build a low carbon operation and further carbon studies and initiatives are underway to align the project to Allkem’s target of transitioning to net-zero emissions by 2035.
Downstream studies continue, examining options for value adding from the conversion of James Bay’s spodumene concentrate.
Engaging with the community
Allkem aims to be an active member of the communities in which it operates and strives to improve the wellbeing of such regions. The Company recognise the importance of building and maintaining positive relationships with its stakeholders across the globe. To learn more click here.