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Early works has started at the Goulamina lithium project, in Mali, ASX-listed Leo Lithium said.

Speaking at Paydirt’s Africa Downunder conference, in Perth, Leo Lithium MD Simon Hay said mechanical construction and electrical installation at the Goulamina project is due to start in the second half of 2023, with commissioning and start-up slated for the first half of 2024.

“We expect to complete construction early 2024 commissioning around the middle of 2024. And we’d be expecting around about a six-month ramp up so we’d be nameplate capacity by the end of 2024 and full production in 2025,” Hay told delegates.

It is estimated that the project would require an initial $225-million investment for the Stage 1, 2.3-million tonne a year development, producing 506 000 t of spodumene concentrate a year, increasing to 880 000 t/y in Stage 2, for a further investment of $70-million.

The project is expected to have a minimum mine life of 21 years, producing some 15.6-million tonnes of f spodumene concentrate over that period.

Hay said on Wednesday that the Stage 2 definitive feasibility studies would take place during the initial construction of Stage 1, with Stage 2 execution to happen within 12 months from the Stage 1 operation reaching its nameplate capacity.

“We’ve got an outline there of what Stage 2 looks like. As you can tell from the capital cost, it won’t be anywhere near as difficult or as long to build that project. So we expect at this very early stage, it’s roughly a year to build it. The study phase won’t be very long. It’s not really a study it’s more we’d go straight into an engineering phase. And again, we expect commissioning to be shorter because it would be the second line that we have equivalent commissioning,” Hay said.