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The definitive feasibility study (DFS) into the Wolfsberg lithium project, in Austria, has demonstrated the project’s economics, ASX-listed European Lithium said on Wednesday.

The DFS has estimated a capital cost of $873-million to support an 8 800 t/y lithium hydroxide monohydrate (LHM) production rate over a mine life of nearly 15 years, with operating costs estimated at $19 409/t before by-product credits.

The project will comprise two integrated operations, a mining and processing operation to produce a lithium concentrate and a hydrometallurgical plant to convert the spodumene into battery grade LHM. The hydrometallurgical plant is planned to produce approximately 8 800 t/y LHM with a total production of approximately 129 000 t of LHM over the life-of-mine.

The DFS also estimated a post-tax net present value of $1.5-billion for Wolfsberg and an internal rate of return of 33.3%.

“The robust DFS provided by DRA provides confidence in the commercialisation of the Wolfsberg project. This positive news has come during a buoyant market for lithium and an increased urgency for decisive action to accelerate the green energy transition, especially in Europe,” said European Lithium chairperson Tony Sage.

“Our next steps include finalisation of the listing of Critical Metals on Nasdaq and continuing our discussions with our financiers. Through the business combination with Sizzle, Critical Metals Corp expects to access substantial opportunities available in the US market.”

European Lithium last year agreed to a $750-million transaction with Nasdaq-listed Sizzle Acquisition Corp, under which the Australian-listed company would sell down its interest in Wolfsberg and merge with Sizzle through a newly formed lithium exploration and development company called Critical Metals Corp.

On completion of the transaction, European Lithium will be issued $750-million worth of new shares in Critical Metals, which will be listed on Nasdaq, representing a near 80% interest in the combined company