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Lithium developer Piedmont Lithium on Friday said it would use proceeds from the sale of lithium concentrate from its offtake agreement with North American Lithium (NAL) to fund further investment into the Ewoyaa lithium project, in Ghana.

Piedmont this week exercised its option to acquire an initial 22.5% in ASX- and Aim-listed Atlantic Lithium’s Ghana portfolio, having sole-funded $5-million towards a regional exploration programme, and a further $12-million towards the delivery of a prefeasibility study and definitive feasibility study (DFS).

Piedmont will now self-fund a further $70-million to earn an additional 27.5% interest in the Ghana portfolio, taking its total interest to 50%.

“We are pleased to help advance the progression of Ewoyaa as a key part of Piedmont Lithium’s global portfolio and the expected feedstock for our planned lithium hydroxide conversion facility in Tennessee,” said Piedmont president and CEO Keith Phillips.

“Our partners at Atlantic Lithium have made tremendous progress with positive project economics recently published in the DFS and minerals lease discussions that are progressing with Ghana’s Minerals Commission. We look forward to continuing our work with Atlantic Lithium to support the project towards first production, currently targeted for 2025.”

The DFS into the Ewoyaa project estimated a capital cost of $185-million based on a 3.6-million-tonne spodumene concentrate production over a mine life of 12 years. The DFS estimated a post-tax net present value of $1.5-billion with a free cash flow of $2.4-billion and life-of-mine revenues of $6.6-billion.

The study also estimated C1 cash operating costs of $377/t of concentrate free-on-board, after by-product credits from conventional opencut mining, and all-in sustaining costs of $610/t.