Leo Lithium advances Goulamina amid Mali issues

Leo Lithium (ASX:LLL) is progressing site activities at the Goulamina Lithium Project in Mali, with construction having reached 80% complete. 

The final concrete is anticipated to be poured into the plant in April this year, while structural, mechanical, and piping installation has begun on the majority of work fronts and cable installations and terminations work have also begun. 

Some areas of the dry plant have progressed to final completion activities and pre-commissioning. 

Leo says the final deliveries of equipment and materials are in transit to site. The primary critical construction paths are the electrical installation and power plant construction packages, alongside the associated government permits to operate the power plant. 

If the permit is not granted in time, commissioning is planned to occur on temporary power, however the permit is considered necessary for full-scale operations to proceed. 

Malian authorities have indicated they have restarted assessing the application for the power self-generation permit.

As previously reported, Leo Lithium and its joint venture partner Ganfeng are continuing to engage with the Mali government in an attempt to resolve current issues relating to the project and the government. 

Managing Director Simon Hay says: “We continue to engage with the Malian government whilst working to advance the world-class Goulamina lithium project. 

The company’s relationship with Ganfeng remains strong as we work towards completing project construction ahead of commissioning.”

Leo Lithium says it is unable to provide a definitive timeline for the engagement with the government. 

Further, as this news service mentioned, the agreement between Leo and Ganfeng to sell an additional 5% of its JV holding company Mali Lithium BV, is conditional on a settlement with the Mali government and remains binding. 

Leo says local mining contractor Corica Mali have mobilised its main fleet to the site with 1.43 million bulk cubic metres of material mined from the stage one pit to date. 

Once Goulamina is in operation, plant throughput and recovery are anticipated to increase over the first 6 months of production before stabilising and reaching name plate performance. 

Although local content rules have impacted the company’s local recruitment strategy and other ongoing issues, Leo says the project is still on track to deliver its first spodumene in early Q3 2024, becoming West Africa’s first spodumene producer. 

The company is currently developing and facilitating opportunities for local business initiatives to provide alternative income streams outside of direct employment by the project. This includes development and implementing programs to provide sustainable income streams for women and youth — such as soap making, market gardens for women’s cooperatives and commercial honey production from locally sourced honey. 

Leo Lithium is a pure-play lithium company developing its flagship Goulamina project in Mali. 

Write to Aaliyah Rogan at Mining.com.au   

Images: Leo Lithium
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Written By Aaliyah Rogan
Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.