Leo Lithium prepares for stage one production at Goulamina Project area, Mali

Leo Lithium (ASX:LLL) remains on schedule to produce its first spodumene product in June 2024 after producing run-of-mine ore from its Goulamina Project in Mali over Q2 2023.

The company, which has a $1.36 billion market capitalisation, reports the first blast on site took place in June 2023, with initial mining activities focused on the stage one starter pit. The starter pit contains 1.65 million tonnes (Mt) of undiluted fresh ore of the measured resource category at an average grade of 1.68% Li2O and 0.73% Fe2O3. 

Meanwhile, mining contractor Corica Mining Services is ramping up activities on-site. The initial pit has been prepared, with the first bench completed. Leo says over 196,000 bcm of material has been mined and this ore is being stockpiled.

Commenting on the quarterly activities, Leo Lithium Managing Director Simon Hay says: “Our Goulamina Lithium Project remains on schedule, and construction activities are underway. Mining has commenced, with initial mining activities focused on the stage one starter pit, leading to production and stockpiling of our first run of mine ore.”

Mining has commenced, with initial mining activities focused on the stage one starter pit, leading to production and stockpiling of our first run of mine ore”

In addition, Leo’s Goulamina joint venture (JV) company entered into a binding agreement with Bambara Resources SARL and Kodal Minerals during the June quarter to acquire 100% of 2 new mineral concessions in Mali for US$2.5 million plus a 2% gross royalty. 

The Mafele West and Nkemene West concessions are set to nearly triple the land area of the Goulamina Project from 101km-square to 287km-square. 

Leo says the increased landholding will enable the joint venture company to optimise the location of infrastructure and mining stockpiles over the long term and will be especially useful for the stage two expansion. 

As of 30 June 2023, the company held $67.1 million cash at hand, and the Goulamina JV held $60.5 million cash at hand, according to its June quarterly report. 

Leo says construction activities are on track, with engineering and drafting about 80% complete so far. 

In addition, the company says drill results that did not make the cut-off date for the June Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) update are expected in the coming months. 

Leo also notes that exploration and infrastructure sterilisation drilling is planned to restart after the wet season. Through future exploration drilling, the company intends to focus on potential resource extensions along strike and down-dip of the optimised ‘reasonable prospects for eventual economic extraction’ (RPEEE) pit shell, as well as increasing the confidence level by converting inferred to indicated material within the pit shell. 

During the June quarter, the company entered into a strategic placement with Ganfeng to raise $106.1 million through the issue of 131 million new fully paid ordinary Leo Lithium shares. 

Proceeds from the placement ensure Leo is fully funded for its stage one development costs and operational ramp-up costs for the Goulamina Project. 

Leo Lithium is a pure-play lithium exploration company developing its Goulamina Lithium Project in Mali. The company intends to be West Africa’s first spodumene producer when the project comes online in 2024 to supply the booming lithium-ion battery industry.

Write to Aaliyah Rogan at Mining.com.au

Images: Leo Lithium Ltd
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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.