Karibib project seeks funding

By Business Reporter

ASX-LISTED Lepidico has entered into a formal mandate with the United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) to undertake an in-depth analysis and evaluation of the Karibib Phase 1 project, to determine whether the project qualifies for DFC financing.

The United States International Development Finance Corporation is the development finance institution of the United States federal government, primarily responsible for providing and facilitating the financing of private development projects in lower and middle-income countries

The DFC will undertake detailed due diligence to ensure the project meets DFC’s criteria, including the project’s creditworthiness, its developmental benefits to Namibia and its effects on the environment.

“Lepidico is pleased to be working with DFC in relation to its Phase 1 project. The engagement of DFC through a formal mandate is an important milestone in bringing the project to development and, in particular, is testament to the project’s positive environmental and social credentials,” says Lepidico Managing Director, Joe Walsh.

The Phase 1 project encompasses the redevelopment of the open pit mines at Rubicon and Helikon 1, the development of a new mineral concentrator and a chemical plant.

The company in May said the project is expected to require a capital investment of US$139-million for the mine, concentrator and chemical plant.

Lepidico has, since January, been working with boutique investment bank Lions Head Global Partners, to assist in securing financing for the project.

A definitive feasibility study (DFS) by Lepidico into an integrated mine, concentrator and chemicals plant has proven the economics of the Phase 1 development of its Karibib lithium asset.

The Phase 1 study is based on a modest-scale commercial plant processing a lithium mica concentrate feed at a rate of 6.9 t/h (tonnes per hour) to produce some 4 900 t/y (tonnes per year) of nominal battery grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate and a suite of high value and bulk by products.

“Lepidico’s Phase 1 project represents a unique development opportunity for the production of four valuable alkali metal streams, lithium, caesium, rubidium and potassium. This is enabled by the company’s proprietary process technology, L-Max, coupled with lepidolite as the mineral feed source.

“L-Max further differentiates Phase 1 from other lithium projects by providing a single process step solution for the production of lithium hydroxide without the costly and potentially problematic production of sodium sulphate.

“The vertically integrated Phase 1 project has been demonstrated by the DFS to be robust technically, economically and from a sustainability perspective, with the focus now on banking the study to transition the business into development and on into production,” said Walsh.

Lepidico holds an 80 percent interest in the Karibib project, located within the Karibib Pegmatite Belt in central Namibia.