Mali to Start Domestic Production of Lithium in 2023

Mali is set to start domestic production of Lithium in 2023. According to the country director of Firefinch, Seydou Semega, the Australian lithium miner expects its Goulamina project in Mali to start production in late 2023 or early 2024.

The company foresees annual production of over 436 000 tonnes of spodumene concentrate, the ore from which lithium is extracted, making Goulamina one of the largest developments of its kind in the world.

Country Director of Firefinch, Seydou Semega

Semega said the project had seen some delays because of the coronavirus pandemic but things are returning to normal.

Lithium prices have soared this year as automakers invest billions of dollars in a transition to electric vehicles, boosting demand for batteries which use lithium.

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Construction at Goulamina should start in the second quarter of 2022 and last 18 months, after which production will start in late 2023 or early 2024, Semega said, forecasting output of 450 000 t/y over the project’s 23-year projected lifespan.

In June, Firefinch signed a deal to jointly develop and operate Goulamina with China’s Ganfeng Lithium, one of the world’s top producers of the mineral. Under the deal, Ganfeng was going to invest $130-million for a 50% stake.

Firefinch is due to make a final investment decision (FID) on the project in December – a key condition for Ganfeng to make $91 million of its funding available.

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