EMP Metals said that the Viewfield lithium brine project owned by its subsidiary Hub City Lithium in Canada will involve total capital expenditures (capex) of $571m based on the findings of a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) study.

The capex encompasses direct as well as indirect capital costs, including contingency costs of $52m.

Located in Saskatchewan, the Viewfield lithium brine project is anticipated to produce a total of 282,090 tonnes of battery-grade lithium carbonate. This will result in an average annual output of 12,175 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) over the course of its 23-year project life.

The PEA sets an anticipated pre-tax internal rate of return (IRR) at 55%, signifying a payout duration of 2.1 years. Additionally, the pre-tax net present value (NPV) is estimated at $1.49bn, considering an 8% discount rate.

It covers an expanse of 11,000 net hectares within the Viewfield project area. This accounts for 46% of Hub City Lithium’s total land holdings in Viewfield and merely 14% of its overall land holdings in Southern Saskatchewan.

The development plan outlined in the PEA is structured into three distinct units.

In the first unit, termed the Wellfield, all production wellbores, disposal wellbores, and associated pipeline networks are included.

The second unit, known as Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE), encompasses infrastructure related to pre-filtration and DLE operations. For the PEA, Koch Technology Solutions was selected as the technical partner for DLE.

The third unit, Concentration, Refining, and Conversion (CRC), covers all infrastructure downstream of DLE required to refine and convert lithium chloride eluent into battery-grade LCE. Saltworks Technologies was chosen as the technical provider for CRC in the PEA.

EMP Metals CEO Rob Gamley said: “With payback in approximately two years, a 23-year project life and a pre-tax IRR of 55%, our Viewfield project is clearly a world class Lithium asset.

“The PEA study underpins a significant property value and highlights the benefits of excellent brine concentrations, low operating costs and close proximity to local infrastructure in one of the best mining jurisdictions in the world.

“The outstanding metrics demonstrated in the PEA represents a highly attractive scenario for EMP shareholders and supports the remarkable potential of this project as we quickly move to a commercial pilot.”