West Africa-focused lithium and gold exploration and development company Kodal Minerals has completed its previously announced $117.75m financing for the Bougouni lithium project.

Kodal has agreed with Hainan Mining and its wholly owned UK subsidiary Xinmao Investment to provide full funding for the development and begin production at the Bougouni project in Mali.

In addition, the funding transaction will support the ongoing exploration and development programmes designed to continue the expansion of the project.

The funding includes the subscription of Kodal equity shares worth $17.75m, and a $100m investment into Kodal’s UK subsidiary, Kodal Mining UK (KMUK), by the Hainan.

Kodal Minerals CEO Bernard Aylward said: “This is a major milestone in our progress towards the construction of Bougouni and becoming a producer of high-grade lithium spodumene concentrates.

“Throughout the process of completing the Funding Transaction, Kodal and the Hainan Group worked closely together to advance key project development activities whilst completing all necessary conditions precedent to finalise the funding.

“We have developed a strong relationship with the Hainan Group and we will work together to achieve our shared goal of production within twelve months from now.”

Bougouni is an advanced lithium project with 97km² of highly prospective lithium deposits and a JORC Mineral Resource Estimate of 31.9Mt of Li2O at 1.06%, to date.

The project has a mining permit in place for an initial twelve-year period, which can be renewable in ten-year blocks until all resources are mined.

Bougouni is planned to be developed through a two-stage development strategy.

The first stage includes processing ore from the Ngoualana deposit through a Dense Media Separation (DMS) process plant, which is currently under construction.

The second stage includes the processing of ore from the Boumou and Sogola-Baoulé deposits through a flotation plant.

Aylward added: “An active work programme has been planned for Bougouni, with Kodal’s Operations Director, Steve Zaninovich, and Hainan’s technical representative, Jerry Gao, currently finalising the design of the DMS operations at the Johannesburg offices of our engineering consultant DRA Global and commencing the procurement of long lead items.

“In Mali, our development team, led by our General Manager, Yushen Caiy, is building our internal capacity for the construction phase and future operations of Bougouni, whilst continuing with the access road development and site preparations which commenced in October 2023.

“We are also looking to the future with an exploration programme proposed for further drilling at the Boumou prospect as a priority, in addition to further drilling and assessment of the many pegmatite bodies already identified within our mining licence area.”