The PAK lithium project is located approximately 175km north of Red Lake, Ontario, in the Red Lake Mining Division, on Crown Land. Frontier Lithium fully owns the lithium project.

The project is proposed to be developed as an open-pit and underground mine, with a total mine life of 16 years.

Pre-feasibility study was completed in March 2018, which estimated the capital expenditure to be $147.3m.

The project is expected to produce 1.14 million tonnes (Mt) of technical-grade concentrate and 115,500t of chemical-grade concentrate.

PAK lithium project includes the Pakeagama Lake granitic pegmatite, which hosts 7.4Mt of highest grade lithium in North America. A demonstration plant, with a maximum capacity of 15,000t, is being constructed at PAK to produce lithium concentrate.

PAK lithium project location and geology

The PAK lithium project is located in north-western Ontario, covering an area of 26,774ha on a relatively isolated area with adequate infrastructure.

The project area is situated along the boundary between the Berens River and Sachigo Subprovinces of the Archean Superior Province of the Canadian Shield.

The project hosts rocks of the north-western extension of North Spirit Lake greenstone belt and features three main lithological units.

The third domain features two-mica Pakeagama Lake granite pluton, located between the metasedimentary and metavolcanic-metasedimentary rocks.

The deposit remains open to depth and along strike to the north-west and south-east.

PAK lithium project reserves

The proven and probable reserves at the combined open-pit and underground project are estimated at 5.8Mt grading 2% Li2O, as of March, 2018.

Mining method

The open-pit mining activity will be conducted using truck and shovel, followed by drill and blast operation. Ore will be mined using benches, drilled, blasted, and loaded into haul trucks using a hydraulic excavator.

Mechanised drifting methods will be applied for the underground phase of the mine, which will be accessed through a ramp portal to be located 50m from the pit bottom on the north side of the pit in the wall of the bench.

Ore extracted from the stopes will be transported to a re-muck by using load, haul, and dump (LHD) loaders. It will be conveyed to the surface through a 40t underground haulage truck and then transported to the mill for processing.

Ore processing at PAK lithium project

The ore will undergo two-stage crushing - primary and secondary, where it will be reduced to a P80 size of 150mm. The crushed ore will be discharged to a fine ore storage bin through the crusher circuit load-out conveyor.

It will be passed through a dense media separation (DMS) circuit and then conveyed to the primary and secondary ball mill.

It will further pass through a mica flotation circuit consisting of two rougher mechanical cells equipped with 11kW agitators for further grinding and to reduce the pH value.

The mica rougher float products will be moved to cleaner cells and conveyed to a spodumene flotation circuit. The cleaned spodumene rougher concentrate will be conditioned with WW82 dextrine and then forwarded to reverse flotation of phosphates from spodumene.

The reverse flotation tailings and the cleaner scavenger concentrate will be high-grade (technical) spodumene concentrate, while the phosphate concentrate will be chemical-grade spodumene concentrate.

Infrastructure

The project has sufficient water supply required for mining and processing operations.

The site is currently accessed through the Ontario winter road, through the Red Lake from Nungesser Road.

Four 1,350kW, 4,160V diesel generators will be the primary power source for the mine. Electricity is planned to be sourced from the proposed Wataynikaneyap transmission system of the Ontario IESO Controlled grid.

Workers will be initially accommodated at a 132-person temporary camp, while a permanent complex is proposed to be purchased after two years of pre-production.

An all-weather airstrip will be constructed towards the north of the open-pit.

Contractors involved

Nordmin Engineering prepared the preliminary feasibility report for the PAK lithium project.

Frontier Lithium engaged Golder Associates and Blue Heron Solutions for Environmental Management to conduct environmental baseline studies of the project.