Lithium Americas Corp (TSE:LAC) (NYSE:LAC) (FRA:WUC1) announced a milestone Friday, which means its Thacker Pass lithium project in Nevada, US, has moved a step closer towards production, namely the release of a final environmental impact statement (EIS).
The development-stage lithium group is advancing its Cauchari-Olaroz lithium brine project in Argentina and the Thacker Pass property in Humboldt County towards being producing mines and the latter is the largest known lithium resource in the US.
A pre-feasibility study in 2018 for Thacker Pass was based on a two-phase open-pit project with a production capacity designed to reach 60,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of battery-grade lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) and 46 year-mine life.
Initial capital costs were pegged at US$581 million for the first phase and US$1.059 billion overall. The pre-tax net present value (NPV) was put at US$3.9 billion using an 8% discount rate and the pre-tax internal rate of return (IRR) was 36.6%.
"The publication of the Final EIS is the culmination of more than a decade of work studying, exploring and developing the Thacker Pass project,” said Jon Evans, Lithium Americas president and CEO.
"Thacker Pass has the potential to provide future sources of high-quality lithium chemicals critical for establishing a strong domestic lithium supply chain required to support a low-carbon economy."
The key final EIS for Thacker Pass follows a comprehensive review of the potential impacts of the project.
Local communities, Humboldt County, the State of Nevada, US Fish and Wildlife Service and the US Environmental Protection Agency were all eligible to participate in developing the report's scope and content.
The company's water-protection permit applications were submitted in mid-2020 and are being considered by the State, the firm added in the statement.
The final step in federal permitting for Thacker Pass is the issuance of the Record of Decision (ROD) by the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The ROD is expected to be issued in early 2021.
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