Kodal Minerals unit Future Minerals SARL has received a mining licence for its Bougouni Lithium Project in Mali.

The licence is valid for an initial 12 years and renewable in ten-year blocks until all the resources are extracted.

Extending across 97.2km², the permit covers the proposed open-pit mining and processing operation at Bougouni.

Kodal Minerals CEO Bernard Aylward said: “The granting of the mining licence for Bougouni has come at a great time for Kodal with the increasing global focus on battery metals and the recognition of potential supply deficits highlighting the value of our fully permitted Bougouni Lithium Project.”

The firm completed the feasibility study on the project in 2020. The mine is anticipated to have a minimum 8.5-year operational life.

Now fully permitted for development, the project is expected to have an average production of 220,000tpa of 6% spodumene concentrate.

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During the life of the mine, the project is expected to produce 1.94Mt of concentrate, according to the feasibility study.

The study also proposed a 2Mtpa processing plant using a conventional flotation circuit to maximise the recovery of spodumene.

Aylward added: “We announced our feasibility study in January 2020 and the programme of work we are currently undertaking will lead to an updated feasibility study that is expected to support a Decision to Mine.

“The timing of Kodal’s permitting and potential development timeline highlight how well-positioned our Bougouni project is to capitalise on the widely forecast lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate shortages which are expected by 2023.”

Kodal has started a work programme to update the feasibility study.

The six-month work programme will include metallurgical test work, completion of geotechnical and hydrogeological reviews, finalise capital and operating cost estimates, among others.

The firm will then secure the funding required to support mine development and construction.