The Ewoyaa lithium project being developed by Atlantic Lithium is expected to be the first lithium-producing mine in Ghana, West Africa. The company is a lithium exploration and development company based in Australia.
The project is focused on exploiting the Ewoyaa, Abonko and Kaampakrom lithium spodumene pegmatite deposits in western Ghana. First production of lithium concentrate from the mine is expected in the second quarter of 2025.
Atlantic Lithium completed a pre-feasibility study (PFS) for the project in September 2022. The definitive feasibility study (DFS) for the project was announced in June 2023, which outlined a 2.7 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) spodumene mining operation over 12 years of mine life.
Ewoyaa lithium project location, geology and mineralisation
The Ewoyaa lithium project is located approximately 100km south-west of Ghana’s capital city Accra. The project area covers two contiguous licences, namely Mankessim (RL 3/55) and Mankessim South (PL3/109).
The Mankessim licence area lies within the Birimian Supergroup, a Proterozoic volcano-sedimentary basin in western Ghana.
The project’s spodumene-bearing lithium mineralisation occurs as sub-vertical bodies within two dominant pegmatite trends, namely Ewoyaa and Abonko.
Lithium reserves at Ewoyaa
The Ewoyaa lithium project is estimated to hold 25.6 million tonnes (mt) of probable ore grading 1.22% lithium oxide (Li₂O), as of June 2023.
Mining methods at Ewoyaa
The lithium project will utilise conventional open-pit mining methods involving drill, blast, load and haul operations due to the shallow nature of the ore body. Mining operations will be contract-based and supervised by the Atlantic Lithium management team.
Mining will be performed at eight main deposits, including Ewoyaa, Okwesi, Anokyi, Grasscutter, Abonko, Kaampakrom, Sill and Bypass, which are located 4km apart. Drilling and blasting operations will be performed on 5m to 10m high benches.
The mining equipment is expected to comprise 100t to 200t hydraulic excavators and 90t to 150t off-highway dump trucks. The fleet will be supported by standard open-cut drilling and auxiliary equipment.
The proposed ore processing design for the project envisages a 2.7mtpa conventional dense media separation (DMS) processing facility.
In the first nine months starting from Q2 2025, approximately 450,000t of ore will be processed in an early production processing plant. The main 2.7mtpa processing facility will commence operations from Q1 2026 for 11 years.
The run-of-the-mine (ROM) ore will undergo three-stage crushing in a primary jaw crusher, followed by a secondary open circuit crusher and a tertiary crusher circuit. The crushed ore will be separated into coarse, fine and ultra-fine factions. Each of the factions will pass through a two-stage DMS beneficiation circuit.
The primary DMS sinks from each DMS stage will be upgraded in a secondary stage while secondary sinks from each size fraction will be combined to produce a DMS concentrate product.
Coarse DMS floats will be circulated back to the recrush circuit to improve recovery. Liberated spodumene will be recovered in the recrush DMS circuit. The fine product will be transferred to the dewatering circuit and stacked in a fine stockpile to be sold as a secondary product.
The Ewoyaa project site is accessible from Accra via the Accra-Cape Coast-Takoradi highway, which runs along the southern boundary of the project area.
The raw water requirement for the project is estimated to be 24.1m³/h, which will be met through passive pit inflows, runoff inflows to the water storage dam and tailings storage facility, along with a pump and pipeline system from Lake Agege.
Electricity for the project is expected to be sourced from the Ghana Grid Company through a new 3km-long 34.5kV single circuit transmission line connecting an existing 161/34.5kV substation at Saltpond.
Project funding and offtake agreement
Atlantic Lithium secured project development funding via an offtake agreement with Piedmont Lithium in August 2021.
Piedmont Lithium, which owns a 9.4% equity interest in Atlantic Lithium, agreed to offtake 50% of the Ewoyaa project’s annual spodumene concentrate output for conversion into lithium hydroxide as part of its Tennessee lithium project, which is proposed to be located in Etowah, Tennessee, US.
Piedmont also secured a 50% interest in Atlantic Lithium’s spodumene projects in Ghana through the same offtake agreement.
Consulting firm Ashmore Advisory provided the mineral resource estimates while SRK Consulting conducted geotechnical, hydrological and hydrogeological studies for the project.
Mining Focus Consultants provided mine engineering services and was also responsible for the mining study as part of the DFS while Trinol was engaged in metallurgical test works.
The process plant engineering, metallurgy and crushing assessment was provided by DRA South Africa, a subsidiary of DRA Global.
ECG Engineering was responsible for the power supply assessment and infrastructure study for the project.
Site geotechnical studies and tailings storage facility and water storage dam assessments were provided by Geocrest & Associates and REC Engineering.
DRA, Atlantic Lithium, ACC Logistics, Bollore Africa, and Glen Falloch Consulting estimated the project’s operating cost while Zivvo analysed the project risks and opportunities.
The processing plant front-end engineering design (FEED) contract for the project was awarded to Primero Group (Primero), an engineering company, in December 2022.