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International Lithium releases PEA for Raleigh Lake Lithium Project near Ignace, ON

Dec 5, 2023

International Lithium Corp. is pleased to announce a positive Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") for a proposed lithium mining operation to produce spodumene concentrate at Raleigh Lake, 25 kilometres west of Ignace, Ontario. The PEA relies on recent metallurgical test work (Phase 1) which indicates that a spodumene concentrate containing 6% Li2O ("SC6") can be produced using a simple crushing circuit and heavy liquid separation techniques. In the Phase 1 tests lithium recoveries were above 81% while iron oxide content remained within acceptable limits. As originally foreshadowed, the very near proximity of Raleigh Lake to existing service infrastructure along the Trans-Canada Highway corridor affords significant logistical and economic advantages to the project.

This PEA only considers spodumene concentrate, i.e. lithium, as a revenue source. The Company continues to investigate the potential value associated with the extraction of rubidium from the microcline zone within the spodumene deposit.

PEA Highlights

Economics (discounted at 8% p.a., CAD$)

  • Pre-tax Cashflow = CAD$709.4 million, NPV = CAD$385.1 million, IRR = 46.5% p.a.
  • After-tax Cashflow = CAD$634.0 million, NPV = CAD$342.9 million, IRR = 44.3% p.a.
  • Price assumptions: CAD$3,139/tonne for 6% Li2O concentrate (USD$2,325/tonne)


  • Total pre-production capital costs: CAD$111.9 million
  • Total sustaining capital: CAD$17.5 million
  • Total life of mine ("LoM") operating costs: CAD$381 million (including concentrate transport)
  • Average operating costs: CAD$94.38/tonne milled, CAD$993/tonne SC6

Mining Method

  • Traditional open pit drilling and blasting followed by load and haul
  • The plant feed production rate is proposed to be 540,000 tonnes per year ("tpy")
  • This LoM mine plan is proposed to mine 57 million tonnes ("Mt") of material over the mine life, which will be comprised of 4Mt of mill feed and 53Mt of waste with an average strip ratio of 13.2:1
  • Life of mine is forecast at nine years; project duration is 11 years

Process Plant

  • The base case process plant is designed to crush 1,500 tonnes per day ("tpd") and process 1,500 tpd in a dense media separation ("DMS") plant to produce a nominal 56,000 tpy of 6% Li2O at 81% recovery
  • Process engineering and design were developed to a scoping level based on the results of the SGS laboratory testing. The SGS lab tests obtained 22.9 weight percentages of 6% Lithium Concentrate and estimated 81% lithium recovery
  • A design factor of 10% is applied on nominal requirements to ensure that the process equipment has enough capacity to take care of the expected feed variation
  • Total production for LoM is 414,904 tonnes of 6% Li2O spodumene concentrate ("SC6")

Raleigh Lake is 100% owned by ILC and there are no overriding royalties. The Company's vision for Raleigh Lake is a low-risk, low-impact, small-scale mining operation that can begin to provide critical minerals necessary to fulfil Canada's Critical Mineral Strategy in a shorter time frame than would be required for a much larger scale, longer duration and more remotely located project. Revenues from the mine production would continue to feed back into exploration work to expand ILC's drive to become a significant Critical Minerals supplier in North America.

Executive Comment

John Wisbey, Chairman and CEO of ILC commented: 

"It is very pleasing for ILC to have delivered its first PEA at Raleigh Lake, Ontario with highly respectable numbers of CAD$385.1 million pre-tax NPV and 46.5% IRR (post-tax CAD$342.9 million and 44.3% IRR) despite the significant fall in the lithium price this year. This reflects, to a considerable extent, our good access to infrastructure at Raleigh Lake, which has a very beneficial effect on our projected costs. It should be noted that this PEA only relates to the 600 hectare Zone 1 out of our 48,500 hectares of claims at Raleigh Lake. It is also important to note that at this stage these numbers only relate to the lithium at Raleigh Lake and not to the separately declared rubidium resource. Given the high market price of rubidium, this leaves appreciable upside.

This year's fall in the lithium price has of course depressed these numbers versus what they would have been only a few months ago. For example, a major Canadian lithium company produced a feasibility report in August 2023, using a price assumption of USD$ 4,699 (CAD$6,109) per tonne for 6% spodumene concentrate. Had we applied this same number to the spreadsheet that ERM have used for ILC's PEA, our own NPV would have been CAD$1,137 million pre-tax and CAD$906 million post-tax. These numbers are more than 2.6 times the NPV numbers that we are now reporting. Of course, what this means is that, as for every mining company, there is a high level of operational gearing in our business. It is also very important that, when comparing different companies in the sector, investors and analysts compare like price assumptions with like.

The omission of rubidium from this initial PEA reflects the fact that we and our consultants need to do more work on the real size of the rubidium market. Our measured and indicated contained tonnes of rubidium at Raleigh Lake are 822 tonnes and the inferred 521 tonnes. The market price for >99% rubidium carbonate as at end November 2023 was USD$ 1,159.38 per kg, meaning USD$ 1.16 million per tonne. However, if world annual demand for rubidium is and remains much smaller than our resource there, our ability in future to sell at the rate we can produce would be affected, as could the market price."

PEA Summary

Environmental Resource Management ("ERM") was retained by International Lithium Corp. ("ILC" or the "Company") to prepare a Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 (NI 43-101) for the Raleigh Lake Project (the "Project") located near Ignace, Ontario, Canada.

The Raleigh Lake Project is roughly 25 kilometres west of Ignace and 235 kilometres west of Thunder Bay in the northwestern part of Ontario within the Kenora Mining District. It is adjacent to the Trans-Canada Highway (Hwy 17) with CN Rail, TC Energy natural gas pipeline and Hydro One 235kV power lines transcending the Property. It is owned 100% by International Lithium Canada Ltd., a 100% owned subsidiary of ILC. There are no royalties or other encumbrances on the Property.

ILC identified the opportunity at Raleigh Lake in 2016 but did not begin actively pursuing work on the project until 2021 when an initial test drilling campaign was conducted along with regional lithogeochemical sampling. In 2022 the Company completed sufficient drilling to define a maiden Mineral Resource Estimate ("MRE") with resources reported in the measured, indicated, and inferred categories (see below and Company press releases dated March 1 and April 13, 2023). Upon analyzing the MRE the Company embarked upon some initial metallurgical and economic studies that culminated in the results presented here. It is the Company's opinion that the results to date provide a good basis to pursue a mining operation at Raleigh Lake and such an operation can be considered low impact due to the existence of well-developed and utilized infrastructure and the path to environmental permitting and eventual production would be shorter than if the project were to be more remotely located. The entire operation could be significantly more sustainable than remote operations and have direct economic benefits for the nearby and surrounding communities.

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