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Rock Tech Lithium completes Pre-Feasibility Study for its Georgia Lake Project

Press Release

Vancouver, B.C., November 15, 2022 – Rock Tech Lithium Inc. (TSX-V: RCK; OTCQX: RCKTF; FWB: RJIB; WKN: A1XF0V) (the “Company” or “Rock Tech”) is pleased to announce the results of a Pre-Feasibility Study (“PFS”) completed for its 100%-owned Georgia Lake spodumene project located in the Thunder Bay Mining District of Ontario, Canada (the “Georgia Lake Project”). The PFS strengthens and further substantiates previous engineering studies and supports an open pit and underground mine operation and the construction of a 1,000,000 tonne-per-annum spodumene concentrator. The positive results indicate a pre-tax internal return rate of 47.8% and a pre-tax net present value of US-Dollars 223 million for the Georgia Lake Project. They also support Rock Tech’s decision to further deepen and shape the vertically integrated strategy connecting its mining, concentration, and conversion operations. The Company is also pleased to announce an initial Mineral Reserve and updated Mineral Resource estimates for the Georgia Lake Project.

PRE-FEASIBILITY STUDY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Estimated pre-tax net present value at an 8% discount rate (“NPV”) of USD 223 million at an average life of mine (“LOM”) price of USD 1,500/t, 6% spodumene concentrate (“SC6”).
  • Estimated pre-tax internal rate of return (“IRR”) of 47.8% at an average LOM price of USD 1,500/t, SC6.
  • LOM of 9 years, with low-cost open pit mining for the first 4 years and underground mining for the last 5 years.
  • Pre-tax payback of 2.9 years.
  • Update to Mineral Resource Estimate: Total indicated Mineral Resources of 10.6mt at grading 0.88% Li2O and total inferred Mineral Resources of 4.2mt at grading of 1.00% Li2
  • Declaration of Mineral Reserves: Total probable Mineral Reserves of 7.33mt at grading of 0.82% Li2
  • Pre-production costs estimated at USD 192.2 million and sustaining capital costs of USD 98.5 million (including closure costs).
  • Average annual spodumene concentrate production of approximately 100,000 t of SC6.
  • Total LOM average cash costs of USD 719/t concentrate.

The objective of the PFS was to assess the technical and economic viability of achieving spodumene concentrate production at the Georgia Lake Project. The PFS evaluated the construction and operation of a 1,000,000 tonne-per-annum concentrator (the “Georgia Lake Concentrator”) with open pit and underground mining operations over a 9-year LOM. The Company is pleased that the positive results of the PFS support the viability of lithium mining activities and the concentration of spodumene at the Georgia Lake Project.

The economics associated with the construction of a lithium hydroxide converter and refinery facility (a “Converter”) at the Georgia Lake Project were not considered as part of the PFS. Accordingly, the results of the PFS may not be directly comparable to the results of the 2021 PEA (as defined below), which contemplated the construction and operation of an integrated 15,000 tonne-per-annum Converter for refining a portion of the production from the Georgia Lake Project.

The Company continues to evaluate refining opportunities for future production from the Georgia Lake Project in light of industry and global socio-economic factors and competencies developed in connection with the ongoing development of the Company’s proposed Converter in Guben, Germany. Such refining opportunities include utilizing a vertically integrated strategy for the Georgia Lake Project, whereby future production from the Georgia Lake Project is refined at the proposed Converter in Guben or a Company owned-and-operated Converter in North America or selling such production to existing third-party refiners.

The metallurgical testwork completed on sample feedstock from the Georgia Lake Project positively demonstrates the suitability of the spodumene concentrate for conversion into battery-grade lithium hydroxide. Rock Tech’s CEO, Dirk Harbecke, commented on the encouraging developments, “These results support the integration of Georgia Lake with the downstream conversion industry, where we have been building strong partnerships and extensive know-how. The encouraging results also demonstrate that we are well positioned to explore potential fields of collaboration in the North American and European EV supply chain”.

The PFS and Mineral Reserve and Resource estimates have further increased the confidence level of bringing the Georgia Lake Project towards feasibility level, which will provide the basis for a construction decision. The Company intends to undertake a feasibility study for the Georgia Lake Project as part of its efforts to optimize and advance the Georgia Lake Project.

These efforts are expected to include upgrading the Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve estimates through exploration drilling, optimizing mining operations with the opportunity to become owner-operated, and enhancing infrastructure detail through support from the Company’s indigenous partners to reduce capital costs and increase operational efficiency.

SUMMARY OF PFS RESULTS

The PFS and Mineral Reserve and Mineral Resource estimates have been prepared in accordance with the National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects (“NI 43-101”) by AMC Consulting (Canada) Ltd. (“AMC”) with specialist contributions from Wave International Pty (“Wave”), Knight Piesold Consulting (“KP”), Pinchin Ltd. (“Pinchin”), Environmental Resources Management (“ERM”), and Environmental Applications Group (“EAG”).

The PFS evaluates the planned production of spodumene concentrate from an average of 2,800 tonne- per-day (“tpd”) open pit and underground operation, with a process plant that will include crushing, grinding, density media separation (DMS) and flotation, estimated to produce a combined 6% Li2O grade spodumene concentrate.

The PFS incorporates the recent results from the Company’s drilling program at the Georgia Lake Project, as well as recent metallurgical test work to determine key process criteria and operational recovery. Metallurgical testing programs were undertaken at commercial laboratories SGS Canada Inc. (“SGS”) and Nagrom Mineral Processors (“Nagrom”) simulating and improving the process flowsheet to maximize ore grade and recovery.

KEY METRICS

KEY METRICS AND ASSUMPTIONS (1) (2)
Pre-Tax NPV(3) USD 223m
After-Tax NPV(3) USD 146m
Pre-Tax IRR 47.8%
After-Tax IRR 35.6%
Pre-Tax Payback Period 2.9 years
After-Tax Payback Period 3.3 years
Pre-Production Capital Costs USD 192m
Life-of-Project Capital Costs(4) USD 291m
Life-of-Project Revenue USD 1,175m
Life-of-Project Total Operating Costs(5) USD 536m
Life-of-Project Total Cash Costs(5) USD 576m
AISC USD/t concentrate(5) USD 1,082
Average LOM 6% Spodumene Concentrate price USD/t(6) USD 1,500

Notes:

  1. See “Key Assumptions and Sensitivity Analysis” section below for further details.
  2. Key metrics are calculated on nameplate annual production of 1,000,000 tpa of spodumene pegmatite feed over 9-year life of project.
  3. Discount rate of 8%.
  4. Includes pre-production, sustaining capital, and closure costs.
  5. Refer to “”Non-IFRS and other Financial Measures”.
  6. Source: derived using Benchmark Mineral Intelligence and Wood Mackenzie.

The PFS estimated a pre-tax NPV of the Georgia Lake Project of USD 223 million compared to the USD 289 million pre-tax NPV estimated in the Company’s technical report titled, “Preliminary Economic Assessment for an Integrated Lithium Hydroxide Operation from the Georgia Lake Lithium Project, Northwest Ontario, Canada” (the “2021 PEA”), while the PFS estimates an after tax NPV of USD 146 million compared to the USD 230 million

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