Firebird Metals

Excellent Results Generated from China-Based Battery Grade MNSO4 Scoping Study

Firebird Metals Limited (ASX: FRB, “Firebird” or “the Company”) is pleased to announce the successful completion of an in-house Scoping Study (“SS” or “Study”) for production of battery grade manganese sulphate in China utilising concentrate from its flagship Oakover Project, located 85km East of Newman, Western Australia.


HIGHLIGHTS

  • Strong results from the China-based Manganese Sulphate Scoping Study (‘SS’ or ‘Study’) affirm Firebird’s LMFP Battery Strategy, validating establishment of a China-based Manganese Sulphate Plant
  • Key results include:
    • Chinese circular industry provides localised key reagents and inputs that drive a low OPEX of approximately US$659/mt for production of battery grade manganese sulphate
    • Total CAPEX of approximately US$82.3M, including land and a 30% contingency
    • ~US$331M NPV at a discount rate of 8%, before tax1
    • Payback period in less than 2 years
    • Average ~EBITDA of US$48.3M, before tax1
    • IRR of 47% before tax1
    • Plant capacity of 72,000 mt/a of battery grade manganese sulphate (MnSO4) equivalent, producing:
      • 50,000mt/a Battery Grade Manganese Sulphate (MnSO4); and
      • 10,000mt/a Manganese Tetra Oxide (Mn3O4)
    • Key reagents, sulfuric acid, steam and customers all located in close proximity to the potential Plant location
    • Potential location to have capacity for future expansion through replication of Plant
  • Following results of the Study, Firebird will promptly advance towards the Pre-Feasibility (‘PFS’) Stage for battery grade manganese sulphate production in China, while continuing to progress development of the Oakover Project
  • The Company, through a recently announced Placement, is fully funded to complete the China-based Battery Grade Manganese Sulphate PFS and ongoing environmental surveys, metallurgical test work and Concentrate PFS studies for Oakover
  • 2023 is seen by industry participants as the beginning of a new era for Li-ion batteries propelled by the commercialisation of LMFP batteries, having the steepest forecast growth of of any battery cathode active material formulation in the medium to long-term
  • The rise of LMFP is imminent as LFP battery capacity is reaching its theoretical energy density capacity and more importantly, LMFP fits the strategies of end users as it is cost effective, safe and provides a long range
  • The Study results place Firebird in a strong position to execute on its vision of becoming a global leader in the manganese industry, combining mining and downstream processing with a dedication to the advancement of the EV battery sector

Completion of the Study follows the conclusion of a Manganese Concentrate Production Scoping Study to mine and produce manganese concentrate at Oakover, which confirmed the Project as a long-life manganese operation (see ASX Announcement 30/08/2023).

Results from the Concentrate Scoping Study followed an 80% uplift in the Oakover Indicated Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE), which now stands at 105.8 Mt @ 10.1% Mn, and combined with an Inferred MRE of 70.9Mt, the total Oakover MRE now stands at 176.7Mt @ 9.9% Mn (all using a 7% Mn cut-off).2

The results generated from the in-house China-based Battery Grade Manganese Sulphate Scoping Study validate Firebird’s LMFP battery strategy to produce battery grade manganese sulphate in China, with a strong projected NPV of approximately US$331M, Total CAPEX of approximately US$82.3M, an impressive IRR of 47% and a payback period of less than two years.

Importantly, results from the Study have continued to build upon the strong platform for Firebird to successfully deliver on its vision to become a global leader in the manganese industry, combining mining and downstream processing with a dedication to the advancement of the Li- ion battery sector.

Firebird Managing Director Mr Peter Allen commented: “We are extremely pleased with the results from our China-based Battery Grade Manganese Sulphate Scoping Study, which reinforces the next phase of our growth strategy and demonstrates the true potential of Oakover.

“The past few months have been an exciting and transformative period for the Company as we embark on becoming a near-term producer of battery grade manganese sulphate. The delivery of this Study and the results generated marks the completion of another key milestone as we work through a busy 12 months ahead.

“Importantly, we continue to build on the strong platform we have created at Oakover and our vision to become a global leader in the manganese industry, combining mining and downstream processing with a dedication to the advancement of the EV battery sector. We are developing and pushing ahead with Oakover at the right time, as the use of manganese in EV batteries continues to grow rapidly.

“LMFP batteries are forecast for the largest growth of all the manganese-based batteries, due to the fact it meets the key criteria of car manufacturers - cheap, safe and delivers good range. 2023 is seen by many industry participants as the beginning of the new era of Li-ion batteries by commercialising LMFP and we are well-positioned to benefit greatly from this demand.”


Click here for the full ASX Release

This article includes content from Firebird Metals Limited, licensed for the purpose of publishing on Investing News Australia. This article does not constitute financial product advice. It is your responsibility to perform proper due diligence before acting upon any information provided here. Please refer to our full disclaimer here.

FRB:AU
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