ioneer Ltd Awarded SNC-Lavalin Group the Engineering and Design Contract for the Sulphur Acid Plant


Emerging lithium-boron supplier, ioneer Ltd (ASX: INR) wants to become a responsible and profitable producer of the materials for an energy efficient future. The company is focused on developing the globally significant Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project in Nevada, USA which has a large deposit of lithium and boron.

In an announcement made on 3 April 2019, the company announced that it has awarded SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. (SNC) the engineering and design contract for the sulphuric acid plant component of the Rhyolite Ridge Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS). This contract was awarded after a comprehensive bidding process by the leading sulphuric acid plant providers. In the contract bidding process, SNC provided an updated budgetary cost estimate of around US$111 Mn for supply and installation of the sulphuric acid plant. This estimated cost was around US$60 Mn lesser than the US$170 Mn estimated in the Preliminary Feasibility Study (PFS) which was completed in October 2018.

Managing Director of ioneer, Mr. Bernard Rowe, commented that the cost of the sulphuric acid plant is a key capex driver for the Rhyolite Ridge Project. He further told that this saving of US$60 Mn is significantly improving the already robust project economics demonstrated in the PFS.

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The reduced capital expenditure estimate for the construction and installation of the sulphuric acid plant has resulted from a change in contracting strategy from lump sum turnkey to an engineering and procurement contract, and a focus on fit for purpose construction and cost optimisations.

SNC-Lavalin is an integrated professional services and project management company which is having a longstanding relationship with DuPont Clean Technologies, through MECS® products, technology and design services for sulphuric acid plants. SNC is going to incorporate MECS® best-in-class sulphuric acid production technology from DuPont Clean Technologies (Dupont). It is expected that the acid plant will produce 3500 tonnes per day of sulphuric acid for the leach process. The plant will also produce the steam/heat necessary for the process plant and the excess steam produced from the plant will be used to generate around 50 megawatts per annum of carbon-free electricity.

The management of the company is very pleased to know that SNC-Lavalin and Du Pont will be working together with project lead engineers, Fluor, to further strengthen the world-class team that is focused on progressing the DFS for the Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron project, and to deliver the project on budget and on schedule.

Today, the company has also released an Investor presentation in which it has informed about the company’s recent achievement and its Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project. The company also informed about the Project Feasibility Study of the Rhyolite Ridge Project which demonstrated strong project economics including annual revenue of $450 million and annual EBITDA of $297 million. The definitive feasibility study of the project is on track to be completed in the third quarter of 2019.

At the time of writing, i.e., on 3rd April 2019 AEST 2:57 PM, the stock of the company was trading at a price of A$0.175 with the market capitalisation of ~A$258.12 Mn.


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