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Firebird Metals

Updated DMS Concentrate Scoping Study Delivers Outstanding Results, Confirms Oakover As A Standout Manganese Operation

Firebird Metals Limited (ASX: FRB, “Firebird” or “the Company”) is pleased to announce successful completion of the Updated Scoping Study (“SS” or “Study”) to produce manganese concentrate at its flagship Oakover Project, located 85km East of Newman, Western Australia.


  • Updated Dense Media Separation (DMS) Manganese Concentrate Scoping Study (‘SS’ or ‘Study’) results confirm flagship Oakover Project as long-life, tier-one manganese operation. Key results include:
    • 18-year Life of Mine
    • Approximate A$741.3 M NPV at a discount rate of 8%
    • Impressive IRR of 73.1%, with pay back in 16 months
    • ~4Mt annual processing, ~1.2 Mt of 30-32 % Manganese (Mn) concentrate annually
    • Capex estimated of A$123 million
    • Low mine strip ratio of 0.45:1
    • Indicated material accounts for 99.2% of the material processed
  • Results place Firebird in a strong position to execute its vision of becoming a global leader in the manganese industry, combining mining and downstream processing with a dedication to the advancement of EV battery sector
  • Updated Study follows an 80% uplift in Indicated Resource at Oakover to 105.8Mt
    • 58.8 Mt @ 10.4% Mn Indicated Resource at Sixty Sixer deposit 1
    • 33.9 Mt @ 9.7% Mn Indicated Resource at Karen deposit2
    • 13.1 Mt @ 9.7% Mn Indicated Resource at Jay Eye deposit2
  • Study assessed two scenarios, both utilising DMS beneficiation:
    • Scenario one: Full production from start-up
      • ~4Mt annual processing, ~1.2Mt of 30-32% Mn concentrate annually
    • Scenario two: 2-Stage development, with a low-cost capital start-up
      • ~1.5Mt annual processing for first 3 years, ramping up to 4Mt for following 17 years
      • Processing plant to produce ~500kt for the first 3 years then ramping up to ~1.2Mt of 30-32% Mn concentrate annually
  • FRB Board to pursue scenario one, due to highly attractive economics and commencement of full-scale production at Oakover from year one
  • Strong ESG credentials, with proposed renewable energy package delivering significantly lower processing costs and a long-term sustainable footprint
  • Battery Grade MnSO4 Oakover Scoping Study well advanced, with results expected H2 2023
Completion of the Study followed an 80% increase in the Oakover Indicated Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE), which stands at 105.8 Mt @ 10.1% Mn. Combined with an Inferred MRE of 70.9Mt, the total Oakover Resource is 176.7Mt @ 9.9% Mn (all using a 7% Mn cut-off). 1 2

The Board assessed two production scenarios in the Study, both utilising DMS beneficiation, to determine the most efficient and profitable path forward at Oakover.

Scenario one assessed the requirements, economics and production profile of full-stage production from year-one, where ~4Mt would be processed and ~1.2Mt kt of 30-32% Mn concentrate would be produced annually.

Scenario two evaluated a two-stage ramp-up to full production, with stage one being an initial lower capex option, comprised of ~1.5Mt annual processing for first 3 years and following this, stage two would commence where ~4Mt would be processed annually for the following 17 years. In the first three years, Oakover would produce ~500kt of 30% Mn concentrate annually and then ramp up to ~1.2 Mt kt of 30- 32% Mn concentrate annually.

Following assessment of both scenarios, the Firebird Board made the decision to progress with scenario one, which will see full-scale production commence from year-one. The results generated from scenario one confirmed Oakover as a long-life operation with strong project economics, highlighted by an 18-year Life of Mine, approximate $741.3 M NPV and impressive IRR of 73.1%.

Importantly, results from the Study have set a strong platform for the Company 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 Li-ion battery sector.

Firebird Managing Director Mr Peter Allen commented: “We are very pleased with the results from our updated manganese concentrate scoping study, as it has reinforced the world-class nature of our Oakover Project, which contains all the necessary elements to become a significant manganese operation.

“Following major growth in the Oakover Indicated resource, which was lifted by 80% to 105.8 Mt in March this year, the Board believed it was prudent to recomplete the concentrate Scoping Study. The decision has been vindicated as we have nearly doubled the life-of-mine at Oakover from 10-years to 18-years, NPV has grown from $329 M to $741.3 M NPV and the IRR has increased from 47% to 73.1%. These are excellent numbers and a great result for the Company and our stakeholders.

“Importantly, we have set a strong platform to deliver on our vision to become a global leader in the manganese industry, combining mining and downstream processing with a dedication to the advancement of EV battery sector. We are developing and pushing ahead with Oakover at the right time, as the use of manganese in EV batteries is growing rapidly. Batteries such as NCM, LMO and LMFP continue to be used more and more by car manufacturers and Tesla has stated plans for two thirds of their batteries to be manganese based.

“LMFP batteries are forecasted for the biggest growth rise 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 look forward to benefiting 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.

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