Across the globe, lithium can be found mainly in pegmatite type deposits and brine deposits, with lithium-bearing brine resources accounting for a large part of the resources. The pegmatite type deposits are mainly in Australia, Canada, Finland, China, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Congo. Meanwhile, lithium-bearing saline lakes mainly are located in: Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, China, and the United States.
Deposits discussed here cover deposits not discussed in the Lithium supply by countries section. They are either not in production, or Lithium from this deposits is produced in small quantities or as in case of U.S., the data regarding the production levels is not publicly available.
Currently, the U.S. imports more than 80% of the lithium it uses.
Identified lithium resources in the United States, from continental brines, geothermal brines, hectorite, oilfield brines and pegmatites, have been revised to 6.9 million tons according to USDA.
The US Lithium production data is not public, the latest figures available indicate 870 MT of Lithium production in 2013.
The only lithium production in the United States is from a brine operation in Nevada (Clayton Valley) operated by Albemarle Corp., whose recently acquired Silver Peak mine and processing operation has been unearthing lithium from this area since the mid-1960s.
Clayton Valley’s brine has a low lithium concentration compared with other sources, but also a low magnesium ratio. “The grades are only in the 60s”—parts per million that are lithium—“but the quantity is large,” and the lithium could be concentrated relatively cheaply, because the water holding it evaporates quickly in western Nevada’s sunny, dry climate.
During years 2012-2015 on average the lithium import distribution to US looked as follows Chile, 57%; Argentina, 40%; China, 2%; and other, 1%.
Around six startups have placed or leased claims in the Clayton Valley area, among them most notable are:
Lithium X Energy Corp.
Participating in the Clayton Valley in Nevada through its ownership interest in Pure Energy Minerals Limited (“Pure Energy”). In Nevada, the Company consolidated its Clayton Valley holdings with those held by Pure Energy, in the process becoming Pure Energy’s largest shareholder, holding 19.9% of Pure Energy’s outstanding common shares and share purchase warrants that, if exercised immediately, would increase its ownership interest to 22.5%. Pure Energy’s combined holdings in Clayton Valley consist of more than 10,500 hectares (approximately 26,300 acres).
Pure Energy Minerals Ltd.
Vancouver-based pure-play lithium company, which entered into a deal to supply Tesla Inc.’s Gigafactory, 200 miles from Clayton Valley. It posses Inferred Resource of 247,000 tonnes lithium hydroxide monohydrate (218,000 tonnes Lithium Carbonate Equivalent).
Piedmont Lithium ltd, an emerging lithium company, announced that following the completion of a capital raising and building program, a new comprehensive drill program has begun at its flagship Piedmont Lithium Project in North Carolina.
As part of the drilling program, Piedmont has targeted an exploration tonnage of around 10-15 million tonnes of lithium.
Piedmont is confident that the project will become a world class integrated lithium operation in North Carolina, particularly due to its strategic location in the Carolina Tin-Spodumene Belt.
The Piedmont Lithium Project is located in one of the premier regions in the world for lithium exploration, given its favorable geology and ideal location with easy access to infrastructure, power, R&D centers for lithium and battery storage and major high-tech population centers.
From the 1950s to 1990s, two major lithium mines operated in this region as well as two significant lithium processing facilities which continue to supply lithium products to U.S. customers today and are located within 20km of the Piedmont Lithium Project.
With aggressive exploration and feasibility programs scheduled during 2017, company’s aim is to fast track the Piedmont Lithium Project towards production to capitalize on the widely anticipated shortfall of lithium in global markets over the next decade.
Rock Springs deposits (Wyoming)
The latest Lithium development in US comes from researchers at the University of Wyoming. They’ve found lithium in Rock Springs Uplift, a geological feature in southwest Wyoming. Data so far suggests that brines from a 25-square-mile area could contain 228,000 tons of lithium. That’s enough to meet annual U.S. demand.
Production of lithium from brines requires soda ash (sodium carbonate), and importation of soda ash to lithium production facilities often represents a large expense. However, the Rock Springs Uplift CO2 storage site is located within 20 to 30 miles of the world’s largest industrial soda ash supplies, so the costs of soda ash delivery (by rail, truck or pipeline) would be minimal.
Magnesium must be also removed from brines before they can be used for lithium recovery, which makes the entire lithium recovery process more expensive. Fortunately, the brines from the Rock Springs Uplift reservoirs contain much less magnesium than brines at existing, currently profitable lithium mining operations.
As a last step brines must be heated and pressurized before lithium can be extracted from them. However, because the Rock Springs Uplift brines lie so far underground, they are already at a higher pressure and temperature than brines at existing lithium operations. This would allow operators to essentially eliminate this step in the process, resulting in significant cost savings.
The potential of lithium’s boom is already having a knock-on effect for the small village of Cinovec on the Czech border with Germany, which has a tin and tungsten mining tradition dating back to 1378. Its mines were abandoned in 1991 because they ceased to be economically sustainable after the collapse of communism, but recent explorations have found one of the biggest deposits of lithium in Europe.
Jaromir Stary, the head of the Department of Mineral Resources at the Czech Geological Survey, said the lithium resources in the Czech Republic could amount to 1.3 million to 1.5 million tons, mostly in the Cinovec area. Only Serbia has a similar deposit in Europe, estimated at 1.1 million tons.
Australia’s European Metals Holdings has had an exclusive license to explore the resources and the right to seek permission to mine since 2014 when it acquired Czech exploration company Geomet, which first confirmed the presence of the ore. European Metals Holdings is listed at the London Stock Exchange and the Australian Securities Exchange in Sydney.
“You can have a splendid idea, but you need money to make it reality,” said Otto Janout, a prospector and one of Geomet’s four founders.
Managing Director Keith Coughlan said it was planning to open a mine at Cinovec in the coming years to produce about 3,800 tons of lithium a year.
That would place the country among the top five lithium producers in the world.
“I believe it is a danger for Europe to continue to think that it can rely on Asia for its supply chain of battery-related materials and, in particular, lithium,” Coughlan said. “I think it is a very significant asset from a European perspective.”
Parts of the Czech deposit span the border with Germany, where Canada’s Bacanora has been exploring it.
Stary said a key disadvantage of the Czech ore compared with other deposits could be its low grade as it contains about 0.2 percent of lithium on average. But it’s relatively uncomplicated and environmentally friendly to process.
Unlike most other deposits in the world, the Czech variant is located in an area with functioning infrastructure, including railroad access. Potential customers are nearby, and not just car manufacturers.
Prague-based HE3DA recently started a trial production of lithium batteries suitable to store energy from renewable electric sources, using nanotechnology. It plans to open a new factory in eastern Czech Republic next year.
The company has already signed a memorandum about the future cooperation with European Metals Holdings, HE3DA President Jan Prochazka said.
Finland is emerging as a European player in lithium production. In the Finnish bedrock, lithium is enriched in coarse-grained spodumene pegmatite veins.
In her postdoctoral project at the University of Helsinki, Sari Lukkari has studied the geology of the newly discovered lithium deposit in the Finnish town of Kokkola and is working closely with colleagues to develop a model for maximum cost efficiency in the discovery and extraction of ore deposits.
“This is still work in progress,” explains Lukkari. “As well as doing field studies and conducting geochemical and petrographic investigations, we’re studying the geology and genesis of lithium deposits by means of crystallisation tests.
“Comparisons of natural and synthetic rocks provide valuable information about how the deposit was formed, and this can aid us in practical ore exploration.”
The location of underground pegmatite (crystalline rock) veins can be inferred from fan-shaped surface deposits of boulders. Pegmatite boulders have been carried and deposited in the Ice Age, and they frequently form fan-shaped structures. The sharp end of the fan is often close to the pegmatite vein hidden underground. This knowledge makes it much easier to decide where to start drilling.
The lithium deposit in Kokkola has been known since the 1960s when early drillings began in preparation for mining operations.
The necessary enrichment and refinement trials were completed back then; however, production did not start up due to unfavourable market conditions.
Norwegian Nordic Mining and its subsidiary (Keliber) are currently in the process of surveying the area with a view to starting up quarrying operations within the next couple of years.
According to the company’s estimates, these deposits amount to over three million tonnes, with almost two million tonnes available for extraction – enough for ten years.
The lithium will be mined in an open-pit quarrying operation. No major environmental hazards are foreseen.
“The plan is to separate the lithium from the mineral using inexpensive and environmentally friendly biogas made from agricultural biomass and waste from fur farms,” says Lukkari.
“By-products from the operation, including analcime, tantalum and quart-feldspar mixture, can also be used in the ceramics and the electronics industry. Crushed stone will be used in road construction and later on to rehabilitate the quarry.”
Serbia, which might potentially have the biggest deposits of Lithium in Europe and probably one of the biggest in the world, is planning to launch its production in 2023. Germany plans to start their production two years earlier, same as the Czech. The biggest Lithium deposits in Serbia are in Jadar near the town of Loznica.
Rio Tinto is the only company in Serbia that is exploring its Lithium deposits. In 2004, the company discovered the Jadar deposits, i.e. the deposits of the ore called Jadarite (the newly discovered lithium-sodium borosilicate mineral). Jadarite is a unique mineral that can be found only in Serbia. Due to its high concentration of Lithium and Boron, the Jadar mine was declared one of the biggest Lithium deposits in the world”, according to Vladimir Simic, a professor at the Belgrade Faculty of Mining and Geology.
Rio Tinto has already invested $90-million in the Jadar project. In 2004, Rio Tinto’s geologists discovered a new lithium sodium borosilicate mineral in the Jadar basin and two years later, jadarite was officially confirmed as a new mineral.
The company believes that the Jadar deposit is among the largest lithium deposits in the world. If developed, the Jadar project could supply over 10% of the world’s lithium demand.
Serbia could gain as a local European producer considering the situation in the Czech Republic where the opposition parties protested against the relevant memorandum that their government signed with the Australian company European Metal Holding (EMH) to its advantage and Germany, on the other side that had to endure the bankruptcy of the Solar World Company which explored the Altenburg deposits.
Kodal Minerals’ primary focus is the development of its Bougouni Lithium Project in Southern Mali – an emerging lithium province which has already attracted the attention of investors and off-take partners seeking to secure long-term supply of strategic commodities including lithium.
Since acquiring the Bougouni Project in late-2016, the Company has implemented an accelerated exploration and development programme aimed at advancing the project into production in as short timeframe as practicable.
The Company is supported by their strategic investor and off-take partner, Suay Chin International Pte Ltd (‘Suay Chin’), a Singapore registered trading company with extensive connections within the Chinese lithium market.
Chemical Metallurgical Plant is the only Russian Lithium producer. (JSC «CMP» since 1997) was set up in 1956 in Krasnoyarsk city located in the center of the East Siberian District of Russia at the bank of the Yenisei River.
The enterprise was built for the production of lithium hydroxide to supply Russian nuclear industry market. The production technology of the lithium hydroxide was based on the mineral processing of spodumene.
The plant also produces lithium metal and its compounds, highly purified alkali metals such as sodium, potassium, cesium, rubidium and different lime- and limestone-based construction materials.
Today the main activity of JSC «CMP» is production of lithium products (lithium hydroxide, lithium metal, alkali metals, etc.)
To improve lithium production growth the company considers the possibility to acquire its own lithium deposit and to increase the capitalization of the company JSC “CMP” is planning to offer its shares at the Stock Exchange.
JSC «CMP» has experience in export of lithium products and is looking to expand in the Asia-Pacific region.
At present time JSC «CMP» produces lithium hydroxide (under code HS – 2825 20 000 0) of different quality: technical grade(content of the basic substance: min 56,5 %) and battery grade(content of the basic substance: min 56,5 %).
For the production of lithium hydroxide JSC «CMP» uses self-engineered high quality lime. Lime production was set up in 1956 on the base of the limestone deposit located nearby the plant. The high quality of the limestone (content is more than 56%) enables the high quality of lime and allows to reduce impurities in lithium hydroxide.
As part of the lithium production, JSC «CMP» also offers the supply of lithium metal(code HS – 2805 19 000 0): Battery grade (basic substance content: min 99,9 %).
The shipment of lithium metal is implemented in ingots, cylinders, rods or pellets.
Metal containers package is sealed with polyethylene liner, conforms to international standards and allows transporting goods over long distances without changing the physical and chemical properties of the product. The package can be in other containers as agreed with the customer. It meets all safety requirements, storage and transportation.
Most pegmatites in Russia are tantalite–containing. Major ones are: Kolmozerskoe – approximately 600,000 ton.; Polmostundrovskoe, Ulug-Tanzek, Goltsovoe and Urikskoe that are estimated to contain 300,000 to 600,000 ton of lithium carbonate.
Two majors mines in Russia are Alakhinskoye and Vishnyakovskoe mine.
The Alakhinskoye mine is located in southern Russia in Altai Republic and has reserves amounting to 218 million tonnes of lithium ore grading 0.8% lithium thus resulting 1.74 million tonnes of lithium.
The Vishnyakovskoe mine is located in southern Russia in Irkutsk Oblast.The Vishnyakovskoe mine has reserves amounting to 42 million tonnes of lithium ore grading 0.49% lithium thus resulting 0.2 million tonnes of lithium.
None of them are currently being mined.
The traditional hard-rock mining of pegmatites containing the lithium bearing silicate spudomene is time, energy and cost intensive and lithium concentrations in Russian deposits are generally too low, and extraction too difficult and costly to be viable.
However the world`s first experimental technique of its kind, developed by NUST MISIS scientists, has helped make lithium compounds from poor ores two times as cheap as those mined from rich ores. The implemented technology can satisfy Russia`s lithium needs with its own reserves.
In Russia, the highest content of lithium is in mica, alongside deposits of rare earth metals. Although, in theory, the mechanisms of the most effective method of extracting lithium from domestic ores was described by Vladimir Kulifeev—NUST MISIS Professor in the 1960s, at the time neither technologies nor materials from which the processing equipment was made allowed for the implementation of this process at an economically viable level.
Olga Krivolapova, a Candidate of Technical Sciences and an Associate Professor at the Department of Nonferrous Metals and Gold at NUST MISIS, has applied Professor Kulifeev`s theoretical developments to the lithium-containing waste of fluorite deposits (such as the world`s largest Voznesenskoye and Prigranichnoe, owned by RUSAL`s Yaroslavl Mining Company). The NUST MISIS science team led by Krivolapova has developed technology for the acidulation of lithium-containing substances which turned out to be twice as cheap as existing analogues. The technique is now at the experimental polygon owned by the Yaroslavl Mining Company. The production process of battery-operated quality lithium (grade LE1) is planned to be launched at mine dumps of the deposits in Ussuri Krai and the Zavitinskyi mine fields (Chita Oblast), where in just 20 years time more than 40 thousand tons of lithium carbonate can be produced.
“We are working on a new production, which will allow Russia to completely abandon imported raw materials. The new technology will allow to carry out the extraction and processing of lithium, and to obtain not only pure lithium but also valuable products — for example, lithium salt, depending on the needs of domestic industry. We are developing technical solutions for the processing of domestic raw materials, because we have designed and created a unique pilot-experimental-industrial technique. Currently, we are conducting lab research on the influence of technological factors on the acquisition of battery-operated quality lithium”, emphasized Olga Krivolapova, head of the project.
Work on the technology is being conducted at the request of a number of major Russian enterprises such as ROSATOM, RUSAL, TVEL Fuel Company, Battery Company RIGEL, ARMZ, Priargunsky Industrial Mining and Chemical Union, and others.
The implementation of this technology by enterprises is planned for 2020-2025.
Meanwhile Rosatom targets 30% non-nuclear sales amid electric car boom as new Switzerland-based unit will trade battery metals.
Rosatom has plans to start mining and selling lithium and possibly even develop its own lithium-ion batteries. The company is focusing specifically on EVs. “The evolution of the car business is going much faster than predicted,” senior executive Kirill Komarov told Bloomberg in an interview. “We plan to accumulate the whole integrated line of everything starting from lithium and up to final batteries or even some cooperation with car producers.
One of the world’s largest lithium-ion battery plants, a joint venture between the Chinese lithium battery manufacturer Thunder Sky Group and Russian state run agency RUSNANO is located in Novosibirsk, Russia. The facility, referred to as Liotech, is expected to produce up to 500,000 lithium batteries per year, to supply electric vehicles and larger bus batteries, in addition to a variety of energy storage applications, and emergency power supplies.
Sergey Polikarpov, Managing Director of the Department for Investments at RUSNANO said, “The new factory is an outstanding example of the local impact of transferring the foreign high technology. It has led to construction of modern production facilities. When plant capacity has been met, more than five hundred individuals will be employed. In realizing a program to replace imports, we are creating an entire cluster of new high-tech production for materials and components related to the batteries and also an engineering center which is an excellent synergy.
92 Resources discovered some very high-grade, lithium-rich rocks in Canada’s Northwest Territories (NWT). The news came more as a vote of confidence for the company’s Hidden Lake project.
The northern Canadian property is situated at the heart of an old lithium mining camp from a bygone era — one that’s not far from Yellowknife. (where Lithium was briefly mined for its use in nuclear power plants in the 1950s.)
This helps explain why the company found a handful of grab samples (rocks at surface) that have assayed as high as 3.06% lithium oxide, and collectively average 2.54%.
The advantage of Hidden Lake project is also that its lithium mineralization is relatively close to the surface. This means it could be amenable to relatively low- cost, open-pit (quarry-like) ore extraction methods.
Nemaska Lithium intends to become a lithium hydroxide supplier and lithium carbonate supplier to the lithium battery market. The Corporation is developing in Quebec one of the most important spodumene lithium hard rock deposit in the world, both in volume and grade. The spodumene concentrate produced at Nemaska Lithium’s Whabouchi mine will be shipped to the Corporation’s lithium compounds processing plant to be built in Shawinigan, Quebec. This plant will transform spodumene concentrate into high purity lithium hydroxide and carbonate using the proprietary methods developed by the Corporation, and for which patent applications have been filed. Company’s announced 9 grab samples were averaging 2.88% lithium oxide.
The company has already delivered 3 tonnes of lithium hydroxide solution produced from its Whabouchi spodumene concentrate.
“Cathode producers are primarily concerned with the impurity levels in the lithium hydroxide they receive from suppliers, as these impurities impact the overall performance of the battery. Our lithium hydroxide compares very favourably to that of our peers in the industry and is well within the acceptable specification limits of cathode producers globally. Following discussions with multiple cathode makers, I believe ours is one of the best lithium hydroxide products available today,” said Guy Bourassa, President and CEO of Nemaska Lithium.
In addition, Nemaska Lithium reported that it has received an installment payment of C$4.6M from Sustainable Development Technology Canada for having achieved the second milestone in the development of the Phase 1 Lithium Hydroxide Plant.
International Lithium Corp
The Mavis-Fairservice property consists of a package of nineteen adjacent mineral claims currently being explored by International Lithium Corp. These include thirteen unpatented mining claims (the Mavis claims) and six patented mining leases (the Fairservice Property).
This package covers the lithium-tantalum core of the Mavis Lake Pegmatite Group adjacent to Mavis Lake near Dryden, Ontario
The Mavis-Fairservice Lithium-Rare Metals Property covers 2,632 hectares within Brownridge Township and is approximately 19 km northeast of the town of Dryden on the Trans-Canada Highway in north-western Ontario. The property is also adjacent to major rail networks. The claims extends south and east of Mavis Lake and is bordered to the east by the Lola Lake Provincial Nature Reserve.
Canada Lithium Corp
In the northeast corner of La Corne Township, approximately 60 km north of Val d’Or is located The Quebec Lithium Project, operated under Quebec Lithium Inc. and owned 100% by Canada Lithium Corp. The site can be accessed through a paved road from Val d’Or, a mining friendly community that has over 100 years of mining history and a population of some 32,000 people. The city hosts an airport and significant support infrastructure. Quebec is one of the top-rated mining jurisdictions in the world and electricity costs, a key input in mining operations, are among the lowest in North America.
Between 1955 and 1965, the Project operated as an underground mine, producing lithium carbonate products for sale to the North American market. 150-m-deep mine was operated under the former Quebec Lithium Corporation and included a surface concentration plant and refinery before all operations were suspended.
North American Lithium Inc
North American Lithium Inc., is a Canadian industrial minerals mining company located in Abitibi, near Val d’Or, Quebec. This project is under development with commissioning of an open pit lithium carbonate mine and processing plant nearing completion. The mine is expected to produce approximately 23,000 tonnes of battery grade lithium carbonate on an annualized basis. The high quality product produced from the mine will meet the rapidly growing needs of the portable consumer electronics industry, electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, and grid storage solutions.
Production and cash flow to commence in 2017 and over $400 million were invested over 9 years providing the short timeline to production. In Phase 1: Li concentrate (spodumene) production is planned to be implemented while Phase 2 includes start of hydromet plant to produce battery grade LiCO3.
Uranium explorer Azincourt Energy announced it has signed a non-binding Letter of Intent with New Age Metals to acquire up to 100% interest in five lithium exploration projects located in the Winnipeg River Pegmatite Field, Manitoba, a province in the Canadian prairies.
The agreement covers the Lithium One, Lithium Two, Lithman West, Lithman East and Lithman North projects. According to Azincourt, the 6,000-hectare land package included in this agreement represents the largest mineral claim holdings of projects for the lithium group or type of minerals in the Bird River Greenstone Belt, which contains the Winnipeg River Pegmatite Field.
The Winnipeg River Pegmatite Field is host to numerous lithium-rich pegmatites in addition to the Tanco Pegmatite, a highly fractionated lithium-cesium-tantalum type pegmatite that has been mined at the Tanco Mine since 1969 for spodumene, tantalum, cesium, rubidium, and beryllium ores.
In the media statement, Azincourt revealed that the Lithium Two, Lithium One, and Lithman West projects are drill ready.
The Lithium Two historical estimate from drilling in 1947 -prior to the implementation of National Instrument 43-101 standards- defined 545,000 tonnes of 1.4% Li2O, drilled to a depth of 60 meters.
For the Lithium One project, field work in 2016 sampled pegmatitic granites and pegmatites which returned values from 0.00 to 4.33% Li2O.
Finally, the Lithman West project is said to show historical rock and soil geochemical anomalies but such anomalies have not been drill tested.
The company’s decision to expand its focus to include lithium and other materials is part of its strategy to get a foothold and exposure in such environment. “The lithium market is obviously very strong right now, and the near-term future for lithium demand remains extremely positive,” he said.
QMC Quantum Minerals
QMC Quantum Minerals Corp has managed to secure historic, largely-untapped lithium mine located in mining-friendly Manitoba, Canada.
QMC’s Irgon Lithium Mine Project, is located in an economically underdeveloped rural region of Manitoba and approximately 150 kilometres northeast of the provincial capital, Winnipeg.
Additionally, the Irgon Mine only covers a portion of QMC’s expansive property. This is significant because QMC not only has the historically identified, drill tested, spodumene mineralization (which is not currently a NI 43-101 compliant resource) defined within the Irgon Dike, but a search of old government assessment files covering past exploration within the area covered by the current property has determined that several more untested, potentially lithium-bearing pegmatitic dykes (slab-like rock structures) may exist on the property.
In other words, these other dykes which generally strike parallel to the Irgon Mine dyke may yet prove to be well-mineralized deposits in their own right; or they could be lateral extensions of the Irgon dyke.
Either way, company president Mr Balraj Mann is excited about the prospect of adding a lot more tonnage to the company’s lithium assets.
Mr Mann stated that “The Irgon Lithium Mine Project has a very high probability of rapidly increasing tonnage on strike and to depth.”
To this point, work crews are stripping away overburden that covers the Irgon Dyke in preparation for drilling of this lithium-bearing structure. Not only will this drill program test the deposit’s potential to depth, but it will also target the strike extensions of Irgon’s known surface parameters.
Additionally, a recent channel sampling program across the width of the dyke has been completed. Assay results may match or exceed the grades documented in the historic drill intersections and crosscut sampling confirming the presence of plenty on-surface, high-grade lithium (spodumene) mineralization.
In other words, the known deposit may yet prove to be a lot bigger than it was thought to be when it was originally commissioned as a mine in the 1950s.
Mr Mann continues that “Also, there are additional dykes on the property to explore that offer significant potential to be either connected to the Irgon Mine’s known mineral inventory or to be parallel lithium-bearing structures.”
Clean Commodities Corp.
Clean Commodities Corp. is currently developing plans for exploration programs at its Phoenix, Torp Lake and Juliet Lithium Projects.
During the first quarter of 2018, Clean Commodities Corp anticipates completing a conceptual exploration model at its Phoenix Lithium Projects (the Big Bird and Curlew lithium pegmatites) to validate a potential tonnage model supportive of aggressive follow-on exploration.
During mid-2018, the company intends to conduct field programs at the Phoenix Lithium Project and the Torp Lake Lithium Project to sample additional pegmatites within the area, as well as to further assess the Big Bird, Curlew and McAvoy lithium pegmatite bodies. Follow-up work may also include a diamond drilling program.
At the Juliet Lithium Project, the Corporation anticipates that a ground magnetic survey, trenching and rock sampling may form the basis of exploration at Juliet during 2018. Follow-up work may also include a diamond drilling program.
At the Whabouchi Regional Lithium Project, near-term exploration plans for the project by earn-in partner Cameo Resources Inc. are expected to be announced shortly.
- Phoenix Lithium Project
The Phoenix Lithium Project consists of six mineral claims encompassing 4,584 ha. The project is situated within 70 km of Rio Tinto’s majority-owned Diavik diamond mine and less than 60 km from the existing winter road infrastructure. Within the Phoenix area, historic prospecting has identified at least eight spodumene-bearing lithium pegmatites with the two most advanced being the Bird Bird Lithium Pegmatite and the Curlew Lithium Pegmatite.
The Bird Bird Lithium Pegmatite has been mapped over a strike length of 1,200 m and is up to 80 m wide.
Past drilling at the Big Bird Lithium Pegmatite included:
09PX01: 34.3 m of 1.24% Li2O.
09C01: 25.11 m of 1.37% Li2O
09C02: 8.57 m of 1.47% Li2O
09C03: 14.87 m of 1.72% Li2O & 6.65 m of 1.26% Li2O
- Torp Lake Lithium Project
The Trp Lake Lithium Project encompasses approximately 1,003 ha and is within 35 km to the west of tidewater at Bathurst Inlet. The project covers the McAvoy lithium pegmatite which has been observed over a strike length of 110 m, with widths of 10 to 15 m. Historic channel sampling returned:
6.0 m of 4.5% Li2O
7.0 m of 3.3% Li2O
Past work has included the liberation of spodumene from a bulk sample, which confirmed a high-purity lithium concentrate.
- Juliet Lithium Project
The Corporation’s Juliet Lithium Project is located in Quebec, Canada and is situated adjacent to Critical Element Corp.’s Rose Lithium Project. The project is 9,544 ha in scale.
A summer 2017 exploration program at the Juliet Lithium Project successfully identified a spodumene rich, mineralized boulder field with up to 1.65% Li2O.
The discovery is located less than 5 km to the northeast of Critical Rare Earth Elements Rose Lithium-Tantalum Deposit and proximal to other known and recently discovered lithium-tantalum pegmatites. The Corporation believes the boulders to be sourced in close proximity and from within tenure held by the company given the abundance, characteristics and metre-scale size of the boulders.
- Spodumene Lake and Dumont Lithium Projects
The Corporation’s Spodumene Lake and Dumont Lithium Projects (collective, the “Whabouchi Regional Lithium Project”) covers two tenure blocks: the Dumont block, covering 14,548 ha; and the Spodumene Lake block at 4,848 ha, both located in close proximity to Nemaska Lithium Inc. Inaugural exploration work at this lithium project last summer identified surface samples up to 344 ppm Li2O.
Meanwhile China extends its reach to Canada, propelled by insatiated demand.
China’s Tibet Summit Resources and its partner NextView Capital have agreed to buy Canadian lithium producer Lithium X for $C265m (USD $206m), the latest move by Chinese companies to secure battery raw materials for the world’s largest electric car market.
Lithium X will be delisted from the TSX Venture Exchange after the deal, Tibet Summit Resources said. Shares in Lithium X were halted for trading Monday.
The deal is the second investment by Beijing-based NextView Capital into battery metal lithium, following its agreement to buy a 20 per cent stake in London-listed Bacanora Minerals.
Chinese companies have been on a buying spree for lithium and cobalt companies over the past year, signing agreements for future supply of the metals. That’s come as carmakers have announced ambitious plans for electric vehicles in the country.
Lithium X has two lithium projects in Argentina’s Salta province, as well as a stake in Pure Energy Metals, which is developing a lithium project in Nevada.
Canadian developers of cobalt and lithium mines stand to benefit from a round of investments from the makers of electric vehicles and the batteries powering them, a potential game-changer for small miners short on money to develop deposits of these critical battery ingredients.
The interest in miners from downstream players along the battery supply chain — a new area of investment for most — would provide a lifeline to miners at time when equity funding for developers remains relatively tight after a five-year downturn on weak metals prices.
“We anticipate additional transactions in the coming months and years. It is a function of demand-supply imbalance,” said John Kanellitsas, president of Lithium Americas Corp, which raised nearly $300 million this year for a project in Argentina
A string of potential financing deals in Canada comes after a handful of predominantly lithium miners in Australia — the world’s biggest lithium producer — secured investment from mainly Chinese automakers and battery makers this year looking to lock in future raw material supply.
Lithium mine developers have been able to secure funding earlier than their cobalt peers as fears of a supply shortage started in late 2015, when cobalt was still in surplus.