Lithium demand is only set to accelerate. In fact, according to Morningstar.com, “Rising electric vehicle adoption and the increasing buildout of energy storage systems will keep lithium demand growing to surpass 1 million metric tons in 2024, from 800,000 in 2022, eventually hitting 2.5 million metric tons by 2030. While we see rising supply, we think enough projects will face delays to maintain a market deficit as demand grows.” That’s bullish news for companies like LI-FT Power Ltd. (CSE: LIFT) (OTCQX: LIFFF), Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB), Lithium Americas (NYSE: LAC) (TSX: LAC), American Lithium Corp. (NASDAQ: AMLI) (TSXV: LI), and Piedmont Lithium (NASDAQ: PLL).
In addition, according to Mining-Technology.com, “There were 45 lithium mines operating globally in 2022, with a further 11 planned to open this year, and an additional seven in 2024, but this will not be enough. Even if more raw lithium is sourced from additional mines, there may be a potential shortage of facilities used to refine the metal to battery-grade materials.”
Look at Li-FT Power Ltd. (CSE: LIFT) (OTCQX: LIFFF), For Example
Li-FT Power Ltd. reported assays from 5 drill holes completed at the Ki and BIG East pegmatites within the Yellowknife Lithium Project (“YLP”) located outside the city of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories (Figure 1). Drilling has intersected significant intervals of spodumene mineralization, with the following highlights:
– YLP-0109: 18 m at 1.75% Li2O, (BIG East)
including: 10 m at 1.65% Li2O
including: 5 m at 1.36% Li2O
– YLP-0066: 10 m at 1.40% Li2O, (BIG East)
and: 10 m at 1.28% Li2O
– YLP-0069: 10 m at 0.96% Li2O, (Ki)
Francis MacDonald, CEO of LIFT comments, “We are pleased to see more very high-grade results coming from BIG East. Last week we released holes YLP-0092 which intersected 18 metres at 1.79% Li2O which is located in the southwestern portion of the dyke system. This week’s highlight of 18 metres at 1.75% Li2O in hole YLP-0109 is located in the northeastern portion of the dyke swarm, almost 500 metres away. This shows the potential to have multiple high-grade zones within the BIG East pegmatite system.
Discussion of Results
This week’s drill results are for three holes from the BIG East pegmatite (YLP-0066, 68, 109) and the first two holes from the Ki pegmatite (YLP-0067, 69). A table of composite calculations and some general comments related to this discussion are provided towards the end of this section.
The BIG East pegmatite swarm comprises a 35-80 m wide corridor of parallel-trending dykes that dips around 55°-75° degrees west and extends for at least 1,000 metres along surface and 200 metres downdip.
YLP-0066 was designed to test the BIG East swarm approximately 100 m from its northern end and 50 vertical metres beneath the surface. Drilling intersected three, 4-14 m wide, pegmatite dykes over 41 m of core length with the lower two returning assay intervals of 1.28% Li2O over 10 m and 1.40% Li2O over 10 m. The upper-most dyke returned negligible results.
YLP-0109 was collared 50 m south of YLP-0066 to test BIG East pegmatite approximately 150 m from its northern end and 50 vertical metres beneath the surface. Drilling intersected a 19 m wide dyke flanked by 1-4 m wide dykes on both sides, with the thick central dyke returning 1.75% Li2O over 18 m. No significant grades were returned from the thinner flanking dykes.
YLP-0068 was collared 550 m south of YLP-0109 to test the BIG East swarm approximately 300 m from its southern end and 100 to 150 m vertically beneath the surface. Drilling intersected five pegmatite dykes over 71 m of core length from 85-166 m depth, comprising a 26 m wide central pegmatite flanked by 1-9 m wide dykes on either side. The central dyke returned a wall-to-wall composite of 1.02% Li2O over 26 m that includes subintervals of 1.65% Li2O over 10 m and 1.36% Li2O over 5 m. Results from the four narrower flanking dykes were insignificant.
This news release provides the first 2023 drilling results from the Ki pegmatite dyke, which comprises an approximately 20 m thick pegmatite flanked by one or more 1-5 m wide dykes. The main dyke dips 65°-80° to the southwest and extends for at least 600 metres on surface and 100 metres downdip.
YLP-0067 was drilled to test the Ki dyke approximately 225 m from its southern end and 25 vertical metres below the surface. Drilling intersected 19 m of pegmatite from 9 to 28 m core depth in addition to a 1 m wide flanking dyke from 30-31 metres. Assays returned 1.08% Li2O over 12 metres whereas the flanking dyke returned insignificant grades.
YLP-0069 was collared 50 m northwest of YLP-0067 to test the Ki dyke approximately 275 m from its southern end and 25 m vertically beneath the surface. Drilling intersected 20 m of pegmatite from 6-26 m core depth in addition to a 2 m flanking dyke from 29-31 m. Assays from the main dyke returned 0.96% Li2O over 10 m whereas the flanking dyke returned insignificant grades.
Drilling Progress Update
Currently, LIFT has reported results from 72 diamond drill holes (12,689 metres). To date, 195 diamond drill holes have been completed (33,184 metres).
Other related developments from around the markets include:
Albemarle Corporation signed agreements with Caterpillar Inc. to collaborate on solutions to support the full circular battery value chain and sustainable mining operations. The collaboration aims to support Albemarle’s efforts to establish Kings Mountain, N.C. as the first-ever zero-emissions lithium mine site in North America. These efforts include utilization of next-generation, battery-powered mining equipment. Caterpillar and Albemarle signed an agreement making Albemarle’s North American-produced lithium available for use in Caterpillar battery production. The two companies will also explore opportunities to collaborate on research and development of battery cell technology and recycling techniques.
Lithium Americas, now Lithium Americas (Argentina) Corp. and a new Lithium Americas Corp. jointly announced the completion of the reorganization of Lithium Americas into two independent publicly traded companies, implemented by way of statutory plan of arrangement. “We look forward to seeing these two market-leading companies thrive independently,” said Jonathan Evans, President and CEO of Lithium Americas (NewCo) and former President and CEO of Lithium Americas. “The Separation offers investors two unique and highly focused pure-play lithium companies with world-class assets in our respective regions of operation.”
American Lithium Corp. announced a new lithium discovery from the initial drill hole completed at one of the key discovery targets previously identified from 2021 field work conducted near the Community of Quelcaya. Further holes have been drilled near this discovery with identical geology to the discovery hole and full assays expected shortly. The Quelcaya exploration project comprises 3 areas of mapped surface lithium mineralization located 5.5 to 11 km west of the Company’s Falchani lithium deposit near the village of Quelcaya in Puno, southeastern Peru (see Figure 1 – Quelcaya – Falchani Drill Platform Location Map, below). Quelcaya was the first of three exploration drilling permits submitted by the Company, which was granted by the Peruvian Ministry of Energy and Mines (MINEM) in May 2023. Drilling continues in and around Quelcaya with 6 drill hole platforms planned in total, each with multiple holes.
Piedmont Lithium announced a strategic investment in a large prospective lithium project in Newfoundland, Canada. Piedmont has agreed to pay C$2 million for a 19.9% equity interest in Vinland Lithium Inc., a new entity established with Sokoman Minerals Corp. (40.1%) and Benton Resources Inc. (40.1%). The Company also may earn up to a 62.5% equity interest in Killick Lithium Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vinland Lithium holding a 100% interest in the Killick Lithium Project, through a staged investment agreement. Piedmont will be entitled to 100% marketing rights and a right of first refusal on 100% offtake rights to any lithium concentrate produced by the Project on a life-of-mine basis at competitive commercial rates.
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