Brazil’s lithium rule relaxation a boost for Oceana’s Solonopole plans
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Recent moves to relax rules around lithium exports from Brazil highlight the nation’s commitment to becoming a major player in the sector, according to recently listed Oceana Lithium.
Oceana (ASX:OCN), which listed on July 1 and is exploring for lithium at its flagship Solonopole project in Brazil’s Ceara State, could stand to be one of the major ASX listed beneficiaries of Brazil’s willingness to facilitate a local lithium industry.
That willingness was highlighted by a government executive order last week which removed the need for Brazilian lithium exports to be approved by the Science and Technology Ministry’s nuclear energy committee.
The announcement was followed up by commentary from Brazilian Mines and Energy Minister Adolfo Sachsida, who told Reuters that he expected the measure to move lithium investments in Eastern Europe and Asia towards Brazil instead.
The minister was reported describing Brazil as a lithium “safe haven” – music to the ears of anyone looking to do lithium business in the South American nation.
Oceana has enjoyed a strong start to listed life, and chairman Gino Vitale told Stockhead that the latest rhetoric from Brazil served as a further boost.
“The recent signals sent by the Brazilian government augur well for the country’s lithium industry and for Oceana, as we commence exploration of our Solonopole project in Ceara State,” he said.
“There is a clear belief at government level that Brazil can become a global player in lithium production.
“Oceana shares that view and looks forward to playing a part in the country’s progression to that status.”
Vitale said Oceana believed Brazil had huge potential to contribute lithium on a global scale.
“Though richly endowed and second only to Australia in bulk export commodities like high grade iron ore, Brazil is relatively under-explored compared to Australia and there is a huge amount of untapped potential,” he said.
“Easing the rules around lithium exports makes sense to attract investment in exploration and incentivise efforts to identify new lithium resources.”
Oceana’s Solonopole project permits cover historic artisanal mine sites previously mined for lithium, tantalum, niobium and tin to less than 10m vertical depth.
The project boasts more than 17km of intermittent outcropping lithium-bearing pegmatites, just three hours by sealed road from Fortaleza port.
The pegmatites are currently being mapped, with infill soil geochemistry across a 50m-by-50m grid also being carried out by Oceana’s in-country team.
While Oceana is relatively early to the game and a first mover in Ceara, it’s not the only company which sees potential in the Brazilian lithium space.
The nation is already a well-established producer of lithium concentrates, with integrated mining operations run by AMG Mineração, a subsidiary of Netherlands based AMG Advanced Metallurgical Group N.V., at its Mibra Mine in the southern state of Minas Gerais, and Companhia Brasileira de Lítio at its Mina da Cachoeira also in Minas Gerais.
These players will soon be joined by TSX and Nasdaq-listed Sigma Lithium Corporation, which is developing the Grota do Cirilo project in Minas Gerais.
Grota do Cirilo will be the largest hard-rock lithium deposit in the Americas, with plans to produce 531,000 tonnes per annum of battery-grade lithium concentrate – a figure which would potentially make it the world’s fourth largest lithium producer.
Moves to relax lithium export rules could prompt even more investment in the months and years to come.
This article was developed in collaboration with Oceana Lithium, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.