• Albemarle plans to build 100,000 tpa lithium plant in the US
  • Sayona and Piedmont approve $110 million plan to restart Canadian lithium mine
  • Pan Asia Metals releases mineral resource estimate for Reung Kiet

 

All your ASX lithium news for Tuesday, June 28

Lithium producer Albemarle is betting big on America’s electrification future, planning to build a 100,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) processing plant in the US.

Head of Albemarle’s lithium division Ed Norris told the Fastmarkets Lithium Supply and Battery Raw Materials conference in Arizona that the company has seen a major shift in the last nine months in the United States with an “unprecedented” number of EV manufacturing plants announced, which it believes will fuel a surge in lithium demand.

“There isn’t enough (lithium) supply yet to supply the ambitions of the US,” he said.

“This (processing plant) will be essential for our success in the future.”

Albemarle already supplies several major automakers including Tesla, and Norris said they are already active discussions with automakers around buying supply from the facility.

 

Boosting capacity to 500,000 tpa by 2030

The plant is part of the company’s aim to boost its overall lithium production capacity fivefold to 500,000 tonnes annually by 2030, and comes just weeks after the company said it might have to close its German plant if the EU declared lithium a hazardous material.

The US plant would be supplied from lithium from the company’s Kings Mountain mine in North Carolina, which is currently mothballed but may reopen as soon as 2027.

And unlike Piedmont Lithium’s nearby North Carolina mine, which is facing some regulatory and community hurdles, Kings Mountain would be a reopening of a facility that closed in the 1980s, which Norris expects to work in Albemarle’s favour.

“This is an existing mine in a town that is very mining oriented,” he said.

“We’re very present in the community.”

The US plant would also be a similar design – but cheaper – than the company’s recently opened Kemerton plant in WA where costs skyrocketed over the $1.2b budget.

The plan is to self-fund the facility, although Albemarle could apply for US Department of Energy loans.

 

Here’s how ASX lithium stocks were tracking today:

Lithium stocks missing from our list? Shoot a friendly mail to [email protected]

 

 

A total of 40 stocks were in the green today, 33 flatlined and 57 were in the red.

 

Who’s got news out today?

SAYONA MINING (ASX:SYA)

Sayona and Piedmont Lithium (ASX:PLL) have approved the North American Lithium (NAL) operation restart in Canada with a budget of around C$98m.

NAL is on track for resumption of spodumene concentrate production in first quarter 2023, with Sayona recruiting operating personnel and moving to secure major items of equipment early, before recent cost hikes.

“Importantly, we continue to work closely with both the Québec Government and Piedmont to take the next step of downstream processing,” Sayona MD Brett Lynch says.

“This will maximise local value‐add, delivering increased returns to shareholders, enhancing local employment and investment and minimising the carbon footprint in supplying North America’s battery industry compared to current imports.

“Combined with our emerging northern lithium hub, NAL will ensure Québec is at the centre of lithium carbonate and/or hydroxide production in North America, becoming the axis on which a successful battery ecosystem can be built.”

Following the restart of NAL operations, the offtake agreement with Piedmont entitles it to purchase the greater of 113,000 metric tons per year of spodumene concentrate, or 50% of production from NAL.

Prior to the NAL restart, the agreement provided for offtake of 60,000 tonnes or 50% of concentrate produced from ore mined at SYA’s nearby Authier Lithium Project.

 

PAN ASIA METALS (ASX:PAM)

The company has revealed the inaugural mineral resource estimate (MRE) for its Reung Kiet lithium prospect in Thailandof 10.4Mt grading 0.44% Li2O, 0.04% tin, 0.009% tantalum, 0.16% rubidium and 0.02% caesium, or about 113,000t of lithium carbonate equivalent.

It’s a solid milestone for PAM as it progresses towards a scoping study later this year.

Plus, the Reung Kiet mineralisation starts from surface – meaning it’s amendable to open cut mining.

The company is currently drilling two holes and could drill another 20 holes, which MD Paul Lock says should enable the company to report an upraded MRE later this year.

“Upon completion of drilling at Reung Kiet we will move the drilling rigs to the Bang I Tum Prospect, where the program will continue the investigative drilling commenced early in 2021, which identified a pegmatite dyke swarm which is greater than 100m in width.”

 

GLOBAL LITHIUM RESOURCES (ASX:GL1)

GL1 says the first lithium assay results from its initial RC drilling program at the Manna Project in WA has intersected “significant” intervals of lithium mineralisation and further the orebody at depth, which remains open.

Diamond drilling has now commenced at Manna, with the aim of testing and expanding the deposit at depth below the RC program.

Results are expected in Q3 2022, with a mineral resource updated expected to follow along with metallurgical test work in Q4.

 

SIPA RESOURCES (ASX:SRI)

Sipa has identified lithium drill targets via aircore drilling at its Skeleton Rocks project in WA and is planning a follow-up drill program in Q3 or Q4.

The target areas comprise elevated levels of lithium and other pegmatite-associated metals, which Sipa says could represent the geochemical ‘halo’ to lithium mineralisation.

The follow-up drilling will comprise a series of deeper holes angled to the northeast directly under the geochemical anomalies.

MD Pip Darvall says the new targets are encouraging, particularly given the location of the project – with active lithium xploration underway immediately to the east and lithium resource being developed 30km to the southeast at the Mt Holland project – which is currently being developed as part of a joint venture between Wesfarmers and Chilean mining major Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A. (SQM).

 

SYA, PLL, PAM, GL1 and SRI share prices today:

 

At Stockhead we tell it like it is. While Pan Asia Metals is a Stockhead advertiser, it did not sponsor this article.