Eye on Lithium: Godfather of lithium dies aged 100, while Allkem breathes new life into Mt Cattlin
All your lithium news, Wednesday June 28.
One door shuts, while another one opens in this crazy world of critical minerals.
While we can celebrate the amazing run lithium is currently on at the moment (and you bet we will as often as possible), we can also celebrate the life of the “godfather of lithium” Prof. John B. Goodenough – who passed away this week, aged 100.
The oldest Nobel laureate in history received recognition for the invention of the lithium-ion battery, ground-breaking work that is intrinsic to today’s world of smartphones, battery storage and the explosion of the lithium sector.
Prof. Goodenough shared the prize with Japanese chemist Yoshino Akira, who also made breakthroughs with lithium-ion battery technology.
In 1980, he developed a lithium battery with a cathode of cobalt oxide, which, at a molecular level, has spaces that can house lithium ions. This cathode gave a higher voltage than earlier batteries.
“John’s legacy as a brilliant scientist is immeasurable – his discoveries improved the lives of billions of people around the world,” University of Texas (UT) Austin President Jay Hartzell said.
“He was a leader at the cutting edge of scientific research throughout the many decades of his career, and he never ceased searching for innovative energy-storage solutions.”
Born in 1922 in Germany, Goodenough grew up in the northeastern United States and attended the Groton School in Massachusetts.
In 1944, he earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Yale University. After serving as a meteorologist in the US Army, Goodenough returned to complete a master’s degree and PhD in 1952, both in physics from the University of Chicago.
At the University of Chicago, he studied under Nobel laureate Enrico Fermi and John A. Simpson, both of whom worked on the Manhattan Project. His doctoral adviser was renowned physicist Clarence Zener.
Back to the current world of lithium, and Allkem (ASX:AKE) has delivered a new lease on life to its Mt Cattlin lithium mine on WA’s South Coast recently, extending its mine life to 2028 with plans to study a longer future as an underground operation.
The lithium producer has sidled up with mining contractor NRW Holdings (ASX:NWH) in a $332m deal for NRW to provide loading, haulage drill and blast and material rehandling using an existing fleet of 200-250t excavators and 150t trucks, starting in August.
LRS reckons its Salinas project is now worthy of being labelled a “district scale” lithium operation after hitting multiple spodumene pegmatites in reconnaissance diamond drilling along strike southwest of its Colina pegmatite system, making a significant extension up to 26km.
Three out of four holes completed to date struck shallow east dipping, course grained spodumene-rich pegmatites, with visual observations identifying 32.69m of mineralisation in the first hole drilled.
Drilling along strike from Colina is ongoing, as are regional diamond drilling programs at both the southwest geophysical target and at its Fog’s Block tenement.
LRS VP Tony Greenaway said his team said the significant new discoveries by the Salinas exploration crew demonstrates their strong understanding of the regional controls to mineralisation within the district.
“The latest drilling intersections validate our regional interpretation of a large, mineralised pegmatite system potentially extending up to 26km to the southwest of our flagship Colina deposit and provides Latin with a very clear pathway for further resource expansion,” Greenaway said.
“While these early drill core observations are extremely encouraging, we are still waiting for assay results and need to fully evaluate this information within the context of all our drilling results to fully understand the larger regional system.
“We will continue to drill test these newly identified areas in parallel with the ongoing infill and systematic step-out drilling at Colina itself, with the aim of growing the existing 45 Mt resource base at Colina.”
Salinas, in Brazil’s emerging and lucrative Minas Gerais mining district, has a defined MRE of 45.2Mt @ 1.32% Li2O, above a 0.5% cut-off grade and believes it has a Tier 1 lithium asset on its hands.
Assay results are expected in about four weeks’ time.
RDN has snapped up five tenements in the highly-prospective Andover lithium complex surrounding Azure Minerals’ recently discovered lithium resource.
It has acquired an 80% interest for $415,000 in cash and shares for tenements northwest and southwest of the known Andover strike corridor and are adjacent to the company’s Roeburne lithium project.
RDN MD Dusko Ljubojevic said the purchase positions Raiden with a prospective lithium portfolio in the district and complements its other projects.
“The recent lithium discovery by Azure Minerals has positioned the Pilbara as one of the most desired jurisdictions for lithium explorers.
“The project area is also considered highly prospective for nickel sulphide mineralisation, with two of the tenements being adjacent to the high-grade Andover/Ridgeline deposit.
“The nickel sulphide potential of these tenements provides further upside potential to the company’s flagship Mt Sholl nickel-sulphide deposit, located in the same district.”
Plans for evaluation and field work of these recent acquisitions, along with the remaining projects in the Pilbara, are ongoing.
VSR is continuing to prove up its pegmatite targets in the emerging Gascoyne lithium precinct in WA, hitting multiple stacked pegmatites at depth.
Its Ti Tree North and Ti Tree South deposits, which surround Delta Lithium’s (ASX:DLI) Yinnietharra lithium project, have been pegged for further drilling as VSR believes there’s a lot more lithium to be found.
Ten priority targets have been identified so far within Ti Tree South – which hosts the Andrada prospect where current drilling is focused – together with an additional eight targets at Ti Tree North.
VSR is targeting a 25,000m drilling campaign across both Ti Tree North and Ti Tree South.
“We have 18 priority target areas identified across the entire project and this will only increase as airborne geophysics and photogrammetry surveys are completed over the coming weeks,” Walshe said.
“Planning is underway for systematic and extensive drill programs across our north and south tenements, and shareholders can look forward to several quarters of highly active exploration-focused news flow.”
CVR’s tenements just south of Wesfarmers’ (ASX:WES) high-grade Mt Holland project look to have shallow lithium, caesium and tantalum (LCT) from initial shallow sampling.
Early days soil sampling at Ella’s Rock project took 1,810 surficial soil samples over 8,000ha at untested areas, and with the findings CVR is planning to advance its exploration efforts to testing LCT pegmatite potential with further detailed groundwork and acquisition of permits prior to a maiden drilling campaign.
“We are still in the early stages of exploration of the area, but the implications of these findings from the shallow soils program are highly promising,” the company stated.
At Stockhead, we tell it like it is. While Latin Resources, Cavalier Resources and Voltaic Strategic Resources are Stockhead advertisers, they did not sponsor this article.