Eye on Lithium: Things could get more challenging on the supply side as Chile looks to nationalise lithium resources
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All your ASX lithium news for Wednesday, March 9.
It looks like Chile is one step closer to nationalising its vast mineral reserves after approving a motion by the environmental committee targeting large-scale mining of copper, lithium and gold.
The country hosts around 8 million tonnes of lithium, a substantial amount more than Australia’s 2.7 million tonnes, Argentina’s 2 million tonnes and China’s 1 million tonnes.
The proposal is yet to be approval by two thirds of the full assembly to become part of Chile’s new charter – which will be put to the nation in a national referendum later this year.
But it’s a move that could spook private investors.
Chile already owns all the underlying mineral rights, and with this new proposal could revoke concessions near glaciers and indigenous lands, as well as requiring projects from before 1993 would need to submit to environmental evaluation within three years.
As if things couldn’t get more challenging on the mining supply side….even old-school Chilean socialist politicians from the ’70s are spooked by what’s being proposed, describing it as as “a delirious return to the past.” https://t.co/dsMQ6OVhy1
— Gavin Wendt (@MineLifeReport) March 8, 2022
A good day for ASX lithium stocks. 52 stocks were in the green today, with 34 flatlining and only 9 in the red.
The developer’s Carlton deposit at the Finniss project in the NT is continuing to deliver high-grade intersections, with new assays including:
The intersections are outside and near the boundary of the current mineral resource at Carlton of 3.02 Mt at 1.28% Li2O – and are expected to deliver substantial extensions.
“The Carlton deposit is a key component of the under-construction Finniss Project, and we look forward to delivering an updated Mineral Resource estimate in the coming months,” MD Stephen Biggins said.
“This, in combination with the recommencement of exploration and resource drilling, is in line with our stated strategy of further expand the mine life of the Finniss Project.”
Resource growth and exploration drilling is set to recommence at the project in Q2, with Finniss on track to produce first concentrate in Q4.
The company says its progressed its Rincon project in Argentina, with plant and equipment manufacturing, procurement and delivery works proceeding for development of the small 2,000tpa lithium carbonate production operation.
The German manufactured dryer/evaporator and vibrator equipment has also been delivered to site.
The remaining offshore plant and equipment items, such as the press and belt filters procured and fabricated in Asia, have an estimated delivery into Argentina during April (subject to no shipping delays).
“Each phase of completed works gets us closer to becoming only the 2nd ASX-listed battery quality lithium carbonate producer and cashflow generator during a period of record-high lithium prices, whilst also progressing toward the next stage 12,000tpa scale operations and beyond,” MD Jerko Zuvela said.
“We look forward to achieving our upcoming targets and commencing production operations this year at our Rincon Lithium Project.”
The company has finally been granted the Barrow Creek lithium project exploration licence for 6 years by the NT Mines Department.
Executive director Gino D’Anna said this paves the way for the company to continue its accelerated exploration strategy at the project.
“Previous field exploration has identified fertile pegmatites with assay results of up to 817ppm lithium, and we have recently completed a further exploration campaign consisting of detail surface mapping and sampling,” he said.
“We expect to receive the assay results from our Phase II exploration campaign during April 2022, and the company is eagerly preparing for its inaugural RC drilling campaign on the Barrow Creek lithium project.”
The explorer has identified a strong lithium anomaly at its Bridgetown East project, around 20kms from the Greenbushes lithium mine in WA.
The anomaly (95ppm to 148ppm, equivalent to the top 2% of the data) measures approx. 300m x 400m, remaining open to the north.
And it’s associated with elevated tin, tungsten and tantalum concentrations to the west.
The company says that at this early stage of exploration, it remains open whether the anomaly is in any way genetically related to the Greenbushes pegmatite.
Detailed follow-up fieldwork is planned, including drilling.
The company has switched gears, going from operating coal mines in QLD and NSW for the last 40 years to looking for lithium opportunities.
IA is keen to invest in development projects that would transform its domestic business – and leverage the expertise of its Japanese parent company’s advanced research facilities for lithium-ion battery materials.
“Fast growing demand for rechargeable lithium batteries is fuelling the race for critical minerals but the next major challenge will be steering some exciting lithium developments from exploration, project evaluation into production and export to realise their full potential,” CEO Steve Kovac said.
“Idemitsu is in a unique position in that we can provide access to future debt financing, more than a century of expertise in resources development and delivering energy solutions globally, and access to leading edge battery materials R&D.”
“Idemitsu Kosan has a long history with renewable energy projects in Japan and we are keen to leverage that capability to partner and accelerate development of an Australian lithium project.”