Pantera Minerals to acquire Superbird partner Daytona Lithium, expanding tenure in emerging Smackover lithium precinct
Special Report: Pantera Minerals has moved to purchase 100% of its US lithium-focused partner Daytona Lithium and raise $2m to support land acquisitions in the Smackover formation, an emerging lithium brine precinct in Arkansas.
Pantera Minerals’ (ASX:PFE) is progressing its Superbird flagship lithium brine project at Smackover, where resources majors are descending to develop projects for the clean energy transition.
Superbird directly abuts ExxonMobil’s (NYSE:XON) 120,000 lithium brine project and is along trend from other big players Standard Lithium (NYSE:SLI), Tetra Technologies (NYSE:TTI) and Albemarle Corporation (NYSE:ALB).
Exxon is targeting 75,000-100,000tpa of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE), while Standard Lithium expects first production in 2025 for an average of 5,400tpa LCE over a minimum 25-year operating life.
Tetra currently produces bromine out of its Magnolia project and is investing US$540m to build a DLE test facility in the region.
Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee had recently underlined her ambitions to make the State a leading hub for the development of North America’s battery supply chain, saying its government is “moving at breakneck speed to become the lithium capital of America.”
Pantera first acquired a 35% interest in Daytona Lithium in August this year and has now pulled the trigger to acquire 100% of the company where it holds 9,440 acres at Smackover and is negotiating a further 7,000 for its portfolio.
The acquisition supported by a two tranche placement of 40,000,000 shares at A$0.05 per share to raise $2m, with an attaching option on a 1-for-2 basis at a strike price of A$0.10, with a 3-year term.
The funds will also be used to accelerate PFE’s Superbird, continued acreage acquisition, project exploration and development costs.
Meanwhile, the company is continuing discussions with direct lithium extraction (DLE) technology providers for the most robust methods of lithium from brine extraction from its tenure.
The company also welcomes brine expert Tim Goldsmith to the project team, ex-CEO of Rincon Mining, which was sold to Rio Tinto for US$825m.
PFE says Goldsmith undertook a complete review of available DLE technology at the time and was instrumental in directing Rincon’s project development team.
“For over 100 years, the Smackover Formation in Southern-USA has played an important role in America’s conventional energy economy, moreover, its well-known geology, straightforward permitting and existing infrastructure make it a prime area for Pantera to develop its lithium brine project, Pantera CEO Chris Hansen says.
“With the US turning its attention to the region to produce the critical minerals needed for the EV and battery revolution through production of its lithium rich saltwater brine, the company is walking in the valley of giants, directly competing with Exxon Mobil, Standard Lithium and Albemarle for access to the best ground in the region.”
PFE is working towards the releasing of lithium exploration target at Superbird and will commit resources to the re-entry of an already identified well to test brine grade, permeability and porosity, as well as DLE testing by two highly-regarded tech providers.
It will also acquire existing 2D Seismic data to facilitate subsurface modelling of the Superbird project’s area of interest.
This modelling, Pantera says, will provide it with clear drilling locations for the first resource definition wells as it continues acquiring additional project acreage.
“In the near-term we look forward to drilling wells and gathering samples to produce a resource and develop our knowledge of the extensive, porous, and permeable limestone aquifer, which is host to the lithium rich brine,” Hansen says.
“Longer term, the company has access to the technology that can extract lithium with fewer carbon emissions forming part of the industry that will strengthen supply security for the companies investing in EV and battery manufacturing facilities in North America.”
This article was developed in collaboration with Pantera Minerals, 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.