‘Spodumene crystals are massive’: Solis’ Matt Boyes on why Brazil will be the next lithium hotspot
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Lithium’s ‘flavour of the month’ Solis Minerals (ASX:SLM) (TSX.V: SLMN) is up ~570% and counting since announcing the purchase of the Jaguar lithium project in Brazil late May.
At Jaguar – located in Bahia state — the company says there are rock chips grading up to 4.95% Li2O along a 1km long, 50m wide spodumene-rich pegmatite body.
“The Jaguar pegmatite hosts confirm LCT-bearing pegmatites with some of the coarsest and most abundant spodumene occurrences I have seen,” former Delta Lithium (ASX:DLI) boss and current SLM exec director Matt Boyes says.
It then raised $8.1m at a modest ~7% discount to the last traded price, with big brother and fellow Brazilian lithium play Latin Resources (ASX:LRS) increasing its investment in SLM to 17.79% as part of the placement.
Drilling is already underway. It also has a lithium project in northern Brazil called Borborema and several additional acquisitions in the pipeline.
Stockhead chats with Boyes about Brazil’s status as an emerging significant player in the hard rock lithium space.
“I saw an opportunity when I joined, I said to Chris [Gale, Latin Resources] ‘I’m going to go find another set of assets similar to Latin’, and I think we found them,” Boyes says.
“I’ve been flat out in Brazil trying pin down some more assets.
“We have this one secured, we are picking up some more ground around it, and we have another two to come in. It’s looking good.”
“Jaguar is exciting because it is the first asset in Bahia province in Brazil which has been identified as having a LCT-bearing pegmatite sticking out of the ground,” Boyes says.
“When you have a look at it, you have a central core zone of the pegmatite which looks to be 50m wide.
“The spodumene crystals on that are massive.
“It’s early days yet but it looks to be an outcropping system that could be very large, metallurgically simple, on a mining lease, and close to infrastructure. That’s why we like it.”
“The interest was phenomenal, and we didn’t go out to anywhere near the number of people we could’ve,” Boyes says.
“We could’ve taken a lot more money than we did.
“There used to be a bit of a discount with Brazil but now, with Sigma Lithium coming online and Latin being the next cab off the rank, I think Brazil is going to be hub for spodumene production over the next few years.
“It could potentially be on par with Australia with the amount of pegmatites there, they are literally everywhere.
“And you can see that now with all the interest there is in Brazil, companies looking to acquire lithium assets. People are swarming all over these outcropping pegmatites.”
“Without a doubt. That’s what given people the faith to invest in lithium assets in Brazil,” Boyes says.
“The country is going to through a bit of a mining investment renaissance, and it’s a great example of what can be done. Everyone is benefitting.”
“We have a foot on two or three really cracking projects. We are also trying to negotiate others, but there are people coming at the owners from all angles,” Boyes says.
“The prices are just going exponential as you are trying to close a deal.
“There is a lot of interest from North America. American juniors, Canadian juniors are throwing big money at assets in Brazil, so you must make sure you have a network in place, people that can get these assets to you ahead of the next guy.
“A lot of juniors, like Lithium Ionic (TSX.V:LTH) and Atlas Lithium (NASDAQ:ATLX), have high valuations of the back off their ground in Brazil.”
“The strategy now is to prove up a resource at one of the assets. We want to drill, and acquire new tenements,” Boyes says.
“Growth is a key for us. We want to grow, we want to grow our ground on both projects so we can get two teams on the ground – one in Borborema, and one in Bahia.
“Both areas have huge potential. Both areas have never been drilled. And both have pegmatites with spodumene sticking out of the ground on granted mining leases.
“We think there are huge potential for us to put runs on the board very quickly.
“We will be drilling at Jaguar first. We will have our first core come out of the ground, hopefully if all goes well, before the end of June. Hopefully we get a cracking result with our first drill program there.
“Then just keep moving, don’t stop. Hopefully get a resource out by the end of the year if we can put enough holes into these things.”