Sunday 25th June 2017

Resource Clips

Posts tagged ‘lithium’

Visual Capitalist: How copper riches helped shape Chile’s economic story

June 21st, 2017

by Jeff Desjardins | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist | June 21, 2017

Although Chile has always been noted for its abundant mineral wealth, the country was actually not a notable copper producer even at the beginning of the 20th century.

In 1907, for example, the United States was able to produce nearly 14 times as much copper as Chile. The reality was that shortages in capital, organization and water kept the country’s massive, low-grade deposits from being developed at any significant scale.

The copper standard

Things would change dramatically for Chile. The country has been the world’s top copper producer now for over 30 years, and today close to 50% of the country’s exports come from copper-related products.

This infographic comes from Altiplano Minerals TSXV:APN and it tells the story of how Chile tapped into its copper wealth to become the richest and freest economy in Latin America.


How copper riches helped shape Chile’s economic story


New milling technology, economic reforms and increasing investment attractiveness were catalysts that turned Chile into a copper powerhouse. In turn, copper exports helped propel the Chilean economy to new heights.

“The miracle of Chile”

This incredible leap can be summed up aptly with two facts:

1) Copper production went from under one million tonnes per year (late 1970s) to over five million tonnes per year (2000s).

2) Despite this massive rise, copper as a percentage of exports fell. It went from a peak of 80% of exports to more like 50% today.

Over this time, as the economy diversified, Chilean GDP per capita (PPP) gained massive ground on the Latin American average and passed it in the early 1990s.

Chile’s GDP per capita today is the highest in Latin America of major economies:


  GDP per capita (2015, PPP)
Chile $24,170
Argentina $22,459
Mexico $18,370
Venezuela $17,430
Brazil $15,941
Colombia $14,164
Peru $12,639
Ecuador $11,839
Guatemala $7,704


That said, critics of Chile’s economy will point to its inequality. The country’s Gini Coefficient, according to the World Bank, is higher (less equal) than only a handful of Latin American and Caribbean economies: Panama, Belize, Haiti, Suriname, Honduras and Colombia.

Mining in Chile today

Today, Chile’s mines produce copper, gold, molybdenum, iron and silver. The country also produces more lithium than any country from its salars.

The country is the world’s undisputed copper heavyweight champion—it’s been the top producer for 30-plus years and holds an impressive seven of the world’s top 14 copper mines. The biggest mine, Escondida, produces over a million tonnes of the red metal each year, equal to 5% of the world’s annual copper supply.

The copper crown is likely to be held by Chile in the future, as well. According to the Chilean Copper Commission (Cochilco), between 2000 and 2015 about 35 copper deposits and three gold deposits were discovered in central-north Chile. They increased the country’s resources by 208.6 million tons of copper and 34.3 million ounces of gold.

The new copper discovered is roughly equal to 30% of global discoveries over the same time period.

Posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.

Voltaic Minerals encouraged by lithium brine extraction tests

June 15th, 2017

by Greg Klein | June 15, 2017

The goal of quicker, cheaper lithium extraction came closer as Voltaic Minerals TSXV:VLT announced progress on a new technique to separate the battery mineral from brines. Conducted by Lithium Selective Technologies at its northern California facility, initial tests produced significant enhancement of lithium concentration and lithium-calcium ratios, LiST stated. The company’s staff have over 85 combined years of related experience.

Voltaic Minerals encouraged by lithium brine extraction tests

Lithium occurs with other minerals in an over-
saturated brine at Voltaic’s Green Energy project in Utah.

Their tests apply techniques already used commercially in mineral extraction and water treatment but new to lithium production. The techniques were adapted to an artificial brine based on historic fluid analysis from Voltaic’s Green Energy project in Utah.

Historic data from oil and gas exploration shows lithium-bearing brine originating from clastic units on the 1,683-hectare property, where the company hopes to begin sampling this summer.

“We are extremely optimistic that increased selectivity performance and concentration enhancement can be expected as optimization testing proceeds,” said William Bourcier of LiST.

As research continues, the two companies have extended their exclusivity agreement while a definitive agreement could follow further tests. Meanwhile the initial results will undergo third-party verification. The final outcome could be marketed to other lithium brine projects.

“If successful, this process could create value from known resources in the U.S. and globally,” added Voltaic project manager and 35-year chemical engineer Tom Currin.

Read more about Voltaic Minerals and the selective extraction project.

Castle Silver Resources samples 1.8% cobalt and 8.6% nickel at former silver mine

June 12th, 2017

by Greg Klein | June 12, 2017

High-grade silver distracted previous operators of Ontario’s Castle mine from high-grade cobalt and nickel, says the current project operator. Among the evidence are initial chip sample results from an underground program at Castle Silver Resources’ (TSXV:CSR) property, about 80 kilometres northwest of the historic Cobalt camp. The first five samples averaged 1.06% cobalt, 5.3% nickel and 17.5 g/t silver, with the three best assays showing:

  • 1.8% cobalt, 8.6% nickel and 25.2 g/t silver

  • 1.6% cobalt, 7.6% nickel and 32 g/t silver

  • 0.81% cobalt, 5.9% nickel and 4.1 g/t silver
Castle Silver Resources samples 1.8% cobalt and 8.6% nickel at former silver mine

Pinkish alteration reveals cobalt mineralization
just inside an adit at the former Castle silver mine.

The samples were selective “and should not be considered representative of the mineralization hosted within the target area,” the company pointed out. The samples were composites taken from a 200-kilogram bulk sample extracted a short distance inside the adit.

As reported last week, the remainder will go through the company’s proprietary Re-2OX hydrometallurgical process to produce cobalt powder samples for battery manufacturers.

Castle Silver has also been testing Re-2OX for its recycling potential in recovering lithium-cobalt from Li-ion batteries. The process “is designed for high recovery of multiple metals and elements, opening opportunities that simply didn’t exist decades ago at this mine or throughout the northern Ontario silver-cobalt district,” said president/CEO Frank Basa.

The 3,252-hectare project’s former mine consists of “11 levels covering a footprint 727 metres east-west, 455 metres north-south and 258 metres deep,” he added.

Lying under much of the property is the 300‐metre-thick Nipissing diabase intrusive, which Castle Silver interprets as a potential heat source “that mobilized various metals—notably, of course, silver intimately associated with cobalt, but also gold, copper, zinc and nickel.”

Underground bulk sampling continues as the company also builds a 3D model from historic data.

With an oversubscribed second tranche that closed last month, Castle Silver has so far raised a total of $966,500 from a private placement offer that’s been increased to $1.2 million.

Castle Silver also holds a 100% option on the Beaver and Violet cobalt-silver properties hosting former mines near the town of Cobalt, 80 kilometres southeast.

Read about cobalt supply and demand.

Chris Berry discusses how ever-cheaper batteries will encourage EV ownership

June 7th, 2017

…Read more

Pegmatite scientists to accompany Far Resources’ field crew on Manitoba lithium project

June 7th, 2017

by Greg Klein | June 7, 2017

Far Resources CSE:FAT returns to its Zoro hard rock lithium property in mid-June, this time with two highly respected pegmatite scientists. Dr. Robert Linnen of the University of Western Ontario and Dr. Tania Martins of the Manitoba Geological Survey will accompany the crew “to evaluate the possibility of academic research of the Zoro pegmatite system,” Far Resources announced.

Pegmatite scientists to accompany Far Resources’ field crew on Manitoba lithium project

The company’s agenda for the Snow Lake-region project calls for mapping and prospecting, mineralogical and geochemical research, upgrading the 3D model for Dyke #1 and examining the property’s six other known spodumene-bearing pegmatite dykes.

The program should ready the project for another round of drilling on Dyke #1 and an eventual 43-101 technical report.

Released last week, assays from the seven-hole, 1,088-metre Phase II drill campaign reached up to 1.2% Li2O over 38.3 metres and 1.7% over 10.7 metres.

Last month the company took on an accelerated payment plan to hasten Zoro’s 100% acquisition and drop the price by $200,000. Also last month, Far Resources closed an oversubscribed private placement of $315,000.

92 Resources begins frac sand field work while advancing lithium metallurgy

June 6th, 2017

by Greg Klein | June 6, 2017

With a crew already en route, 92 Resources TSXV:NTY has a 10-day exploration program about to begin on its Golden frac sand project in eastern British Columbia. A team from Dahrouge Geological Consulting will undertake further mapping and sampling for a 43-101 technical report. While the company’s focus remains the Hidden Lake lithium project in the Northwest Territories, 92 Resources sees potential in another energy-related commodity.

92 Resources begins frac sand field work while advancing lithium metallurgy

“Despite fluctuating oil and gas prices, North American demand for frac sand is exceptionally robust and there remains a nearly non-existent domestic supply of high-quality proppant within Canada,” said president/CEO Adrian Lamoureux.

Close to the Alberta border and with nearby roads, the property’s located five kilometres from Golden, B.C., on the Canadian Pacific main line. Adjacent to the property is Heemskirk Canada’s Moberly project, a former producer of silica sand for the glass industry that’s now being redeveloped as a frac sand production and processing operation. The parent company, Heemskirk Consolidated, is the object of a takeover bid by Northern Silica, held by Taurus Resources No. 2 Fund.

Running through the 3,211-hectare Golden property is an 18-kilometre strike of the Mount Wilson formation, described as hosting high-purity, white, quartzite and friable sandstones. Four samples collected in 2014 showed silica content averaging 98.6% SiO2, with low boron and iron values. “Preliminary testing on these samples indicates favourable frac sand characteristics, as well as metallurgical-grade silica potential,” 92 Resources stated.

Last week the company announced initial results from Phase I metallurgical tests for its Hidden Lake lithium property in the NWT. Early findings suggest material from the hard rock project might be suitable for a conventional flowsheet. As the program goes into Phase II, potential tantalum recovery will be examined as well. 92 Resources filed a 43-101 technical report on the property in January.

The company also holds the 5,536-hectare Pontax lithium property in northern Quebec.

Castle Silver Resources readies bulk cobalt extraction, end-user samples and lithium-cobalt recycling

June 6th, 2017

by Greg Klein | June 6, 2017

Pursuing the cobalt potential of a former high-grade silver mine, Castle Silver Resources TSXV:CSR keeps busy on a number of fronts. With underground bulk extraction in progress at Ontario’s Castle past-producer, the company has sent part of its first sample containing visible cobalt to an assay lab. The rest of the sample will go through the company’s proprietary Re-2OX hydrometallurgical process to produce cobalt powders for evaluation by battery manufacturers.

Castle Silver Resources readies bulk cobalt extraction, end-user samples and lithium-cobalt recycling

Previously collected samples show the pinkish cobalt
oxidation typically found on Castle Silver’s project.

Located about 80 kilometres northwest of Ontario’s historic Cobalt camp, the mine operated on and off between 1917 and 1988, producing 9.5 million ounces of silver and 299,847 pounds of cobalt. This Phase I program on the 3,252-hectare project has more bulk sampling planned, while 3D modelling is underway using the historic info.

With an eye on recycling opportunities, Castle Silver has also been testing its “highly adaptable” Re-2OX process for cobalt-lithium recovery from Li-ion batteries. Re-2OX strips battery casings to leach the cathodes and create a high-purity precipitate containing the metal. The company expects to release first-stage results soon from SGS Lakefield.

Last month Castle Silver closed an oversubscribed second tranche of a private placement that has so far totalled $966,500. The company has since raised the total offer to $1.2 million.

Within the Cobalt camp 80 kilometres southeast, Castle Silver holds a 100% option on the Beaver and Violet cobalt-silver properties.

Read about cobalt supply and demand.

NRG Metals options second Lithium Triangle property

June 5th, 2017

by Greg Klein | June 5, 2017

Another acquisition in a lithium-producing region of Argentina has NRG Metals TSXV:NGZ hoping the Hombre Muerto North project will tell tales of further deposits to be found. The company has optioned six concessions totalling 3,287 hectares on the same salar as an FMC lithium mine and Galaxy Resources’ Sal de Vida lithium-potash project, which reached feasibility in 2013.

NRG Metals options second Lithium Triangle property

Twenty samples from Hombre Muerto North averaged
587 milligrams lithium per litre, with seven surpassing 800 mg/L.

Surface samples taken at Hombre Muerto North in 2016 and 2017 ranged from 48 milligrams lithium per litre to 1,064 mg/L, with an average of 587 mg/L. Seven of the 20 samples exceeded 800 mg/L. High lithium and potassium values coincided with relatively low magnesium, NRG stated.

A geophysical survey conducted in January revealed areas of low resistivity, “interpreted to be potential lithium-bearing zones that are open at depth,” the company added.

Regional infrastructure includes a provincial road and a natural gas pipeline within 10 kilometres’ distance, a transmission line and, about 100 kilometres north, a rail line that’s being reactivated to the Chilean port of Antofagasta.

“NRG has a highly qualified, Argentina-based team of professionals experienced with lithium exploration, development, through to lithium production,” said CEO Adrian Hobkirk.

Hombre Muerto North would cost NRG US$5.65 million and 10 million shares over 54 months. A 3% net production royalty applies, half of which NRG may buy for US$3 million within three years of TSXV acceptance of a 43-101 technical report that the company would produce during due diligence.

NRG additionally holds the Carachi Pampa option, also on the Salar del Hombre Muerto, where permitting for an initial drill program is in the final stages. In February the company increased the property size from 6,387 hectares to 29,182 hectares.

92 Resources advances metallurgy for NWT hard rock lithium

June 1st, 2017

by Greg Klein | June 1, 2017

Phase I mineralogy studies have 92 Resources TSXV:NTY confident that its Hidden Lake lithium project in the Northwest Territories could be amenable to a conventional flowsheet. QEMSCAN and Electron Probe Micro Analysis on a composite sample from each of four pegmatites showed similar results, confirming spodumene as the primary host of lithium. The coarse-grained spodumene shows very good liberation characteristics and low iron content, the company stated.

92 Resources advances metallurgy for NWT hard rock lithium

The 1,659-hectare Hidden Lake project has all-weather
road access to Yellowknife, 45 kilometres southwest.

Spodumene liberation “indicates a strong potential for recovery using dense media separation and flotation techniques, which are common processing methods applied to spodumene-bearing pegmatites,” 92 Resources added.

The program also found potential for tantalum recovery, which will be further assessed in Phase II. About to begin, the program will conduct flotation tests to determine the reagent scheme and assess the ability to produce spodumene concentrate without additional processing.

Last year’s channel sampling targeted four of six known lithium-bearing spodumene dykes, with the best result showing:

  • 1.58% Li2O and 31 ppm Ta2O5 over 8.78 metres

  • (including 1.78% Li2O and 31 ppm Ta2O5 over 6.93 metres)

The company filed a 43-101 technical report on Hidden Lake in January.

92 Resources’ portfolio also includes the 5,536-hectare Pontax lithium prospect in northern Quebec and the 3,211-hectare Golden frac sand project in southeastern British Columbia.

In February the company closed an oversubscribed private placement of $895,199.

Stepout drilling hits 1.2% Li2O over 38 metres at Far Resources’ Manitoba lithium project

May 30th, 2017

by Greg Klein | May 30, 2017

Phase II drilling on Far Resources’ (CSE:FAT) Snow Lake-region Zoro property supports the continuity of lithium mineralization at depth, the company announced May 30. The seven-hole, 1,088-metre program on pegmatite Dyke #1 stepped out from last year’s Phase I campaign that found results comparing favourably with historic data. Phase II highlights show:

Hole FAR17-008

  • 1.1% Li2O over 2.4 metres, starting at 144.6 metres in downhole depth
Stepout drilling hits 1.2% over 38 metres at Far Resources’ Manitoba lithium project


  • 1.2% over 38.3 metres, starting at 164 metres
  • (including 2.3% over 4.6 metres)
  • (and including 2.6% over 2.1 metres)
  • (and including 1.4% over 7.7 metres)


  • 1.3% over 1.3 metres, starting at 46.7 metres


  • 1.7% over 10.7 metres, starting at 104.3 metres
  • (including 4.1% over 107.3 metres)
  • (and including 2.1% over 5.1 metres)


  • 1% over 1.7 metres, starting at 75.3 metres

True widths weren’t provided. Holes FAR17-009 and FAR17-014 showed pegmatite over 1.8 metres and eight metres respectively, but without significant assays.

Overall the results support a 3D model that’s now being updated to incorporate the new info. The standout intercept of 1.2% over 38 metres confirms “that Dyke #1 thickens at depth and continues to host high-grade lithium,” said president/CEO Keith Anderson. “Further exploration will be focused on expanding the mineralization both along strike and at depth of this impressive intersection.”

Field work beginning in June will examine six other dykes on contiguous optioned land as well as Dyke #1, before planning Phase III drilling. The accelerated 100% acquisition of Zoro 1 closed this month, as did an oversubscribed private placement of $315,000.

Far Resources also holds the Winston silver-gold property in New Mexico.