American Lithium Corp. [TSXV-LI; OTCQB-LIACF | Frankfurt:5LA1] earlier announced that the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) is currently reviewing an Administrative Draft Environmental Assessment (“EA”) for American Lithium’s proposed Plan of Operations (“PO”) for its Tonopah Lithium Claims Project (“TLC”). This PO was filed in January 2021 and accepted as complete by the BLM in June 2021.
The PO has been updated as part of the EA process to reflect latest changes introduced through the EA and now proposes drilling from up to 110 drill sites as well as excavating five test pits to acquire samples for metallurgical testing. In addition, with the EA combining all previously planned phases of project exploration and pre-feasibility work into one phase of development, the PO has also been updated accordingly. While this will result in all required environmental bonding being paid upfront on approval, it will stream-line process, maximize efficiencies and help fast-track resulting work programs.
With the EA process now underway, and based on its most recent meetings, the Company advises that, it currently anticipates final approval of the PO to occur by late Fall 2021 with the commencement of the next phase of development at TLC starting shortly thereafter.
In the interim, American Lithium will continue to focus on finalizing its metallurgical test work. As previously reported, the Company has three viable recovery options and will focus on optimizing these before selecting the best process, based on economic and environmental criteria, to enable the completion of a robust preliminary economic assessment on TLC (“PEA”). In parallel, and as also previously reported, pre-concentration test work, designed to increase the lithium head grade prior to leaching, continues using different gravimetric routes and commercially available equipment. This work is also integral to the PEA as it has the potential to materially impact the economics of the TLC Project.
In addition, over the next several weeks, the Company plans to utilize existing permitted disturbance areas to twin several previously explored mineralized drill holes. These holes will be drilled deeper than the original completion depths to test for further zones of lithium mineralization and the presence of other minerals, to determine the depth and nature of volcanic basement rocks and to provide additional sample material for on-going and future metallurgical testing. This drilling will also enable the Company to accurately determine the depth / location of the water table. While the TLC deposit is above the water table and water has never been encountered in the drilling programs that define the current resource, accurately defining the water table is a key element for future permitting.
Dr. Laurence Stefan, COO of American Lithium, stated “commencing the EA review process is an important milestone for American Lithium as we look to finalize approval of the updated Plan of Operations, which will, in turn, enable the next phase of development at TLC. Updating the PO will also help us streamline and fast-track operations following approval. In the interim, our efforts to optimize flowsheet design, together with additional drilling and related field work, will position us to complete a robust PEA on TLC which, combined with the next phase of development following PO approval, will then enable the Company to move as efficiently as possible into the feasibility phase of TLC development.”