Avalon Advanced Materials Inc. [AVL-TSX; AVLNF-OTCQB], consistent with its dual-market strategy to supply both the global glass ceramics market and North American EV (electric vehicle) battery manufacturing, has released an updated mineral resource estimate (MRE) for the Avalon-Sibelco joint venture lithium deposit at Separation Rapids, northwest Ontario. This updated MRE, compliant with NI 43-101, reports 10.08 million tonnes averaging 1.35% of measured and indicated lithium oxide (Li2O), a 20% increase compared with previous results.
Separation Rapids MRE highlights: Open pit with a measured and indicated category of 9.39 million tonnes averaging 1.34% Li2O with the start of an underground resource of 680,000 tonnes averaging 1.43% Li2O; 10.08 million tonnes averaging 1.35% Li2O in measured and indicated, a 20% increase in size as compared with 2018 results; 2.81 million tonnes averaging 1.38% Li2O in the inferred category, a 57% increase in size as compared with 2018 results; 136,000 tonnes of Li2O in measured and indicated, a 15% increase in size as compared with 2018 results;39,000 tonnes Li2O in the inferred category, a 60% increase in size as compared with 2018 results; exploration potential of an additional three million tonnes to six million tonnes of resource grading between 1.0% and 1.4% Li2O, which could relate to an increase in Li2O by 30,000 tonnes to 80,000 tonnes.
This potential additional quantity and grade are conceptual in nature.
Located near Kenora, Ontario, the Separation Rapids deposit is owned by the recently announced joint venture between Avalon and SCR-Sibelco NV, an Antwerp-based company and leader in the global glass ceramics and materials solutions business, with projects in over 30 countries.
“This updated estimate reveals the quality and quantity of the resource at Separation Rapids and underscores the rationale for the strategic partnership between Avalon and Sibelco. It confirms that the deposit can deliver sufficient volumes of commercial-grade feedstock suitable for both the glass ceramics and lithium battery markets,” said Scott Monteith, CEO of Avalon. “This data gives Avalon and Sibelco the confidence to pursue the next phase of development at Separation Rapids, finalizing a definitive feasibility study and moving towards production.”
The MRE for the Separation Rapids lithium deposit was conducted by SLR Consulting (Canada) Ltd., an independent global mining advisory and consulting firm, using available drill hole data as of June 16, 2023. The MRE was prepared in accordance with NI 43-101, Standards. This updated MRE replaces the previous MRE dated May 23, 2018. The updated MRE is based on 98 surface diamond drill holes for a total of 17,444 metres of drilling. This includes 13 new surface diamond drill holes totalling 4,128.3 metres drilled since the 2018 resource estimate.
The new resource estimate will be incorporated into a definitive feasibility study of Separation Rapids, to be completed by early to mid-2024, with the intention of commencing on-site operations in 2026.
The 2023 resource pit shell extends horizontally and vertically for approximately 50 metres to 100 metres farther than the 2018 pit design.
Based on the current analysis, SLR estimates that there exists an additional three to six million tonnes of exploration potential at a grade of approximately 1.0% to 1.4% Li2O located below the open-pit and underground resources.
“SLR’s analysis shows a substantive increase of the size of the deposit in overall tonnage and metal quantity. As well, the exploration potential in the range of three million tonnes to six million tonnes will allow Avalon to be laser focused on additional drilling to bring this into at least an indicated category,” said Rickardo Welyhorsky, chief operating officer at Avalon. “The high definition of the resource and the exploration potential supports transitioning to a definitive feasibility study while further drilling out and increasing our resource.”
In addition to upstream activities, Avalon is executing on its key strategic objective of developing Ontario’s first mid-stream lithium hydroxide processing facility in Thunder Bay, Ontario, a vital link bridging the lithium production in the north with downstream EV battery manufacturing markets in the south. Social responsibility and environmental stewardship are corporate cornerstones.