Lithium Ionic Corp. [TSXV-LTH; OTCQX-LTHCF; FSE-H3N] reported drill results from Bandeira, one of the four targets presently being drilled within the company’s 14,182-hectare land package in northern Minas Gerais state, Brazil. This region, recently coined Lithium Valley by state officials and geologically located within the eastern Brazil pegmatite province, is emerging as a prolific hardrock lithium-producing region. These results form part of a large, 50,000-metre drill program under way for the second half of 2023, with 13 drills currently operating.
Bandeira drill intercept highlights: 1.94% lithium oxide over 15.0 metres (hole ITDD-23-158); 1.91% Li2O over 9.8 metres (hole ITDD-23-151); 1.68% Li2O over 9.1 m (hole ITDD-23-148); 1.45% Li2O over 8.6 m (hole ITDD-23-150); 1.67% Li2O over 6.2 m, including 2.21% Li2O over 4.0 m (hole ITDD-23-156); and 1.75% Li2O over 5.3 m (hole ITDD-23-149).
Blake Hylands, PGeo, CEO, commented: “Our infill and expansion drilling program at Bandeira continues to yield positive results. We are particularly impressed with the high-grade results from holes ITDD-23-158 and ITDD-23-151 of 1.94% Li2O over 15.0 metres and 1.91% Li2O over 9.8 metres, which confirmed a 250-metre down-dip extension of a large and widening pegmatite that extends over 800 metres from surface, reaching a depth of 450 metres.”
The Bandeira lithium deposit is located in the same district where Companhia Brasileira de Litio’s (CBL) Cachoeira mine has been producing lithium for greater than 30 years, and recent producer Sigma Lithium operates the Grota do Cirillo project, which hosts the largest hardrock lithium deposit in the Americas.
In late June 2023, Lithium Ionic published an initial NI 43-101-compliant mineral resource estimate (MRE) at the Bandeira and Outro Lado deposits of 7.57 million tonnes grading 1.40% lithium oxide of measured and indicated resources and 11.86 million tonnes grading 1.44% Li2O of inferred resources. Drilling at Bandeira is focused on upgrading the mineral resource classifications in support of economic and engineering studies, as well as testing mineralized extensions to expand the resources.
The company is rapidly advancing the Bandeira deposit toward a production decision, while it continues to explore and define regional targets. Project engineering is under way by independent Brazilian consultant GE21 Consultoria Mineral Ltda., with a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) expected in the coming weeks. Concurrently, NEO Agroambiental Ltda. is completing the RCA (environmental control report) and PCA (environmental control plan) to support the application of a concomitant environmental and installation licence (LAC) for the underground portion of the Bandeira deposit. The LAC is an accelerated permitting scenario available to projects whose mine infrastructure covers a small footprint where deforestation is not required. The LAC replaces the first two steps of the environmental licensing process: the preliminary licence and the installation licence, which precede the final operating licence. In addition, WSP (formerly Golder) is working to complete an environmental impact assessment covering all the Bandeira mineral rights by year-end, which is required for the portions of the project that are not eligible for the LAC.
Lithium Ionic’s flagship Itinga and Salinas projects cover 14,182 hectares in the northeastern part of Minas Gerais state.