Lithium Ionic Corp. [TSXV-LTH; OTCQX-LTHCF; FSE-H3N] reported additional results from the continuing drilling program at the Bandeira project, located in northern Minas Gerais state, Brazil. The company is rapidly advancing Bandeira, situated within the emerging Lithium Valley, where two lithium producers currently operate.
These results form part of a large 50,000-metre drill program under way for H2 2023, which is focused on expanding and upgrading existing mineral resource estimates to support a feasibility study planned for completion in early 2024, as well as grow the known mineralization at other prospective regional targets.
Bandeira drill intercept highlights: 2.45% Li2O (lithium oxide) over 9.1 metres, 1.61% Li2O over 11.9 m, 1.30% Li2O over nine m and 1.39% Li2O over 7.8 m (hole ITDD-23-188); 1.92% Li2O over 6.9 m and 1.42% Li2O over 8.2 m (hole ITDD-23-175); 1.42% Li2O over 8.9 m (hole ITDD-23-196); 1.12% Li2O over 10.6 m, including 1.34% Li2O over 7.9 m (hole ITDD-23-184); and 1.59% Li2O over 5.6 m (hole ITDD-23-199).
Blake Hylands, PGeo, CEO, commented: “These latest drill results continue to bolster our efforts to expand and enhance the Bandeira project for our upcoming feasibility study. The growth trajectory of this deposit since we began drilling it in April 2022, is a testament to its significance within our large portfolio of properties in this belt and will continue to be a key driver of our success. Bandeira represents just a fraction of our landholdings, and our team strongly believes that our success at this property could be replicated at our other properties in the region with the same effort.”
The company began drilling Bandeira in April, 2022, reporting an initial mineral resource estimate (MRE) in June, 2023. In October, 2023, an updated MRE at Bandeira showcased a near doubling of the MRE, which formed the basis of a preliminary economic assessment (PEA). This study supported a long-life and low-cost spodumene concentrate mining project with a post-tax net present value (NPV) (8% discount) of US$1.6-billion (approximately $2.2-billion) and an internal rate of return (IRR) of 121%.
The company is currently undertaking an independent NI 43-101-compliant feasibility study (FS), including an updated MRE, expected to be completed in early 2024.
The Bandeira project is located in the same district where Companhia Brasileira de Litio (CBL)’s Cachoeira mine has been producing lithium for over 30 years, and recent producer Sigma Lithium operates the Grota do Cirillo project, which hosts the largest hard rock lithium deposit in the Americas.
The company is rapidly advancing Bandeira toward a production decision, while it continues to explore and define regional targets. Permitting activities are progressing well, in parallel with the advancement of project engineering. 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, or licenca ambiental concomitante) for the Bandeira operation, which is expected to be submitted by the end of the year.
The LAC is an accelerated permitting scenario available to projects such as Bandeira, 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 (LP — licenca previa) and the installation licence (LI — licenca de instalacao), which precede the final operating licence (LO — licenca de operacao).
Lithium Ionic’s Board of Directors has approved the grant of 1,460,000 incentive stock options to various directors, officers, and consultants under its stock option plan. The options may be exercised at a price of $1.44 per option for five years from the date of grant. The grant of options remains subject to the approval of the TSX Venture Exchange.
Lithium Ionic is a Canadian mining company exploring and developing its lithium properties in Brazil. Its Itinga and Salinas group of properties cover 14,182 hectares in the northeastern part of Minas Gerais state, a mining-friendly jurisdiction that is quickly emerging as a world-class hard-rock lithium district.
Its Feasibility-stage Bandeira Project is situated in the same region as CBL’s Cachoeira lithium mine, which has produced lithium for +30 years, as well as Sigma Lithium’s Grota do Cirilo project, which hosts the largest hard-rock lithium deposit in the Americas.