CLAYTON VALLEY LITHIUM PROJECT
Noram is one the largest holders of lithium claims in Nevada's Clayton Valley.
A National Instrument 43-101 Technical Report is being prepared that will include
the maiden inferred resource estimate delineated from this year's Phase 1 drilling results.
Noram's land package is located in the heart of the Clayton Valley and includes a total of 888 claims covering 17,738 acres (7,718 hectares) in three contiguous claim blocks (see map below or click here). The lithium potential is contained within claystones (sediments), beds and brines on the claim blocks, which are positioned both north and southeast of Albemarle’s operation that has been in continuous operation since the mid-1960s and produces lithium from brines that are pumped to surface from beneath the Clayton Valley playa, concentrated through evaporation and the resulting salts are then processed to extract the lithium.
- Analytical results from the Phase 1 drilling program (see map) completed on the Zeus Claims were amazingly consistent, both vertically and horizontally, and include the highest lithium values returned to date on the project.
- The median lithium value in the drill core samples from Phase 1 drilling also exceeded the average lithium value of the previously reported surface samples (below) by 46%.
- Surface exploration has also confirmed high levels of lithium in sediments on the central area of the Hades claims.
- An independent Qualified Person is currently preparing the maiden NI 43-101 lithium resource estimate.
- Located in a mining-friendly jurisdiction and close to infrastructure (power, transport, labor, etc.)
- Phase 2 drilling program planned for Spartan and Hades claims to determine lithium potential of entire South Block.
Why is Clayton Valley important to lithium production?
The Clayton Valley is a region well documented for lithium bearing brines and significantly rich beds. Clayton Valley is home to the only producer of lithium from brines in North America; Albemarle’s Silver Peak lithium brine operation which pioneered the production of Lithium Carbonate from brines in the 1960s, and also produces Lithium Hydroxide today.
Noram's Clayton Valley Project is located approximately 220 miles (360 km) southeast of the Tesla Gigafactory, a lithium-ion battery factory located outside Sparks, Nevada.
The geology in the Project is considered to comprise a sequence of sediments with strata composing aquifer systems which hosts and produces lithium rich brine. Multiple wetting and drying periods during the Pleistocene resulted in the formation of lacustrine sediments with salt beds and lithium rich brines forming in the sediments within the Clayton Valley basin. These deposits form the Esmeralda Formation which has clay bearing siltstones near the base to fine grained lacustrine sediments near the top. Up to six aquifers have been identified within the basin. It appears that lithium is ubiquitous throughout the area with hot springs and aquifers to the north of the town of Silver Peak containing lithium of approximately 40ppm. The Esmeralda Formation has been reported to contain from 350 to 1,171 ppm lithium (USGS open file report 82-415).
During the mid-to late 1970’s the U.S. Geological Survey (“USGS”) evaluated lithium deposits and resources around the world. During the course of the program they drilled 22 holes in Nevada and Arizona including seven drill holes in the Clayton Valley Basin. The USGS holes drilled closest to Noram's North Block claims reported 1.3 and 1.7 parts per million (“ppm”) lithium in the brines and 287 and 364 ppm lithium in the sediments.
Environmentally-Friendly Extraction Methods
One of the keys to Noram’s Clayton Valley Project is to determine if lithium can be economically extracted directly from the sediments. To that end, Noram commissioned Membrane Development Specialists LLC to investigate the amenability of the sediments to lithium extraction using new, environmentally-friendly membrane processes. The findings, although preliminary in nature, have shown that the sample sediments tested were amenable to an acid leach, ultrafiltration and nanofiltration process to separate the lithium from the sediments and remove a large portion of the magnesium and calcium with no rejection of lithium.
Jurisdiction, Access & Infrastructure
Noram's Project is located in Esmeralda County, Nevada, near the historic mining towns of Silver Peak, Tonopah and Goldfield. Nevada is a mining-friendly jurisdiction with a long history as a leading mineral producing state, and the gold and silver rush in the 1850s inspired it's statehood in 1864. According to the Nevada Mining Association, there are currently 24 metals mines and 24 industrial mineral mines operating in the State.
The Project can be accessed from Tonopah by driving south on US HWY 95 for a distance of 7 miles (11 kilometers) and then southwest on the Silver Peak gravel road for a distance of 20 miles (32 km). Both of these roads underwent upgrades during the summer of 2016.
Sources of power and water are less than 6 miles (10 km) from both Noram's North and South Blocks; and a skilled labor force and supplies are available in Tonopah, Las Vegas (~215 miles/~345 km) or Reno (~225 miles/~360 km), which are the local and regional mining and supply centers.
Lithium prices have risen significantly since 2015 and demand is forecast to continue to expand with the global adoption of electric vehicles (EV) and energy storage systems (ESS) that use lithium-ion batteries. The EV market is expected to be a key demand driver through 2020 with the ESS market adding significantly to demand by 2025.
According to "Mr. Lithium" Joe Lowry, the total lithium chemical market was approximately 163,000 metric tons (MT) in 2015 and will grow to about 182,000 MT in 2016. And he has a really hard time keeping supply ahead of demand in his forecasts, even using his moderate 2020 demand figure of 312,000 MT. Joe expects lithium demand from Li-ion battery manufacturing alone to be 130,000 MT in 2020, that includes use in all forms of cathode plus the lithium values going into electrolytes, etc.
Note: Joe Lowry, CEO of Global Lithium LLC, who is probably the world’s foremost independent authority on the lithium industry, provides advisory services to end users, suppliers and investors; and travels continuously to meet with lithium producers and stay abreast of industry developments. Click the following link to read a transcript of his recent two-part interview with LITHIUM Investing News.