IM Lithium News in Brief 7 – 13 July

By Myles McCormick
Published: Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Cobre Montana takes exclusive lithium technology option; Bacanora Minerals initiates drilling programme; REM further increases EMH ownership.

Cobre Montana NL (soon to be renamed Lithium Australia) has signed an exclusive lithium technology option with Perth’s Strategic Metallurgy Pty Ltd for new processing license agreements, 15 months earlier than planned.

ASX-listed Cobre has locked in a conditional 25 year agreement over a processing technology capable of recovering lithium from mica group minerals. The exclusive rights cover lithium processing technology in Western Australia (WA)and on two additional projects of the company’s choosing, either in Australia or overseas.

The company also announced the completion of a continuous 10-day mini-plant test run, producing 99.5% pure lithium carbonate from lithium-based mica concentrate taken from the Lepidolite Hill deposit in WA.

The lithium carbonate will now be sent for commercial evaluation and potential product endorsement by end users.

Meanwhile, in an update on the upcoming pre-feasibility study (PFS) at its Sonora lithium project in Mexico, TSX-V and AIM-listed Bacanora Minerals Ltd has begun a 4,000 metre drilling programme on the Fleur and El Sauz concessions, intended to significantly increase the indicated mineral resources within the project.

Bacanora ’s CEO, Peter Secker, stated that he is "confident that the PFS will confirm both the significant potential of the Sonora lithium project as a large, scalable, long life lithium resource, and also indicate the strength of its commercial viability".

UK-based Rare Earth Minerals Plc (REM) announced that it has increased its interest in the Cinovec lithium deposit in the Czech Republic , through its enlarged shareholding in European Metals Holdings Ltd (EMH) – which now stands at 11.08%.

Located close to the German border, Cinovec is a mica-based deposit. While 100%-owned by EMH, it is currently pending a joint venture (JV) with Cobre Montana. The deposit has an inferred resource of 5.5m tonnes lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) at 0.43% Li2O and an additional exploration target of up to 5.3m tonnes LCE.

The share increase, one of a number conducted in recent months, comes on top of another earlier this month in which REM increased its ownership of EMH to 9.61% from the 6.65% it purchased in late June.

Houston Lake Mining Inc. (HLM) announced a further Canadian dollar (C$) 450,000 ($353,671*) in financing through the sale 2.5m common shares. The company is currently seeking to advance its PAK Lithium Project in northwest Ontario, Canada, and proceeds from the sale of shares are to be used in furthering the project’s development.

In a recent press release, HLM stated that the deposit is one of the highest grade lithium deposits in North America, with a current indicated resource of 2.45m tonnes 1.81% Li2O equivalent and an inferred resource of 5.91m tonnes 2.01% Li2O equivalent.

Euronext Paris (EPA)-listed specialty chemicals and advanced materials company, Arkema SA and Canadian state-owned Hydro-Quebec (through its subsidiary SCE France) have announced a partnership deal for the creation of a joint research and development laboratory in the energy storage sector.

The laboratory will work primarily on the creation of a new generation of materials for the manufacture of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. Specifically, it will work on developing new electrolytes – solvents, lithium salts, and others – and conduction agents including carbon nanotubes and conductive polymers.

Finally, California-based Gridtential Energy Inc. has announced its selection by the US Department of Energy (DoE) to pursue validation analysis of its Silicon Joule technology.

Recent independent tests have confirmed that the company’s silicon-based approach to advance traditional lead acid significantly improves battery performance, while using 40% less lead.

This positions the technology as a potential solution to solar technology’s requirement of two to four hour grid storage applications and thus could represent both a safe and economic alternative to Li-ion batteries.

*Conversion made July 2015