IM Lithium News in Brief 6 – 12 January

By Myles McCormick
Published: Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Pilbara begins Pilangoora FS; Lux Research says micro-hybrids will move to the fore; US scientists develop Li-ion battery with auto-shutdown capacity.

ASX-listed Pilbara Minerals Ltd said it has begun a feasibility study (FS) on its Pilangoora lithium-tantalite project, near Port Headland in Western Australia, following the awarding of all major contracts for the study.

The FS is due to be completed by July 2016 following the release of prefeasibility study (PFS) in March, the company said.

A resource upgrade for Pilangoora is expected later this month, taking account of final assay results from a 2015 drilling programme at the site.

Ardiden Ltd, an ASX-listed junior explorer, has entered an option agreement to acquire the Seymour Lake lithium-beryllium-tantalum project in Ontario, Canada.

The lake has over 4,000 metres of historical diamond drilling, which has confirmed the potential for high quality spodumene mineralisation, the company said.

Ardiden believes the property will complement its Manitouwadge graphite project as it seeks to position itself as a supplier of lithium-ion battery (Li-ion) materials.

Lithium Australia NL, also ASX-listed, has said it expects to secure Australian dollar (A$) 6m ($4.19m*) in funding through a share placement valued at $0.14/share.

The deal is set to include an A$4m investment from Lanstead Capital LP, which will become Lithium Australia’s first institutional shareholder, and follows a previously announced contributing share bonus issue, which is expected to raise up to A$22.5m.

London-listed Bacanora Minerals Ltd has filed a technical report for its Sonora lithium project in northern Mexico, detailing its updated mineral resource estimate, originally released in November.

The estimate comprises an indicated mineral resources of 364m tonnes, averaging 2,600 ppm lithium for 5m tonnes lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) and an inferred mineral resource of 355m tonnes averaging 2,000 ppm lithium for 3.9m tonnes LCE.

Bacanora is fast-tracking the project to supply lithium hydroxide to Tesla Inc. Li-ion battery gigafactory in Reno, Nevada, due to be brought online later this year.

TSX-V and Frankfurt-listed Alix Resources Corp. said it had discovered a "lithium-bearing, clay-rich showing" in a sequence of sedimentary-volcanic rocks on the northern Tecolote concession of its Electra project in northern Mexico.

The company said that the prospect, which adjoins the Buenavista concession of Bacanora’s Sonora project, yielded samples "moderately to strongly anomalous in lithium", including individual samples of 211, 162.5, and 71.2 ppm.

Mining nomad and broker, SP Angel, noted that although Alix is not reporting the higher grades of over 1,000 ppm seen on Bacanora’s properties, it "stands to benefit in time from its proximity to Bacanora’s projects and the metallurgical testwork being done".

Alix also said that it had discovered sedimentary beds on Electra’s Tule concession similar to geological units which host Sonora’s La Ventana deposit.

Separately, the company has expanded its holding in the area, with the purchase of mineral rights to the 4km2 Gran 2 concession, 600 metres east of the Buenavista drilling area.

Dajin Resources Corp., also listed on the TSX-V and Frankfurt exchanges, said that no objections to its proposed developments in the Salinas Grandes salar in Jujuy provice, Argentina, were raised at a meeting of the Unidad de Gestión Ambiental Minera Provincial at the end of December.

The company said that neither government nor local community representatives in attendance raised concerns about its exploration plans for the San Jose and Navidad concessions.

Iconic Minerals Ltd has expanded its lithium property holdings in Nye County, Nevada from 303 claims comprising 6,060 acres (24.52km2) to 413 claims comprising 8,260 acres (33.43km2).

Previous sampling work on the salt flats contained in the basin where the claims are situated has revealed lithium values ranging from 50-340 ppm.

TSX-V-listed Nevada Sunrise Gold Corp. has entered into an interim agreement for an option to purchase the Atlantis lithium property in Fish Lake Valley, Esmeralda County, Nevada.

Nevada Sunrise will exchange 500,000 of its common shares for a 100% stake in Atlantis in three instalments following signature of a definitive agreement.

The site comprises unpatented placer association claims of 1,262 acres (5.11km2)

In R&D news, a study carried out by Lux Research Indicates that micro-hybrids, rather than electric vehicles (EVs) or fuel cells, will drive efficiency in the automotive industry over the next decade, in the wake of fuel economy targets.

Micro-hybrid technology allows vehicles to automatically stop their engines when they would otherwise be idling, using an improved or an additional battery to quickly restart when required.

"The automotive industry is under intense pressure to lower emissions and increase fuel efficiency. Improved energy storage options will help make micro-hybrids the most cost-effective way to respond, along with ongoing improvements to lightweight materials," said Anthony Schiavo, associate at Lux Research and lead author of the report, entitled "Building the Car of 2025: How to Cost-Effectively Get to 54.5 MPG Using the Right Mix of Advanced Technologies."

Fuel efficiency targets are being introduced in the US and Europe of 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) and 95 g carbon dioxide emission per kilometre, respectively.

BioSolar, Inc.has received funding to extend its research programme into advancing Li-ion battery technology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

The company believes its technology can double the storage capacity, lower the cost and extend the life of lithium-ion batteries. The new financing will fund the programme for a further 12 months until June 2017.

Finally, researchers at Stanford University have developed the first Li-ion battery that automatically shuts off when it overheats and restarts when its temperature lowers.

"People have tried different strategies to solve the problem of accidental fires in lithium-ion batteries. We've designed the first battery that can be shut down and revived over repeated heating and cooling cycles without compromising performance," said Zhenan Bao, professor of chemical engineering at Stanford.

The study was published in the journal Nature Energy earlier this week.

*Conversion made January 2016.