Western Lithium USA Corporation has announced that its 2010 and 2011 drill program has resulted in a significant increase to the project’s resource size. The resource for Stage I is now defined by approximately 200 drill holes that have all intersected lithium bearing clays. The company expects that the new resource will provide for increased feedstock grade to the proposed lithium carbonate process plant.
In addition, the company is advancing permitting activities for the Kings Valley Project. Recently, the necessary permits were received to bulk sample 100 tonnes of clay which will be used to feed a demonstration plant planned for later this year.
The technical team is continuing baseline environmental studies, including wildlife, vegetation, ground water and air quality.
The drilling program completed earlier this year indicates sufficient lithium resources to potentially increase the mining grade used in the 2010 Preliminary Assessment and Economic Evaluation (PAEE), which demonstrated strong economics. At an expected average cut-off grade of 0.35% lithium, the upgraded measured and indicated resource for Stage I now totals 37.3 million tonnes with an average grade of 0.40% lithium. At this higher cut-off, total measured and indicated tonnes have the potential for a 25+ year mine life. The company is now optimizing mine scheduling to determine higher grade feed for the start-up years of production.
|Kings Valley Stage I measured and indicated resources at 0.35% lithium cut-off|
as of 28 June 2011
|Category||Tonnes (thousands)||Lithium (%)||Lithium oxide (%)||LCE (Li carbonate equivalent) (tonnes)|
Lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) is the actual lithium compound used to make Li-ion battery cathode materials. A 2010 paper by Meridian Research suggested that for realistic strategic planning purposes, automobile manufacturers should model the material requirement at 2 kg to 3 kg of technical grade lithium carbonate per nominal kWh of PHEV battery capacity. A 16 kWh Volt-type pack, then, would represent some 32 to 48 kg of lithium carbonate; the 801,000 tonnes of LCE would thus conceptually represent (very broadly) 16.7 to 25 million Volt-type packs (depending upon the loading).
Western Lithium plans a demonstration plant for the end of 2011. It will commence bulk sampling of approximately 100 tonnes of lithium ore starting in mid-July at the Kings Valley site. Alternatives are being considered for the size and location of the demonstration plant with a decision expected during the summer.
The resource estimate was calculated by Timothy J. Carew, P. Geo., Principal, Reserva International LLC, an independent Qualified Person as defined by NI 43-101. Timothy Carew is the Qualified Person that has approved the scientific and technical data in this news release and has verified the data relevant to such disclosure in the course of preparation of the resource estimate.
(A hat-tip to Antony!)