Zenith Minerals (ASX:ZNC) has re-commenced lithium focussed field activities in Mexico and the US with the aim to progress four projects to drill ready status by the end of June. The work is being funded under the US$5m JV with Bradda Head. The field work consists of geochemical surface sampling, geophysical surveys and trenching. Zenith also announced that as part of the JV, Bradda Head has refunded the Company A$660k representing past expenditure on the projects.
- Field programs have re-commenced on Zenith’s American lithium joint venture projects, with the aim to advance four of the projects to drill ready status by end June 2017;
- The work is being funded under the previously announced (ASX Release 7th March 2017) US$5 million farm-in deal with a private company controlled by prominent UK investor Jim Mellon (Bradda Head Ltd);
- Infill surface geochemical sampling of all three Mexican lithium projects at Zacatecas has now been completed, funded by Bradda Head, with samples dispatched to the laboratory for analysis;
- Geophysical surveying and drill and trench permits are being prepared for the Nevada and Arizona projects; and
- US$500,000 (~A$660,000) cash received from Bradda Head as a refund of Zenith’s expenditure to date.
Zenith Minerals Limited (“Zenith” or “the Company”) has previously announced (ASX Release 7 th March 2017) a funding deal with Bradda Head Ltd, a private company controlled by prominent UK investor Jim Mellon, to jointly unlock the potential of Zenith’s USA and Mexican lithium project portfolio.
Zenith is now pleased to advise that field programs in Mexico funded by Bradda Head are underway, and the JV will shortly start lithium exploration activities in Arizona and Nevada. Initial activities on the projects include:
- Infill surface geochemical sampling of three lithium targets at Zacatecas in Mexico, with samples now collected and dispatched for analysis;
- An electrical geophysical survey at the Wilson Salt Flat lithium brine project in Nevada to determine the presence of brine and its depth, as a prerequisite to drill testing;
- Electrical geophysical surveys at San Vicente and San Juan lithium brine projects at Zacatecas in Mexico, as prerequisites to drill testing, along with preparation for drilling, including community and landholder liaison;
- Ongoing sighter metallurgical testwork at Burro Creek lithium clay project in Arizona, which has shown encouraging initial results. Further more definitive work is in progress to determine the options for the extraction of lithium & potassium; and
- Burro Creek state lease permitting for trenching & drilling and associated state lease renewal – as prerequisites to planned trenching & resource drilling.
The aim of these initial work programs is to advance four of the lithium projects to drill ready status by end June 2017.
American Lithium Portfolio
Zenith has assembled an outstanding 100% owned lithium project portfolio over the past 6 – 12 months, including lithium brine, lithium egmatite and lithium clay targets in the USA and Mexico.
Lithium projects worldwide are of three types: brines, pegmatites and clays. The major lithium brine operations are located in South America (Chile, Argentina and Bolivia), China and Nevada, USA. Traditionally lithium brines are extracted from salt lakes into surface ponds where they are concentrated by solar evaporation and then fed into a processing facility with output as lithium carbonate for sale to battery manufacturers. Zenith’s Mexican and Nevada lithium projects are lithium brine plays. Zenith’s Spencer and Wilson Salt Flat brine projects in Nevada, USA are close to both Tesla’s Gigafactory and to Albermarle Corporation’s Silver Peak-Clayton Valley lithium brine operation, the only operational lithium project in the USA. Zenith’s three new concessions: Illescas, San Juan and San Vicente make up the Zacatecas lithium brine project in the emerging lithium brine district of San Luis Potosi State, Mexico.
Lithium pegmatite projects are exploited as traditional hard rock open pit mines (eg Australia’s Greenbushes Mine) where concentrates of the primary lithium mineral spodumene are sold to third party processors who convert the concentrates to lithium compounds suitable for use by battery manufacturers. Zenith’s San Domingo project in Arizona contains abundant spodumene bearing lithium pegmatites over 9 km strike.
Zenith’s Burro Creek lithium clay project in Arizona is comparable to other lithium clay projects in the USA and Mexico subject to resource and development studies (e.g: Sonora project (Banacora –TSX).
Zenith’s Nevada, Arizona and Mexico lithium projects are perfectly positioned to provide future supply to the growing USA domestic lithium battery market. Tesla Corporation has commenced construction of its lithium battery manufacturing facility (Gigafactory) outside Reno Nevada, whilst Faraday has set aside land in the Las Vegas industrial park for its battery plant.