Lithium Consolidated Mineral Exploration Limited (LCME) is an ASX listed lithium exploration company (Li3.ASX). LCME holds two large lithium brine projects in Nevada, USA. Their largest project, the Tonopah Lithium Project covers almost ten thousand hectares of land, and is within two miles of proximity to Albemarle’s Silver Peak Lithium mine, which is currently North America’s only producing lithium mine.
Since listing on the ASX in March, LCME has been quietly going about their business of proving their resource, and preparing for their upcoming drilling program.
(Yesterday/On the 13th of June), LCME announced that they have successfully completed a technical review of their Nevada projects. The review was conducted with the assistance of leading global geological consultants SRK Consulting, with the aim of assessing the overall resource potential of the projects, as well as to prioritise targets for exploration and drilling.
SRK’s specialist geologists, hydrogeologists, and engineers have been engaged in lithium-potassium brine projects in the US and around the world since 2008. The purpose of the review was to help LCME to assess the overall lithium brine resource potential of the projects, prioritize targets for exploration, and realize cost savings from the original exploration program.
The review leaves the company in a position to progress with its Nevada exploration plan, starting with its geophysical discovery program. The program will start with geophysical surveys including electromagnetic and seismic surveys, and is expected to be completed within 12 weeks.
It is expected that the geophysical discovery program will lead to the identification of one or two drilling locations, so that the drilling program can commence; LCME expects to begin their drilling program in Q3 2017.
LCME is well positioned in Nevada as the largest holder of land for lithium brine exploration, with a large enough position to potentially host one or more standalone operations in the event of successful exploration.
LCME’s update comes at an exciting time for US based lithium projects, with electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla expected to begin production of their “Model 3” from mid-2017 onwards. The Model-3 is a low to medium cost electric car that has already seen more than 325,000 pre-orders, which is more than three times Tesla’s next most successful car, the “Model –S”. Tesla plans to manufacture their lithium batteries at a “gigafactory” in Nevada, just down the road from LCME’s Nevada projects.
The increasing abundance of low cost electric vehicles such as the Model-3, as well as an increasing demand for grid-based battery storage is poised to help drive demand growth for lithium products, and with the growing demand, we are continuing to see growing prices for the silvery-white metal.