Company controls around 160 acres in Clayton Valley, Nevada - a well-known lithium address
Demand for lithium on the rise
Company developing a low-capex extraction technology
Good infrastructure nearby
What does Enertopia Corp do?
Clayton Valley is a lithium hotspot and Albemarle Corp. (NYSE:AB), which owns the Silver Peak mine and its processing operation has been unearthing lithium from Clayton Valley’s brines since the mid-1960s. This is the only producing lithium mine in North America.
Enertopia's project is between Cypress Development’s and Noram Ventures’ properties, which both have published 43-101 lithium resources.
Drilling by Cypress adjacent to Enertopia's western boundary has led to an NI 43-101 indicated resource of around 3.8 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent at a grade of 865 ppm (parts per million) and within the Cypress resource is a high grade starter mine
It is worth noting that electric car giant Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) and its Gigafactory for manufacturing lithium batteries in vast quantities is also located in Nevada.
Enertopia, based in Kelowna, British Columbia, has stated the goal is to establish a lithium resource at Clayton Valley and develop a technology to extract the commodity from synthetic brine solutions by using a proven technology - a process it will be focusing on this year.
Drilling results are encouraging
Last month, Enertopia revealed that recent drilling had confirmed widespread lithium mineralization at the property.
All assays were received from four resource definition holes and one metallurgical test hole from the lab and confirmed widespread mineralization, with the average grade and thickness from the drill program around 1,120 ppm (parts per million) lithium over an average thickness of 284 feet.
There was also a higher-grade zone inside the total lithium horizon, which averaged more than 1,225 ppm over an average thickness of 177 feet, said Enertopia.
"Drilling has not only verified the company's expectations for the potential of the lithium horizon on our property but we have been able to show by the drill bit that the drill intersections to date indicate any future outlined resource could have lithium values exceeding those of the proposed high-grade starter pit envisioned on the Cypress Development property to our southwest," president Robert McAllister had said in a statement.
Solution testing continues
The company is about to embark on a third phase of work on solution testing to extract lithium.
Since late 2018, the firm has been carrying out tests to recover lithium from synthetic brine produced by leaching surface, lithium bearing claystones. So far, 32 solution tests have been run to create a database.
The third phase testing will use drill core material from the firm's diamond drill holes from its recently completed drilling program and will consist of 49 different sample intervals covering 397 feet of core.
The group also says it has also signed several NDA's (non-disclosure agreements) with industry partners as it works to reach its goal of a low capex solution.
Other firms in Nevada have shown that lithium can be extracted by conventional mining, says McAllister, at costs of around US$500 million for a big project of 20,000 tonnes a year.
"We think we can bring that down significantly, have a smaller footprint and that's what we're working o
on," he said.
Demand for lithium on the rise
Demand for the commodity is set to rise, driven by batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage for wind and solar plants. The metal is a vital component in electric vehicles (EVs), which are surely set to be the vehicle of choice in the future, while just as significant, but less discussed, perhaps is its application in the energy storage market.
Last month, Albermarle Corp, the globe's largest lithium producer (generating 25% of global supply) said it expects demand to grow 12% annually globally, with the market remaining tight for years.
Due to hybrid electric vehicles and battery powered ones, it reckons demand for lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) will be about 475,000 tons by 2021 and 1 million tons by 2025.
Last year, over 1 million plug- in cars were sold in China alone.
Solution testing results
Further exploration assays
What the CEO says
Speaking to Proactive Investors at the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) in Toronto, McAllister said of Enertopia: "We are very excited to be in the sector (lithium) and this is a long term growth story."