Elon Musk is calling for lithium refining to increase substantially to keep the sustainability movement on track. While Musk previously said that Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) would prefer not to enter the mining industry unless absolutely necessary, the EV maker is looking into the possibility of building a lithium refinery on the Texas Gulf Coast. The company has previously stated that more players in the lithium refining industry are needed. Given Tesla’s plans to significantly scale its operations in the coming years, it’s not surprising that the company is looking for new ways to acquire raw materials for the batteries that its EVs and energy storage systems will require. Of course, Tesla isn’t the only automaker racing to secure lithium supply, creating a significant uptick in the price of the battery metal and increasing interest in lithium mining companies like Noram Lithium Corp. (TSXV:NRM) (OTCQB:NRVTF), Sayona Mining Limited (OTC:SYAXF), Sigma Lithium (TSXV:SGML) (NASDAQ:SGML), and Standard Lithium (TSXV:SLI) (NYSEAmerican:SLI).
Noram Lithium Corp. (TSXV:NRM) (OTCQB:NRVTF) is concentrating its efforts on the advancement of its 100%-owned Zeus Lithium Project in Clayton Valley, Nevada, an emerging lithium hub in the United States. With the growth of the electric vehicle and energy storage markets, the Company intends to become a key participant in domestic lithium supply.
Following the completion of the Phase VI drill program in the second quarter of 2022, Noram Lithium announced a significant increase in its estimated mineral resources at Zeus.
The Zeus project’s Measured and Indicated (M&I) lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) Resources have increased by 190% since the August 2021 Mineral Resource Estimate. At a 400 ppm Li cut-off grade, M&I Resources increased to 5.17 million tonnes (Mt) LCE (1,034 Mt at 941 parts per million (ppm Li)).
Noram Lithium’s 2022 Phase VI drill program still has significant inferred resources. At a 400 ppm Li cut-off grade, the inferred resources are 1.09 Mt LCE (235 Mt at 871 ppm Li). Given the density of the drill program (82 holes drilled to date), there is a high level of confidence in the deposit modeled.
The high-grade core (60 meters thick x 1.2 kilometers wide x 3.0 kilometers long) represents a potential opportunity for mine plan optimization. The Measured and Indicated Resources total 1.2 Mt LCE at a Li cut-off of 1,200 ppm (169 Mt at 1,326 ppm Li).
“The updated mineral resource estimate, with 82 drill holes completed to-date, highlights that Noram’s Zeus Lithium Project is exceptionally well positioned in the United States amongst its peer deposits in terms of grade and contained Lithium Carbonate Equivalent,” said Greg McCunn, Noram Lithium’s CEO. “The high-grade core of the deposit outcropping at surface provides a significant opportunity to optimize the project mine plan and enhance value. With a strong treasury and a strengthened technical team, we are expecting to move aggressively in 2023 to further de-risk the project with continued metallurgical testing and completion of a Prefeasibility Study.”
For more information about Noram Lithium Corp. (TSXV:NRM) (OTCQB:NRVTF), click here.
Lithium Companies Are Progressing on Their Operations
Tesla’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) exceptional sales record in California demonstrates that, despite the availability of numerous other EV options, it remains the best option in what could be considered the country’s electric car hotspot. According to the California Department of Energy sales figures, Tesla sold 212,586 units in California in 2022, accounting for just under 73% of the 292,496 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) sold in the state by all manufacturers combined. The Model 3 narrowly outsold the Model Y with 94,683 units sold. The Model Y sold 93,872 units for the year, while the Model X (13,319) and Model S (10,712) remain “sentimental” to the company’s overall picture. BMW (15,057) and Ford (14,517) came in second and third, respectively, with the X5 (4,346) and Mustang Mach-E (9,860) being the best-selling models.
Sayona Mining Limited (OTC:SYAXF) has moved closer to resuming production at its flagship North American Lithium (NAL) operation in Québec, Canada, in Q1 2023, with work continuing during the Christmas holiday period to ensure deadlines are met. By the end of December, engineering and construction progress had reached nearly 90%, with all critical equipment, including the vacuum pump and WHIMS Rectifier Reducer, received. The LIMS, as well as the third ore sorter and other critical items, were installed. To maximize progress, up to 50 workers from selected contractors worked through the holidays. Importantly, there were no recordable injuries during the period, demonstrating Sayona‘s commitment to a ZeroTolerance safety policy. Preoperational verifications and operational readiness, including training and process operational support, continue to progress, with 75% of electrical and mechanical inspections completed.
Sigma Lithium (TSXV:SGML) (NASDAQ:SGML) just announced the start of commissioning of its dense medium separation processing plant, one month ahead of schedule. It also announces certain leadership changes as it evolves, with commercial production of Battery Grade Sustainable Lithium expected to begin this April on time and on budget. Brian Talbot will continue to lead Sigma Lithium‘s operations as Chief Operating Officer. Ana Cabral-Gardner, who was previously Co-CEO, remains CEO of Sigma Lithium. She will also remain on the Company’s Board of Directors as Co-Chair. Gary Litwack, currently Sigma Lithium‘s Lead Independent Board Director, has been appointed Non-Executive Co-Chair of the Board as part of the transition.
Standard Lithium (TSXV:SLI) (NYSE American:SLI) has named Claudia D’Orazio and Anca Rusu, both experienced energy executives, to its Board of Directors as independent directors. Claudia D’Orazio, CPA, is a seasoned executive with experience in oil and gas, energy, mining, public accounting, and finance. Centerra Gold Inc., a publicly traded Canadian gold mining company, currently employs her as Vice President and Chief Human Resources & Technology Officer. Before joining Centerra Gold, Ms. D’Orazio was Vice President, Human Resources at Pembina Pipeline Corporation from 2006 to 2020. Anca Rusu is a strategic leader with over 20 years of global capital project management experience in the energy sector. She was most recently a Special Advisor, Projects and Engineering at Royal Dutch Shell, where she helped reposition the global Projects organization to align with the company’s focus on the energy transition.
Noram Lithium also recently enhanced its technical team with the appointment of Dr. Marcus Tomlinson as a Metallurgical Consultant, who brings over 30 years of experience in metallurgical process development, engineering, and operations support. The Company also formally contracted Dr. Vahid Sohrabi as a Hydrogeological Consultant who has 19 years of experience in the field of environmental services in Canada and internationally.
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