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Nevada Lithium Announces Robust Preliminary Economic Assessment for the Bonnie Claire Lithium Project

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Nevada Lithium Announces Robust Preliminary Economic Assessment for the Bonnie Claire Lithium Project

 

 

 

 

 

NPV(8%) $1.5 BILLION AFTER-TAX AT $13,400/TONNE LCE

 

Nevada Lithium Resources Inc. (CSE: NVLH) is pleased to announce the results of a Preliminary Economic Assessment for the Bonnie Claire Lithium Project, located in Nye County, Nevada. The PEA, completed in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 with Effective date of August 20, 2021, was carried-out by Global Resource Engineering Ltd. of Denver, CO, USA.

 

The PEA highlights are as follows:

 

  • Average annual production of 32,300 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent
  • 23.8% after-tax Internal Rate of Return
  • $1.5 billion after-tax Net Present Value at an 8% discount rate
  • Upfront Capital costs of $547M, which includes $126M in contingency
  • Lithium carbonate price assumption of $13,400/tonne
  • Payback period of 6.7 years, after-tax
  • 15,000 tonne per day processing rate over a 40 year mine-life
  • Cash operating cost of $5,974/tonne LCE
  • All-in sustaining cost of $6,057/tonne LCE
  • Break-even price (0% IRR) of $6,545/tonne LCE
  • Overall lithium recovery of 74.7%

 

Stephen Rentschler, Company CEO comments, “We are absolutely thrilled with the conclusions of the PEA on Bonnie Claire. The results demonstrate a very robust lithium Project, which is also one of the largest, if not the largest, lithium deposits in North America. The PEA also identified potential mining and recovery methods that we believe have ESG characteristics that will be attractive to lithium end-users. With current lithium prices significantly higher than the base case used in the PEA, the Project appears very well positioned to be a potentially significant and long-term contributor to the global lithium market.

 

As evidenced by recent transactions, we believe the merger and acquisition environment in the lithium industry is very strong. Located in the world’s #1 mining jurisdiction of Nevada, USA (2020 Fraser Institute Survey), we look forward to aggressively advancing Bonnie Claire through Prefeasibility and unlocking the value of this Project for our shareholders.”

 

The following table shows the after-tax IRR and NPV sensitivity to changes in various costs and lithium prices (Table 1):

 

Table 1: Bonnie Claire Lithium Project Sensitivity Analysis

 

Variable % of Base Case
50% 100% 150%
NPV8 (million $)
Capital Cost $1,755 $1,497 $1,235
Operating Cost $2,264 $1,497 $670
Lithium Price -$428 $1,497 $3,275
IRR
Capital Cost 39.2% 23.8% 17.6%
Operating Cost 32.0% 23.8% 14.9%
Lithium Price 1.3% 23.8% 39.7%
Variable Li2CO3 Price
$13,400 $20,000 $25,000 $30,000
NPV8 (million $) $1,497 $3,248 $4,572 $5,897
IRR 23.8% 39.5% 50.2% 60.3%
Note: IRR (internal rate of return) and NPV (net present value) are both shown after-tax

 

Results of the PEA represent forward-looking information. This economic assessment is by definition preliminary in nature, and it includes inferred mineral resources that are considered too speculative to have the economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as mineral reserves. There is no certainty that the preliminary economic assessment will be realized. Mineral resources are not mineral reserves as they do not have demonstrated economic viability.

 

The Bonnie Claire lithium deposit is a sediment hosted lithium occurrence situated within the Sarcobatus Valley, in Nye County, Nevada. At Bonnie Claire, lithium mineralization is not present in clay minerals but rather is present as lithium compounds (lithium carbonate and lithium salts) deposited within the fine grain clay, silt, and sand pore space of the rock units. The nature of the lithium mineralization at Bonnie Claire may provide for unique advantages in processing not amenable to typical clay deposits where the lithium is contained in the crystal lattice of the clay mineral species.

 

Mining Method

 

The PEA applies a borehole mining method to extract in-situ mineralization and deliver it to the process plant at surface. The mining process involves high-pressure water pumped through drill holes into the formation while simultaneously pumping the resulting loosened material to the surface, where it is transported to the process plant for lithium extraction (Figure 1). The soft nature of the deposit material is anticipated to make it ideally suited to borehole mining methods. Assumptions made for the borehole mining method include a mining jet radius of 9.1 m (30 ft), minimum borehole spacing of 31.7 m (104 ft), a 5% dilution factor, and a minimum lithium grade of 1,200 ppm.

 

The use of borehole mining allows for the targeting of high-grade mineralization at depth as well as offering other Project benefits, including reduced surface disturbance (i.e. no open-pit) and reduced tailings at surface due to tailings backfilling underground. Collectively, the method allows for significantly reduced surface disturbance compared to a conventional open-pit approach.

 

Lithium Processing and Recovery Methods

 

The lithium recovery process for Bonnie Claire has been developed by Hazen Research of Golden, CO, and is based on a pre-treatment approach developed by the US Bureau of Mines, followed by downstream industry-standard commercially proven unit operations. The Bonnie Claire process is divided into five (5) basic unit operations – feed preparation, pre-treatment, lithium extraction, impurity removal, and lithium carbonate production.

 

Pre-concentration of the lithium and rejection of calcite through size separation was shown to be effective.  At a cut size of 45 microns (µm), the coarse fraction contained approximately 90% of the calcite and less than 2% of the lithium, with a mass rejection of approximately 25%. The lithium bearing material is pretreated through thermal processing, which involves the calcination of the material with the addition of sodium sulfate. The lithium is subsequently extracted from the calcine in a hot water leach. High lithium extractions (up to 80%) have been achieved to date with significant optimization potential remaining.

 

The benefit of calcination and hot water leaching is that the resulting leach liquor contains minimal deleterious impurities compared to alternative direct acid treatments – particularly iron. As such, the lithium recovery is higher in the purification stage and the process is greatly simplified allowing for the use of conventional commercial unit operations.

 

The designed throughput for the process is 15,000 tonnes per day or 5,175,000 tonnes per year. The anticipated overall lithium recovery is 75% into the final marketable product. The target would be to produce a lithium carbonate product of 99.5% purity. No secondary products production has been investigated; however, the Bonnie Claire material does contain significant sodium and potassium, and therefore has the potential to produce agricultural fertilizer (glaserite) or potassium sulphate (sulphate of potash).

 

Updated Mineral Resource Statement

 

The PEA is supported by an updated mineral resource estimate which is constrained by the borehole mining method only. As with the previous resource estimates, the updated mineral resource estimate confirms Bonnie Claire to be one of the largest lithium deposits in North America with a contained lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) of 18.4 million tonnes (see Table 2). The mineral resource is supported by 2,056.7 m of RC drilling (8 holes) and 221.3 m of coring (2 holes) completed from 2016 through 2020.

 

Table 2: Bonnie Claire Statement of Mineral Resource

 

Class Extraction Method
Applied for Constraint
 

Mass

(Million Tonnes)

Li Grade
(ppm)
 

Li

(Million kg)

Lithium Carbonate
Equivalent

(Million kg)

Inferred Borehole 3,407.3 1,013.0 3,451.5 18,372.3

 

Source: “Preliminary Economic Assessment NI 43-101 Technical Report, Bonnie Claire Lithium Project, Nye County, Nevada” (Effective date of August 20, 2021). Cutoff grade of 700 ppm Li. The Qualified Person for the estimate is Terre Lane of Global Resource Engineering Ltd., of Denver, CO, USA. Resources are not Mineral Reserves and do not have demonstrated economic viability. There is no certainty that all or any part of the Mineral Resources will be converted into Mineral Reserves. Numbers in the table have been rounded to reflect the accuracy of the estimate and may not sum due to rounding. Assumes 68% recovery by borehole. The technical report is anticipated to be filed and available within 45 days, as required by NI 43-101, on the Company’s SEDAR profile at www.sedar.com.”

 

Project Ownership

 

The Company currently owns a 20% interest in the Bonnie Claire Project and holds an Option from Iconic Minerals Ltd. to acquire an additional 30% interest, for a combined 50% interest in the Project.

 

For further information concerning the Company and its business, please see the long form prospectus dated September 14, 2021 supporting its application for listing on the CSE. A copy of the Prospectus, as well as the recently completed Technical Report on Bonnie Claire, is available under the Company’s profile at www.sedar.com.

 

Qualified Person

 

Terre Lane, SME Registered Member, Principal Mining Engineer, Global Resource Engineering Ltd and Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101, has reviewed the technical information in this news release.

 

  1. Todd Harvey, MBA, Ph.D., President and Director of Process Engineering, Global Resource Engineering Ltd and Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101, has reviewed the technical information in this news release.

 

Hamid Samari, PhD, Senior Geologist, Global Resource Engineering Ltd and Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101, has reviewed the technical information in this news release.

 

Rick Moritz, Principal Mining Engineer, Global Resource Engineering Ltd and Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101, has reviewed the technical information in this news release.

 

Darren L. Smith, M.Sc., P.Geo., Vice President of Exploration of the Company and Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101, has reviewed the technical information in this news release.

 

About Nevada Lithium Resources Inc.

 

Nevada Lithium Resources Inc. is a mineral exploration and development company in the business of acquiring, exploring, evaluating, and developing natural resource properties. The Company currently owns 20% of the Bonnie Claire Lithium Project, Nevada, and holds an Option to acquire an additional 30% interest, for a combined 50% interest in the Project. The Bonnie Claire Project is prospective for sediment-hosted lithium and lithium brines, and currently hosts one of the largest lithium resources in North America.

 

 


Figure 1: Diagram of borehole mining method (CNW Group/Nevada Lithium Resources Inc)

 

Posted October 13, 2021

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