Hard rock lithium deposits are going to fill the demand as they are more evenly geographically distributed across the globe and are less dependant on a changing climate for production than lithium brine production. They are more and more filling the supply gap.
According the United State Geological Survey’s 2018 Mineral Commodity Summaries, Australia was the largest producer of lithium. It produced 18,700 MT of lithium last year, up 3,300 MT from the previous year. The 34-percent increase has been attributed to two new spodumene operations that ramped up production to meet strong demand.
Hard rock lithium mining relies on traditional methods of drilling and processing, and presents a more reliable method of mining and opens up deposits closest to major markets within. Hard rock mining is giving countries a competitive advantage over countries dependant on lithium brines for production, as it did with Australia.
Here are five exploration companies that are currently looking for the next hard rock deposit.
Azincourt Energy (TSX-V: AAZ)
The company controls 6,368 hectares of pegmatite-rich ground in Manitoba, with historical Li20 numbers & drill-ready targets. Crews are on the ground, beginning prep work for the 2018 work program. Mapping/sampling will get underway, then min 3000m of drilling. Azincourt’s Lithium Two project is adjacent to QMC’s Cat Lake Lithium Project
Quantum Minerals (QMC.V)
The company’s properties include the Irgon Lithium Mine project, a Rare-metal (Li-Ta-Cs) deposit within the Irgon pegmatite located immediately north of Cat Lake Manitoba. The deposit contains an estimated resource of more than 1.2M tonnes of spodumene-bearing pegmatite grading 1.5% Li2O.
Far Resources Ltd. (CSE: FAT)
Far Resources, an exploration and development company, will become a leader in the energy metals sector by defining a lithium resource with their Zoro project located in the Snow Lake region of Manitoba. In 1956, the lithium deposit was considered an historic “reserve” based on the drilling of 1.8 million tonnes grading 1.4% Li2O to a depth of 305 m.
MGX Minerals (CSE: XMG)
MGX Minerals Inc plans to drill the company’s Case Lake lithium project in May. Drilling will total 8,000 metres followed by an additional 7,000 metres of planned drilling in the fall. There have been 8,400 metres of drilling completed at Case Lake to date. Substantial spodumene mineralization intersections have included:
- PWM-17-34: 1.81 percent lithium oxide (Li2O) over 17.0 metres;
- PWM-17-33: 2.11 percent Li2O over 11.0 m;
- PWM-17-10: 1.74 percent Li2O over 15.06 m;
- PWM-17-08: 1.94 percent Li2O over 26.0 m.
The Case Lake property is located in Steele and Case townships, 80 kilometres east of Cochrane in Northeastern Ontario close to the Ontario-Quebec border. The Case Lake pegmatite swarm consists of five dikes. MGX currently has a paid-up 20-per-cent working interest in Case Lake and four other lithium hardrock properties in Ontario controlled by Power Metals
Power Metals (TSX-V: PWM)
The Cass spodumene pegmatite swarm is located 80 km east of Cochrane and 100 km north of Kirkland Lake, NE Ontario. It is accessible year-round by road via the Translimit Road which connects Ontario and Quebec.