Lithium Americas Provides Updated Resource Estimate for the Lithium Nevada Project
- Increases Measured and Indicated resource by approximately 80% from the 2016 resource estimate establishing Lithium Nevada as the largest and highest-grade known claystone lithium resource in the United States.
- Updates the Measured and Indicated resource to 6.0 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) at 2,917 ppm Li and the Inferred resource to 2.3 million tonnes of LCE at 2,932 ppm Li.
- Identifies extension of high grade (average 3,998 ppm Li) and near-surface lithium mineralization adjacent and northwest of the proposed 2012 pit boundary.
- Successfully completed process test work to confirm the production of high-value lithium products using acid leaching on lithium-bearing claystone.
- On track to release results of NI 43-101 Preliminary Feasibility Study (PFS) by the end of Q2 2018.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, April 05, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Lithium Americas Corp. (TSX:LAC) (NYSE:LAC) ("Lithium Americas" or the "Company") is pleased to provide an updated mineral resource estimate (the “Resource Estimate”) on the Thacker Pass deposit (previously Zone 1) (“Thacker Pass”) of the Lithium Nevada Project (the “Lithium Nevada Project” or the “Project”) located in the McDermitt Caldera, Nevada, USA. The Resource Estimate was prepared pursuant to National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects (“NI 43-101”). At a cut-off of 2,000 parts per million lithium (“ppm Li”), the updated Resource Estimate consists of a Measured and Indicated Resource of 385 million tonnes grading 2,917 ppm Li for 6.0 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (“LCE”) and an Inferred Resource of 147 million tonnes grading 2,932 ppm Li for 2.3 million tonnes of LCE (Table 1).
The updated Resource Estimate will be incorporated into a Preliminary Feasibility Study (the “PFS”) on the Lithium Nevada Project with results on track to be released by the end of Q2 2018. For more information on the Lithium Nevada Project and team, please refer to the press release dated October 23, 2017.
“Exploration work in 2017 has successfully expanded the lithium resource at the Lithium Nevada Project. More specifically, the results reveal additional high-grade and near surface lithium mineralization northwest of the original pit area that was proposed in 2012,” commented Alexi Zawadzki, Lithium Americas’ President of North American Operations. “We are pleased that the 2017 Exploration Program has achieved the goal of demonstrating scalability of the Project in an area we believe minimizes permitting and schedule risks.”
Table 1: Mineral Resource Statement for Lithium Nevada - Thacker Pass Deposit(1)(2)(3)
|June 2016||April 2018|
|(000 t)||(000 t)||(000 t)||(000 t)|
|Measured and Indicated||214,799||2,914||3,332||385,260||2,917||5,982|
1. Mineral resources are not mineral reserves and do not have demonstrated economic viability. There is no certainty that all or any part of the mineral resource will be converted into mineral reserves.
2. Resources presented at a 2,000 ppm Li cut-off grade.
3. The conversion factor for lithium metal (100%) to LCE is 5.323.
A new geologic and grade block model was created using the historical and 2017 drilling information. Calculation of the updated Resource Estimate was performed using a cut-off of 2,000 ppm Li, the same cut-off used in the June 2016 Independent Technical Report for the Lithium Nevada Property, Nevada, USA.
2017 Exploration Program
The intent of the 2017 Exploration Program was to identify a resource of scale in the Thacker Pass area (formerly Zone 1) of the Lithium Nevada Project, where habitat quality is substantially lower than in the Montana Mountains to the north (Figure 1a). In Thacker Pass, 77 exploration holes totaling 6,653 meters were drilled, a seismic survey was conducted and the surface geology of the project was remapped.
The drilling data is presented in Table 2 and the locations of the exploration holes are presented in Figures 3a and 3b. 13 holes were drilled in the newly defined northwest expansion area (Figure 1b and Figure 4). This area is located northwest of the mine pit that was proposed in a 2012 mine plan. The assay data from all these holes averages 3,998 ppm Li, higher than the assay data from the infill drilling. The ore zone averages 46 m thick in this area (Figure 2).
The 2017 Exploration Program also resulted in the discovery of an area identified as the Southwest Basin (Figure 1b) with high concentrations of Li and minimal overburden. Seven of the exploration holes intersected lithium mineralization.
The 2017 Exploration Program did not intersect the western boundary limit of lithium mineralization in the northwest expansion area. Additional drilling is planned in this area as part of the proposed 2018 Exploration Program (Figure 2). New drilling in 2018 will further explore the lateral extent, thickness and depth of lithium mineralization in unexplored areas east of Thacker Pass.
Preliminary Feasibility Study Update
Lithium Nevada is advancing a PFS, which is being prepared pursuant to NI 43-101, in order to demonstrate the economic potential of producing high-value lithium products from claystone. The Company has successfully completed process test work to validate a conceptual process flowsheet. The process employs low-risk commercially-proven acid leaching, purification and crystallization technologies to efficiently produce lithium products for the battery industry. Lithium Nevada is advancing the engineering design and costing work and is on track to provide the results of the PFS on schedule by the end Q2 2018.
Lithium Nevada Project Timeline
- Q2 2018 – advance additional baseline environmental survey
- Q2 2018 – release results of PFS
- H2 2018 – initiate major mine plan permitting
- H2 2018 – commence detailed engineering
Table 2: Lithium Nevada - Thacker Pass 2017 Drilling Data
|Hole (LNC-)||TD (m)||Overburden||Length (m)
>2000 ppm Li
|Li ppm Avg||Li ppm Max|
- Holes 049 through 056 which were drilled to target shallow industrial clay resources for Lithium Americas’ subsidiary, RheoMinerals Inc, were not tested for lithium, and therefore are not presented in this table.
- All holes are vertical (90o) except for hole LNC-083 (Az: 180o Dip -60o).
Figure Notes: Figure 3a has the same approximate location of the inset box in Figure 1a. The location of Figure 3b is shown by the inset box in Figure 3a.
Quality Assurance and Quality Control
The data collection and analysis procedures employed to develop the information presented in this disclosure use industry-standard quality techniques and procedures.
Sampling procedure and assaying methods were as follows:
- Drilled core was brought from the field to the Company’s core shed located in Orovada, Nevada. The boxes of core were logged, photographed, cut and sampled by Company employees and consultants. The geologist determined the length of the assay samples by lithology and averaged 1.73 m. The core was cut in half with diamond blade saws, using fresh water, and half bagged for sampling. For duplicate samples, one half of the core is cut in half again and the two halves are bagged and sampled separately to test sampling and assay precision. Each sample was assigned a unique identification number to ensure security and anonymity. Randomly inserted in the sample stream were QA/QC samples, which represent 10.1% of the total assays. The QA/QC samples include blanks to test for contamination, high and low-grade lithium standards to test for accuracy and duplicates to test for precision.
- Drilled core samples were collected from the core shed by ALS Minerals (“ALS”) and transported to their lab in Sparks, Nevada. At ALS, the samples were dried at a maximum temperature of 60 degrees Celsius and the entire sample was then crushed with a jaw crusher to 90% passing a ten-mesh screen. Nominal 250 gram splits were taken for each sample using a rifle splitter. This split is pulverized using a ring mill to 90% passing a 150-mesh screen.
- ALS’ analysis included four-acid digestion and inductively coupled atomic emission plasma spectroscopy to ensure that elevated metal concentrations were not present, which would interfere with inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy analyses.
QA/QC protocols included:
- High, low and blank standards were inserted in random sampling intervals. These samples were also assigned a blinded sample identification number.
- Duplicate samples were taken every 30.48 meters. Each was assigned a blinded identification number.
QA/QC statistical evaluations and results:
- Three low grade samples out of 63 assays fell outside the certified two standard deviation. All three were within 20ppm of falling within the two standard deviation criteria. All high-grade samples were within the certified two standard deviations.
- All blank standards reported less than 65ppm Lithium.
- All assay standards showed minimal bias drift with time.
- 178 duplicate ¼ core samples, 356 assays, returned a R2 correlation value of 0.9915.
The scientific and technical information disclosed in this news release relating to the Resource Estimate has been prepared and approved by Louis Fourie, P. Geo., Pri. Sci. Nat., of WorleyParsons Canada Inc., a “Qualified Person" under NI 43-101, and an independent consultant to the Company. Mr. Fourie reviewed or developed the following types of information for the resource calculation:
- Geological maps and cross sections;
- Block model methods, parameters, tabulations, and model results;
- Estimated mining and process costs; and
- Resource determination procedures and results to assure reasonable expectation of economic extraction.
Readers are cautioned that mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.
All other scientific and technical information disclosed in this news release has been reviewed and approved by Randal Burns, Senior Project Geologist at Lithium Nevada, and a "Qualified Person" as defined in NI 43-101.
Mr. Burns has verified the data disclosed in this news release and no limitations were imposed on the verification process. In the course of data verification, and for purposes of QA/QC, Mr. Burns, among other things, reviewed or developed the following types of information for the deposit:
- Geologic maps and cross sections
- Block model methods, parameters, tabulations, and model results
- Estimated mining and process costs
- Resource determination procedures and results to assure reasonable expectation of economic extraction
- Sampling procedure and assaying methods
- QA/QC protocols and results, including:
• Analysis of inserted standards
• Analysis of inserted blanks
• Confirmation of assays from a check lab
• Reverse Circulation versus Diamond Drilling
• ¼ core sampling and assay versus ½ core sampling and assay
• Spot checks of the data base against original certificates of assay
• Statistical evaluations and studies
- Checked reliability of historic information and established protocol for acceptance or rejection of legacy data
Other than as described in the Company's annual filings (which are available at www.sedar.com), there are no known legal, political, environmental or other risks that could materially affect the potential development of the mineral resources at this point of time.
About Lithium Americas
Lithium Americas, together with SQM, is developing the Cauchari-Olaroz lithium project, located in Jujuy, Argentina, through its 50% interest in Minera Exar. In addition, Lithium Americas owns 100% of the Lithium Nevada project, and RheoMinerals Inc., a supplier of rheology modifiers for oil-based drilling fluids, coatings, and specialty chemicals. The Company trades on both the Toronto Stock Exchange and on the New York Stock Exchange, under the ticker symbol “LAC”.
Statements in this release that are forward-looking information are subject to various risks and uncertainties concerning the specific factors disclosed here and elsewhere in the Company's periodic filings with Canadian securities regulators. Forward-looking information in this news release includes, but is not limited to, the timing and completion of PFS, baseline environmental surveys, the 2018 drill program, major mine plan permitting and detailed engineering work. When used in this document, the words such as “intent”, “target”, “expect”, “estimated” and “scheduled” and similar expressions represent forward-looking information. Information provided in this document is necessarily summarized and may not contain all available material information.
All such forward-looking information and statements are based on certain assumptions and analyses made by Lithium Americas management in light of their experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments, as well as other factors management believes are appropriate in the circumstances. These statements, however, are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking information or statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ from these forward-looking statements include those described under the heading "Risks Factors" in the Lithium Americas’ most recently filed Annual Information Form and other continuous disclosure filings. The Company does not intend, and expressly disclaims any obligation to, update or revise the forward-looking information contained in this news release, except as required by law. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking information or statements.