Bacanora Minerals has issued an update on the operational progress made at the Sonora lithium project in Mexico.
Bacanora says a feasibility study at the project, led by its experienced lithium team, is on track to be delivered in late Q1 2017 in line with the company's strategy to independently develop Sonora into a world class lithium carbonate operation, with previously announced attractive production economics.
- Successfully completed a 4,000 metre infill drilling programme focused on upgrading a portion of the current Mineral Resource from the Indicated to Measured category, in conjunction with geotechnical and hydrological drilling for the FS
* Sonora currently has a large Indicated Resource currently comprised of 259 Mt averaging 3,200 ppm Li for 4.5 Mt of lithium carbonate equivalent
- SRK Exploration has started to update the resource model and an updated Resource is anticipated to be published in Q4 2016 sequential with the commencement of mine planning and open pit designs for the FS
- Ongoing refinement and optimisation of the lithium carbonate flow sheet, developed at the pilot plant operations in Hermosillo, will continue over the next 18 months
* Benefits Bacanora by ensuring that operator training programmes are maintained during the construction of the full scale plant, thereby minimising potential delays during project commissioning
- Battery grade lithium carbonate samples from the pilot plant have been distributed to Japan for preliminary appraisal and testing by potential end-users
* Facilitates a positive dialogue between customers and Bacanora's technical team during the ongoing lithium carbonate flow sheet optimisation process
* Continued strategic focus on the larger lithium carbonate supply chain in Asia, rather than the smaller lithium hydroxide market
Chief executive Peter Secker said: "The Sonora lithium project has demonstrated its potential to deliver high grade lithium carbonate to the market with operating costs which could position it very favorably in comparison to its peers.
"The team continues to prove that it has the lithium operations and mine development expertise to attain key milestones and incrementally build project and shareholder value, something recognised by the Company's institutional backing.
"We have demonstrated our ability to produce battery grade lithium carbonate at our wholly-owned pilot plant in Hermosillo, Mexico and also confirmed that the deposit is both long life and scalable, positioning it to supply the rapidly growing market for lithium carbonate, at a comparatively low cost, for over 20 years.
"The continued growth of the electric vehicle, combined with the commercial developments being made in delivering large-scale renewable energy storage capacity makes the lithium carbonate market a compelling place to do business.
"Accordingly, our in-house operations, both current and future, are dedicated to ensuring that we secure the right development path to deliver the best possible product at the lowest possible price."