The large-scale shift to carbon-pollution-free electricity and net-zero emissions is already underway. According to analysts and industry executives, the global electric vehicle market size will cross US$980 billion by 2028, at a CAGR of 24.5 percent between 2022 and 2028. With the worldwide lithium battery market expected to grow exponentially in the coming decade — with the potential to reach a record value of US$80 billion by 2026 — it’s clear there is significant potential and a lot of growth to come.
“And when you come into this growth period where year-on-year the volumes are getting significantly bigger in terms of orders from the battery industry, I think that has the potential to create a real bottleneck in terms of keeping supply up with demand,” said Andrew Miller, product director at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, in an interview with INN.
But with limited production capacity available in the United States, more production will be required to facilitate the growing needs of the electric vehicle and stationary grid storage markets. It’s this perfect storm of conditions that has led Clayton Valley in Esmeralda County, Nevada to become a hotspot for lithium exploration and development in the US. This region uniquely hosts the only US-based lithium mine.
ACME Lithium (CSE:ACME, OTCQX:ACLHF) is a junior mineral exploration and development company focused on acquiring and developing a portfolio of exploration-stage, lithium-containing projects in Nevada, southeastern Manitoba, and northeastern Saskatchewan. The company’s management team is highly experienced with a strong history of success in building and financing resource companies around the world including the development of lithium-based projects.
ACME Lithium operates its Clayton Valley and Fish Lake Valley projects in the mining-friendly Esmeralda County area in Nevada. The properties are strategically located near Albemarle Corporation’s Silver Peak Lithium mine. The Silver Peak lithium mine has continuously produced lithium since 1966, with concentrations as high as +1,000 parts per million (ppm) of lithium. Ford Motor Company, Toyota and Panasonic recently announced plans to buy lithium from Ioneer Ltd’s Rhyolite Ridge mining project in Nevada to produce electric vehicle (EV) batteries in the US. Ioneer’s Rhyolite Ridge project and mineral interests border ACME Lithium’s Fish Lake Valley project directly to the east.
ACME Lithium's projects are also located in an area with a developing battery supply chain, including Tesla’s Gigafactory, which sits only 200 miles away. Both of ACME Lithium’s Nevada properties have year-round access to expertise, infrastructure, rail and roads, power and water, including favorable weather conditions and logistics.
The Clayton Valley property has the potential to host lithium brine just like the Silver Peak Lithium mine in Clayton Valley. The company expects to use direct lithium extraction (DLE) technology to process lithium at Clayton Valley. It is a low-cost and sustainable technology that selectively removes pure lithium from brine water. As a more efficient process compared to traditional lithium extraction and with the development of relationships with companies that have DLE technology, it gives ACME Lithium a strong competitive advantage.
ACME’s Phase 2 drill program at its Clayton Valley Nevada lithium brine project covers a large diameter test well (TW-1) for completion of brine aquifer permeability testing and sampling. Launching in winter 2023, the drill program will also include up to three new exploration holes, DH-1A, DH-2 and DH-3, with objectives to examine deeper horizons through zonal isolated testing, assess stratigraphy, and the potential for continuity between the stratigraphic units encountered in DH-1.
The company strongly believes that its properties have the potential to produce lithium under simple metallurgical conditions based on preliminary indications.
The company’s leadership team has decades of experience in the mining, energy and finance sectors. ACME Lithium also boasts multiple notable industry figures, including Yiannis Tsitos, who has worked for the BHP Billiton group, William Feyerabend, who has direct experience in developing lithium projects, and Steve Hanson, who has been involved in multiple successful M&A transactions in the mining and resource sector, including exit strategies with major corporations.
In December 2022, the company received work permit from the government of Manitoba for its upcoming drill program at the Shatford Lake project. ACME plans to drill up to 5,000 meters prioritizing Shatford East, that is a 7-kilometer curvilinear feature on the claim block with multiple observations of pegmatites containing anomalous lithium.
ACME Lithium has an option and purchase agreements with Gem Oil Inc. to acquire a total of 41,694 hectares of project claims known as the Bailey Lake Pegmatite Discovery Area, located in the northeastern region of Saskatchewan. The two agreements comprised an option to purchase a 100 percent interest in a core block of 13 contiguous mineral claims encompassing 25,900 hectares (or 100 square miles) and a purchase of five additional contiguous claims comprised of 15,794 hectares (61 square miles).
In January 2023, ACME Lithium signed an agreement with Israel-based satellite technology company ASTERRA to utilize its synthetic aperture radar data analytics, patented algorithms and artificial intelligence to identify lithium-specific targets. ACME Lithium is the first in the United States to use ASTERRA's technology. The technology has already helped ACME Lithium identify high-grade lithium target at Fish Lake Valley, Nevada, with samples returning values of up to 1,325 ppm lithium.
- Led by an experienced team, ACME Lithium (CSE:ACME, OTCQX: ACLHF) is a mineral exploration company focused on acquiring, exploring and developing battery metal projects in partnership with leading technology and commodity companies. ACME has acquired or is under option to acquire a 100-percent interest in projects located in Clayton Valley and Fish Lake Valley, Esmeralda County, Nevada, at Cat-Euclid, Birse, and Shatford Lakes in southeastern Manitoba, and at Bailey Lake in northeastern Saskatchewan.
- Both Clayton Valley and Fish Lake Valley projects have year-round access to expertise, infrastructure, rail and roads, power and water, including favorable weather conditions and logistics.
- The projects are strategically located near Albemarle Corporation’s lithium-producing Silver Peak mine with Clayton Valley potentially hosting similar lithium brine found at Silver Peak, as well as Ioneer’s billion-dollar Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron project, which recently entered an agreement with Ford Motor Co, Toyota and Panasonic to supply lithium for electric vehicle production in the US.
- ACME Lithium has acquired and is under the option to acquire a combined 100-percent interest in 122 claims totaling 2,440 acres in Clayton Valley, and holds 100-percent interest in 144 lode mining claims totaling approximately 2,975 acres in Fish Lake Valley.
- ACME Lithium holds 100-percent interest in 21 claims totaling 8,883 acres in the Shatford Lake pegmatite field, 10 claims totaling 5,196 acres at Birse Lake, and six claims totaling 2,930 acres in the Cat-Euclid Lake shear zone in southeastern Manitoba.
- ACME has entered an option agreement to purchase a 100-percent interest in a core block of 13 contiguous mineral claims encompassing 25,900 hectares and a purchase agreement of five additional contiguous claims comprised of 15,794 hectares, totaling 41,694 hectares at Bailey Lake in northeastern Saskatchewan.
- The company’s management team is highly experienced with a strong history of success in building and financing resource companies around the world, including the development of lithium-based projects.
- ACME Lithium announced a significant lithium discovery from the recently drilled DH-1 hole at its Clayton Valley lithium brine project.
- The company has signed an agreement with ASTERRA, an Israel-based satellite technology company, to use its technology to identify lithium-specific targets. ASTERRA's satellite-based technology has already helped ACME Lithium identify high-grade lithium targets at Fish Lake Valley, Nevada, with values up to 1,325 parts per million (ppm) lithium.
Clayton Valley Project
The Clayton Valley project is located 190 miles northwest of the city of Las Vegas in Esmeralda County in Nevada. The property spans 2,440 acres with year-round access to expertise, infrastructure, rail and roads, power and water including favorable weather conditions and logistics. Clayton Valley is located directly to the northwest of Albemarle Corporation’s Silver Peaks lithium mine that has produced lithium minerals from brines continuously since 1966 including samples as high as 228 ppm lithium. Concentrations up to +1,000 ppm have also been found to occur within specific horizons of fine sediments.
ACME Lithium’s claims at its Clayton Valley project cover basin-fill sediments and aquifers that could be similar to the sediments currently producing brines in the region based on historic drill information and geophysical survey results. There is also promising evidence that the extensive valley growth faults provide an adequate plumbing system to foster brine reservoir accumulation for moving fluids around.
ACME Lithium owns and is under the option to acquire a combined 100-percent interest in 122 claims including the CC, CCP, JR and SX Placer claims on the Clayton Valley property. The company completed its Phase 1 Drill Program in Clayton Valley in June 2022 based on prospective lithium brine targets defined by geophysical in Fall 2021. The drill program consisted of advancement of an HQ core hole up to 500 meters at location DH-1 to assess lithology, permeability features, clay, sand and gravel content, and lithium brine potential.
Positive results have been reported following the analysis of brine samples taken from the Phase 1 Drill Program, with lithium detected at concentrations ranging up to 130 mg/L. Findings from Phase 1 initiated Phase 2 planning and the procurement of an expanded drilling and pump test program, with a target to commence in January 2023. The Phase 2 Drill Program will include a larger diameter test well and up to three new exploration holes to examine deeper horizons.
Fish Lake Valley
The Fish Lake Valley project is located in Esmeralda County in Nevada. The project comprises 100 percent interest in 144 lode mining claims that span approximately 2,975 acres with year-round access to expertise, infrastructure, rail and roads, power and water including favorable weather conditions and logistics. Fish Lake Valley is located over the foothills 24 miles west of Clayton Valley.
The Fish Lake Valley project is directly west of Ioneer Ltd’s world-class Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron project. In July 2022, Ioneer announced a binding battery joint venture with Toyota Motor Corp and Panasonic Corp to buy lithium from Ioneer’s Rhyolite Ridge mining project and use the metal to build electric vehicle batteries in the US. Australia-based Ioneer aims to produce about 21,000 tons of lithium in Nevada annually starting in 2025. It has also signed a supply deal with Ford Motor Co. and South Korea’s Ecopro Co.
Exploration at Fish Lake Valley since 2010 has revealed sites with anomalous lithium values greater than 100 ppm in tertiary claystone, sediment samples with values approaching 600 ppm lithium in claystone, positive geophysical surveys and lithium within clay-rich horizons. In 2018, the previous operator confirmed that it was, in fact, the same geological process resulting in high lithium values in fine sediments found at the Fish Lake Valley property.
Phase 1 field review and sampling was completed in October 2021 with encouraging results reported. Surface lithium values up to 410 ppm indicate a mineral process was active during deposition of the underlying sediments. Phase 2 geological field work was launched in August 2022 to further develop the company’s knowledge of lithium occurrences on the property and better understand the geological model with follow up sub sampling and mapping. Field work focus was on traverses along a major drainage area where higher lithium values occurred. Geophysics analysis and reporting are intended to assist with drill hole targeting and access routes for potential drill sites.
ACME Lithium holds 100-percent interest in 21 claims totaling 8,883 acres in the Shatford Lake pegmatite field, 10 claims totaling 5,196 acres at Birse Lake, and six claims to a total of 2,930 acres in the Cat-Euclid Lake shear zone. The Shatford Lake property consists of a15-kilometer structural trend of the Greer-Shatford Shear Zone, with numerous pegmatite dykes and favorable host rocks. The Birse Lake project claims are contiguous and directly east of the Shatford Lake project, and the Cat-Euclid Lake claims sit on the prospective Cat-Euclid Lake shear zone and extend along the southeasterly trend of known pegmatite occurrences.
The projects are found in the Bird River Greenstone Belt of southeastern Manitoba. The region hosts hundreds of individual pegmatite bodies, many of which are classified as complex rare-element Lithium-Cesium-Tantalum (LCT) pegmatites. LCT pegmatites account for a quarter of the world’s lithium production, making the region a global area of focus and opportunity for emerging and developing lithium projects. The Shatford Lake project neighbors the Tanco Mine, a producing lithium, cesium and tantalum mine purchased by Sinomine Corporation in 2019. The first pegmatite ore body was discovered in the late 1920s.
ACME Lithium completed an extensive summer exploration program in 2022 focused on spodumene-bearing LCT pegmatites that can be a source of lithium carbonate deposits. The program included an airborne geophysical survey carried out by Dias Airborne with its state-of-the-art QMAGT system. A total of 1,989 line kilometers was flown at a 65-meter line spacing and at a sensor height of 35 meters or at the safest height above the tree canopy.
The geophysical program was designed to map and characterize the variation in magnetization throughout the survey area towards interpreting structure, lithology and alteration. The Shatford – Winnipeg River structure is analogous to the Bernic Lake high strain zone that is interpreted to be related to the Tanco pegmatite. A priority area, referred to as Shatford East, is part of an approximately 6-kilometer curvilinear structural feature on the claim block with multiple observations of pegmatites containing anomalous lithium. Drill targets from multiple sites have been identified and include numerous pegmatites, some of which were undocumented prior to the summer exploration program, and a Phase 1 drill program is planned at Shatford Lake in winter 2023.
ACME has entered an option agreement to purchase a 100-percent interest in a core block of 13 contiguous mineral claims encompassing 25,900 hectares and a purchase agreement of five additional contiguous claims comprised of 15,794 hectares, totaling 41,694 hectares at Bailey Lake in northeastern Saskatchewan. The large project claims area contains multiple indications of spodumene-bearing pegmatites with potentially economic-grade lithium. Spodumene-bearing pegmatites with evolved mineralogy are found on surface in outcrop and boulder trains.
An initial interpretation for the Bailey Lake region is an albite spodumene or rare element spodumene type pegmatite in outcrop and boulder trains, and the Misaw Lake region contains a rare element complex lepidolite type pegmatite boulder train. Historical sampling reported includes up to 3,950 parts per million (ppm) lithium in the Bailey Lake region and up to 3,470 ppm lithium at the Misaw Lake region to the east of Bailey Lake. Till sampling in the region has reported numerous sites with elevated lithium and lithium pegmatite associated elements. The geological setting, granitic suite characteristics, evolved pegmatite characteristics, occurrence of float with potentially economic lithium grades, and absence of extensive historical exploration in the region is strongly encouraging for exploration expansion in this discovery area.
Steve Hanson - Director, President and CEO
Stephen Hanson has over 28 years of finance and corporate development experience across four continents. Hanson has held executive (CEO), board and advisor positions for numerous private and public companies in mining, alternative energy, oil and gas sectors. Hanson has been involved in a number of successful M&A transactions including exit strategies with major corporations.
Zara Kanji - CFO and Corporate Secretary
Zara Kanji is experienced in financial reporting compliance for junior listed companies, taxation, general accounting, financial reporting and value-added advisory services for individuals, private and public companies. She is a member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of BC and Canada.
Yannis Tsitos - Director
Yannis Tsitos is originally a physicist-geophysicist with nearly 30 years of experience in the mining industry, including 19 years with BHP Billiton group which is one of the biggest mining companies in the world. Tsitos is currently the president of Goldsource Mines Inc., a TSXV-listed company, and sits on several boards as an independent director.
William Feyerabend - VP Exploration
William Feyerabend is a certified professional geologist and a member of the American Institute of Professional Geologists with direct working experience in the exploration and development of lithium projects, including technical reports in Nevada. Feyerabend has worked on projects in the American West, Mexico and South America.
Vivian Katsuris - Director
Vivian Katsuris is a specialist in corporate development, management, consulting, and corporate services. Katsuris has over 28 years of financial experience in the brokerage industry, the North American capital markets and public financings. Katsuris holds director and officer positions with several CSE- and TSXV-listed companies.
Paul McGuigan - Technical Advisor
Paul McGuigan is a professional geoscientist registered with the Association of Engineers and Geoscientists of the Province of British Columbia, with 47 years of international experience in mineral exploration, deposit evaluation, mine operations, and corporate governance. As a geochemist, he developed the mineral separation techniques now commonly employed in mineral exploration, diamond exploration, and heavy mineral sands sampling. First employed by Resource Associates of Alaska, Pechiney Ugine Kuhlmann, and Esso Minerals Canada, he operated in Canada and the United States. For the last 36 years, McGuigan has managed the Cambria group of consulting companies in North and South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Southwest Pacific. He has served as a member of the consulting practice and the geoscience committees of the Engineers and Geoscientists of BC.
Matt Banta - Technical Advisor
Matt Banta has over 20 years of technical and professional experience in groundwater and surface water resource inventories, water development projects, and water resource management. Banta managed and completed numerous groundwater and surface water resource investigations and inventories, hydraulic testing programs, aquifer testing programs and groundwater characterization studies throughout the world and western United States with focus on lithium brine, open pit, and underground mining projects.
He has extensive professional expertise in stakeholder engagement, environmental and natural resource studies, permitting, regulatory compliance, groundwater and surface water monitoring plans, and drilling program planning and management in the United States, Canada, South America, Russia, and Mexico.