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Frontier Lithium (TSXV:FL) formerly Houston Lake Mining Inc. (TSXV:HLM) is a specialized exploration company actively engaged in the development of its wholly-owned PAK Lithium Project in northwestern Ontario. Exploration work conducted throughout 2013 to 2016 shows the PAK deposit could be a potential near-term supplier of technical grade material for the ceramic and glass market which consumes approximately one-third of total global lithium production.
An updated mineral resource estimate was completed on the property in early 2016 showcasing the project’s world-class lithium grades and large tonnage potential. The project is currently in the pre-feasibility stage with bulk sampling and metallurgical studies underway. The PAK pre-feasibility study is slated for completion by the end of 2016.
Frontier Lithium is led by a strong management team and board of directors with decades of experience in resource extraction. With its world-class lithium asset, the company has attracted highly knowledgeable team members with key experience in the lithium mining sector.
- Potential low cost entry into lithium market.
- Tight share structure with management ownership exceeding over 30% of the company.
- 8.2 million tonnes of what is the highest-grade lithium deposit in North America.
- Pre-feasibility study for a lithium mine with by-products of tantalum and muscovite mica concentrates to be completed in 2016.
- Potential for near-term production of technical grade lithium for the ceramics and glass market and the future possibility to participate in the burgeoning lithium battery market.
- Expenditures of CAD $4 million on the project to date resulting in extremely low lithium acquisition costs of exploration at $21.66/contained Li2O eq. tonne.
Opportunity: Low-cost, fast-track entry into a strong market
In the global lithium market the spotlight is on the battery segment; yet lithium is used as much in the production of ceramics and glass as it is in the production of batteries. Producing battery-grade lithium compounds, however, requires the construction of capital-intensive processing facilities which can result in a much higher risk, slower time to market for most junior companies that results in a diluted share structure.
The boom in the lithium-ion battery market has presented a supply-chain problem for the end-users in the ceramics and glass sector. Approximately 95% of global technical-grade lithium product comes from the low-iron spodumene Greenbushes lithium operation near Perth, Australia. The Greenbushes operation is partially owned by China’s Tianqi Group, which also provides lithium hydroxide to the battery industry.
“The industrial users of the lithium market are quite nervous about Tianqi’s control over Greenbushes because it combined with the burgeoning lithium industry could significantly disrupt the supply chain for technical-grade lithium concentrates,” explains Trevor Walker, Frontier Lithium President. “So naturally, that’s whereFrontier Lithium sees opportunity given our high-grade, low- iron spodumene at our PAK deposit. We’re firstly working on establishing a new supply chain for technical-grade lithium to help alleviate this anxiety.”
In addition to solving a supply-chain problem for end-users, another great advantage forFrontier Lithium is that the ceramics and glass sector offers a much more cost-effective and time-saving point of entry into the lithium space. “Because our deposit contains high grade ore with no iron impurities, we have a product that can be directly used for industrial purposes. We can step into the market without the need to raise at least several hundred million dollars to construct a hydromet plant.”
Key Property: PAK Lithium Project
The PAK Lithium Project encompasses 6,976 hectares located 175 kilometers north of Red Lake in northwestern Ontario. First discovered by Ontario Government geologists in the late 1990’s, the property includes the Pakeagama Lake rare-metal granitic pegmatite which has highly anomalous values of lithium, cesium, tantalum and rubidium. The PAK deposit is a lithium-cesium-tantalum (LCT) type pegmatite containing high-purity, technical-grade (<0.1% Fe2O3) spodumene. The deposit is exposed at surface and has a known strike length of 500 meters with an estimated true width varying from 14 meters to 125 meters and a sub-vertical orientation.