Most of the world’s lithium production comes from China, Australia, Chile and Argentina, but lithium mining in Ontario is putting Canada on the map.
Excitement over the lithium market continues to grow and investors have been rapidly turning their interest over to the sector over the last couple of years.
Of course, it goes without saying that Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) has been a contributing factor to its success.
While most of the world’s lithium mining supply comes from China, Australia, Chile and Argentina, it has been garnering interest in North America in recent years. The Clayton Valley in Nevada has become a hot spot, and the fever is catching in Canada as well.
According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), Canada has approximately 1 million tons of lithium resource. As demand in the lithium-ion battery sector grows, production in the country is naturally expected to take off.
In particular, Ontario has become a place of interest for lithium mining, with a number of companies getting their fingers wet with projects and/or are exploring. The Investing News Network (INN) took a look at some of these companies.
Frontier Lithium (TSXV:FL)
Frontier Lithium is currently exploring its 100 percent owned PAK lithium project located north of Red Lake in northwestern Ontario. The company notes the property includes the Pakeagama Lake, which contains high values of lithium, cesium, tantalum and rubidium.
Curiously, the project has 8.2 million tonnes of what Frontier says is the highest-grade lithium deposit across North America, and also has a 300 tonne bulk sampling program in progress. In March of 2017, the company expects to complete its prefeasibility study for a lithium mine that will include by-products of tantalum.
Avalon Advanced Materials (TSX:AVL)
The Separation Rapids lithium project in Ontario belongs to none other than Avalon Advanced Materials. According to the company’s website, it is one of the largest lithium pegmatite deposits in the world, containing rare lithium mineral petalite. While the company has advanced-stage projects in lithium, tin, and indium, the Separation Rapids project is one of its primary focuses.
In September 2016, Avalon completed its preliminary economic assessment for Separation Rapids, showing a pre-tax internal rate of return (IRR) of 19 percent, an after-tax IRR of 16 percent, and a net present value (NPV) at an eight-percent discount rate of $343 million pre-tax and $228 million after-tax.
As the company moves to progress the Separation Rapids project, Avalon announced the closing of a private placement for gross proceeds of $1 million, noting the proceeds will be used primarily for advancing the project.
Rock Tech Lithium (TSXV:RCK)
Based in Vancouver, Rock Tech Lithium is focused on its Georgia Lake lithium project located northeast of Thunder Bay, Ontario. In August 2016, the company commenced exploration activities, focused on targeting known lithium-bearing pegmatite occurrences on Georgia Lake.
By October 2016, the company had reported assay results, indicating high-grade lithium oxide at the Georgia Lake property. According to the release, Rock Tech is the only company currently in the Georgia Lake area with an NI 43-101 resource estimate.
International Lithium (TSXV:ILC)
True to its name, International Lithium has a portfolio of lithium assets all around the world, and in particular is focused on its Mariana lithium-potash brine project in Argentina.
However, in July 2016 the company announced that it–together with Pioneer Resources (ASX:PIO)–entered into an option agreement to advance International Lithium’s Raleigh lithium project in Ontario.
By October 2016, it was noted that a $1 million budget had been allocated between the Mavis and Raleigh lithium projects. The release stated the exploration programs for both projects will include lithogeochemical sampling, ground and airborne geophysics and 3,000 meters of diamond drilling–1,500 meters each–over the fall and winter of 2016.
Alset Energy (TSXV:ION)
Alset Energy may be currently working towards the development of lithium and potassium bearing brine in Mexico, but it is also working towards developing its Wisa Lake project east of Fort Frances, Ontario.
Of interest, Alset received its permit from the Ministry of Northern Development to drill and trench on the project. The company is also set to receive funding to cover 33.3 percent of prospecting, sampling and assaying in 2016.
In November, Alset filed for final approval of a private placement totaling $460,240–funds of which are expected to be used towards the Wisa Lake project and the Champion Graphite project.
GoldON Resources (TSXV:GLD)
GoldON Resources is primarily focused on gold exploration, however the company has acquired 100 percent interest in the Paterson Lake property as an opportunity to diversify and explore the lithium sector at a low cost.
Paterson Lake is located in the area of Northwestern Ontario’s Kenora mining division. To date, GoldON has been issued an exploration permit by the Development and Lands Branch of Ontario’s Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, which is effective for three years.
Alix Resources (TSXV:AIX)
The Jackpot lithium property is located near the Georgia Lake area about 140 kilometers away from Thunder Bay, Ontario. While Alix Resources has a variety of lithium projects in other areas of Canada and the world, the company is excited about the permit received to drill at the Jackpot lithium property.
While drilling on the Jackpot lithium project has yet to begin, Alix Resources has an goal of defining an NI 43-101 compliant resource estimate.
Although Ardiden is an Australian-based exploration company, it recently entered into two options to acquire 100 percent of the Seymour Lake and Root Lake Lithium projects near Thunder Bay, Ontario. As per Ardiden’s website, the projects have historic exploration dating back to the 1950s.
In October, Ardiden announced that drilling had commenced at the Seymour Lake lithium project, with completion of the first phase of the drilling program targeted for completion in the second quarter of 2017.
Meanwhile, in September it was noted that Ardiden received promising results from its maiden exploration and sampling program at the Root Bay lithium project.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Jocelyn Aspa, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: Frontier Lithium, Avalon Advanced Minerals and Alset Energy are clients of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid for content.