Oceana Lithium

High Priority Lithium Targets Identified at Monaro Lithium Project, James Bay

Oceana Lithium Limited (ASX: OCN, “Oceana” or “the Company”) is pleased to announce that the first phase of field exploration work has been completed at the Monaro Lithium Project in James Bay, Québec. Oceana has an option to acquire a 100% interest in the Monaro project (refer ASX Announcement 5 July 2023), which comprises 207 mineral claims covering an area of 104km2 along the western portion of the Duhesme Lake metavolcanic-sedimentary greenstone belt that can be traced about 40km along strike and 4-5km across (Figure 1).


Highlights

  • First phase field exploration program completed at Monaro Project
  • Elevated levels of Rubidium (Rb) and low Potassium (K) to Rubidium ratios coincident with favourable geology and magnetic signatures have delineated several high-priority Lithium targets for further investigation
  • 175 rock samples submitted to ALS Laboratories in Val-d’Or, Québec for whole- rock analysis, with results expected in December 2023
  • Oceana has identified over 356 new pegmatite targets to date. Of these, 317 have been ground-checked, leading to the discovery of 131 new pegmatite bodies and 68 pegmatite boulders
  • High-resolution LiDAR survey flown over the Monaro claims assisted with pegmatite target identification, measurement and prioritisation
  • Monaro’s geology containing both amphibolites and wacke para-gneiss fits well within the current LCT pegmatite spodumene-bearing targeting model for the James Bay area

Experienced Québec-based contractor Explo-Logik conducted a helicopter- supported field program over the project area, under the supervision of Oceana’s Senior Exploration Manager James Abson. The field program consisted of pegmatite outcrop mapping, sampling with onsite XRF analyses for key LCT pegmatite pathfinder elements (Rb, K, Nb, La, Y, Ga, Tl, P, Mn, Cs, Nb, Sn, P and Ta), the determination of K/Rb ratios and pegmatite boulder prospecting.

A high-resolution LiDAR survey was flown during the field season and identified 13 additional targets, which were then confirmed by field inspection.

A total of 152 samples of white mica and feldspars were collected from pegmatite outcrops and a further 23 samples from pegmatite boulders were analysed by XRF to obtain K/Rb ratios. A total of 175 rock samples (including cut channel samples) collected have been sent to the ALS lab in Val-d’Or, Québec for whole-rock analysis. Some of these samples will also be used for petrographic analysis.

Figure 1: Regional players and greenstone locations around the Monaro Project

The XRF measurement of field samples has established four zones with low K/Rb ratio in relation to geology (Figure 2), including two from outcrops and one boulder with samples showing K/Rb < 30, and clear geochemical trends of highly fractionated pegmatites. These are consistent with established models of fractionated pegmatites and Lithium fertility1. The following encouraging preliminary observations have been made:

  • Some of the pegmatites mapped to date are over 1km long and up to 80m wide (Figure 2, Figure 4 and Photo 2);
  • The pegmatite K/Rb ratios calculated from 175 outcrop samples and boulders range from highly evolved (a population of 8 pegmatite outcrops and 1 pegmatite boulder with K/Rb ratios ranging from 24.3 to 40.8 and up to 3,179ppm Rb), to poorly evolved with a K/Rb ratio of up to 200;
  • The more highly evolved ratios are contained within four zones within the amphibolite lithologies, concentrating within the NE trending limb and the most southerly SE trending limb of the property;
  • There appears to be an EW and a NE-SW pegmatite strike direction, as well as a white-grey muscovite variety of pegmatite (possibly older) and a pink-white variety of pegmatite (possibly younger). The former type is possibly of higher interest, especially if with low K/Rb ratio and intruded into the amphibolites;
  • It appears that the low K/Rb ratio samples also flank the contact with amphibolite/supracrustal rocks and granitoids, as observed in the Geology Map and Regional Total Magnetic Intensity Map (Figure 2 and Figure 3), and
  • Monaro’s geology containing both amphibolites and wacke para-gneiss fits well within the current LCT pegmatite spodumene-bearing targeting model for the James Bay area.

Figure 2: Map showing pegmatites’ K/Rb ratios in relation to geology and prospective high-priority target areas (lowK/Rb ratios and high Rb concentrations reveal potential for Lithium bearing pegmatites)

Drill-ready outcrop targets for first phase drilling will be identified once the whole rock results are received, as well as planning for further focused geophysics, channel sampling and soil/till sampling campaign over the highly evolved pegmatite areas to identify additional Lithium-bearing drill targets.

Exercise of the Option over Monaro

Oceana acquired an option to purchase a 100% interest in the 207 mineral claims that comprise the Monaro project in July 2023. The option expires on 31 December 2023, but subject to the listing rules, may be extended at the sole discretion of Oceana to 31 March 2024 (refer to ASX Announcement dated 5 July 2023 and the Company's Notice of General Meeting dated 27 October 2023).

Shareholders will be asked at the forthcoming AGM to be held on 28 November 2023 to vote on the issue of ordinary shares and performance rights (together Consideration Securities) forming part of the deferred consideration option exercise price for the acquisition. The Directors have unanimously recommended that shareholders vote in favour of the issue of the Consideration Securities performance rights (refer to section 6 of Explanatory Statement to Notice of Meeting, ASX Announcement dated 27 October 2023). This will allow the Company to, following further exploration results and should it wish to exercise the Monaro Option, issue the Consideration Securities.


Click here for the full ASX Release

This article includes content from Oceana Lithium, licensed for the purpose of publishing on Investing News Australia. This article does not constitute financial product advice. It is your responsibility to perform proper due diligence before acting upon any information provided here. Please refer to our full disclaimer here.

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SQM REPORTS EARNINGS FOR THE TWELVE MONTHS ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2023

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Highlights

Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A. (SQM) (NYSE: SQM; Santiago Stock Exchange: SQM-B, SQM-A) reported today earnings for the twelve months ended December 31, 2023 , of US$2,012.7 million ( US$7.05 per ADR), a decrease of approximately 48.5% from US$3,906.3 million ( US$13.68 per ADR) for the twelve months ended December 31, 2022 .

Gross profit reached US$3,075.1 million (41.2% of revenues) for the twelve months ended December 31, 2023 , lower than US$5,736.6 million (53.6% of revenues) recorded for the twelve months ended December 31, 2022 . Revenues totaled US$7,467.5 million for the twelve months ended December 31, 2023 , representing a decrease of approximately 30.3% compared to US$10,710.6 million reported for the twelve months ended December 31, 2022 .

The Company also announced earnings for the fourth quarter of 2023 of US$203.2 million ( US$0.71 per share), a decrease of approximately 82.3% compared to US$1,151.0 million ( US$4.03 per share) for the fourth quarter of 2022. Gross profit for the fourth quarter of 2023 reached US$400.7 million , approximately 75.6% lower than the US$1,641.9 million reported for the fourth quarter 2022. Revenues totaled US$1,311.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2023, a decrease of approximately 58.1% compared to US$3,133.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2022.

SQM's Chief Executive Officer, Ricardo Ramos , stated: "Our fourth quarter 2023 results reflected record-high sales volumes in lithium business and increased sales volumes in iodine and potassium business lines when compared to the previous quarter and the same period last year. Despite a downturn in lithium market prices when compared to the previous year, our focus on operational efficiency and ability to successfully execute capacity expansion projects have facilitated notable production growth in lithium and iodine businesses over the past year. While we continue with our expansions in Chile and expect our lithium carbonate capacity to reach 210,000 metric tons during the first quarter of this year, we also celebrated first production of spodumene concentrate at our Mt. Holland operation site during the fourth quarter of 2023. In the iodine business, as a result of successful start-up of Pampa Blanca operation, record-high production volumes were achieved during the year, reconfirming SQM´s position as industry leader with ability to deliver growth ahead of competition."

He continued by saying: "As we enter into 2024, we anticipate another robust year of growth in lithium market, with global demand increasing by at least 20%, supported by electric vehicle sales growth globally and increasing demand for battery materials. However, the excess in lithium and battery materials capacity seen during last year is expected to continue during this year, keeping pressure on lithium market prices. We expect our average lithium prices to remain relatively stable throughout the year and our sales volumes to increase slightly during this year, subject to market conditions and any changes in supply-demand balance."

He finished by saying: "In December last year, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Codelco to jointly develop the Salar Futuro project and sustainably operate in the Salar de Atacama beyond 2030. Together with the communities, we are working on the definitive documentation in the upcoming months and will inform the market once this process is concluded. Last year, SQM was included into both DJSI World and Emerging Markets indices, several years ahead of our internal goal. This is the result of ongoing work and our commitments to increase the transparency and sustainability of our operations."

Total capital expenditure in 2023 was close to US$1.1 billion . For the period 2024-2025, total capex is expected to be approximately US$2.4 billion , including:

  • US$1.4 billion related to lithium capacity expansion projects in Chile , including US$130 million of maintenance.
  • US$700 million related to nitrates and iodine capacity expansion project in Chile , including US$160 million of maintenance.
  • US$340 million related to Mt. Holland lithium project in Australia and exploration projects.

The capex for 2024 is expected to be approximately US$1.3 billion , including maintenance.

About SQM

SQM is a global company that is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the Santiago Stock Exchange (NYSE: SQM; Santiago Stock Exchange: SQM-B, SQM-A). SQM develops and produces diverse products for several industries essential for human progress, such as health, nutrition, renewable energy and technology through innovation and technological development. We aim to maintain our leading world position in the lithium, potassium nitrate, iodine and thermo-solar salts markets.

For further information, contact:

Gerardo Illanes / gerardo.illanes@sqm.com
Irina Axenova  / irina.axenova@sqm.com
Isabel Bendeck / isabel.bendeck@sqm.com

For media inquiries, contact:

Maria Ignacia Lopez / ignacia.lopez@sqm.com
Pablo Pisani / pablo.pisani@sqm.com

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This news release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements can be identified by words such as: "anticipate," "plan," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "strategy," "should," "will" and similar references to future periods. Examples of forward-looking statements include, among others, statements we make concerning the implementation of the MoU and potential partnership with Codelco, the development of Salar Futuro Project, Company's capital expenditures, financing sources, Sustainable Development Plan, business and demand outlook, future economic performance, anticipated sales volumes, profitability, revenues, expenses, or other financial items, anticipated cost synergies and product or service line growth.

Forward-looking statements are neither historical facts nor assurances of future performance. Instead, they are estimates that reflect the best judgment of SQM management based on currently available information. Because forward-looking statements relate to the future, they involve a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors that are outside of our control and could cause actual results to differ materially from those stated in such statements, including our ability to successfully implement the Sustainable Development Plan. Therefore, you should not rely on any of these forward-looking statements. Readers are referred to the documents filed by SQM with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, including the most recent annual report on Form 20-F, which identifies other important risk factors that could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are based on information available to SQM on the date hereof and SQM assumes no obligation to update such statements, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise, except as required by law.

Cision View original content: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/sqm-reports-earnings-for-the-twelve-months-ended-december-31-2023-302075007.html

SOURCE Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile , S.A. (SQM)

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