American Pacific debuts first assay results from California
Having acquired a string of lithium/borate prospects earlier in the year, ABR last week received its first set of independent test results from its flagship Fort Cady Lithium Project. The prospective region is adjacent to Nevada, a state made famous as the epicentre of global lithium-ion battery production thanks to Tesla.
The assay results received thus far confirm the presence of an “extensive zone of borate and lithium mineralisation” and a “third deeper interval” with significant intersections, including:
ABR’s exploration strategy is predicated on a historical Resource Estimate defined during the early 1980s, with the company commencing its 6800 meter drilling program to confirm and update the previous estimate to modern-day standards.
ABR has informed the market that it has now completed five drill holes at Fort Cady with four drill rigs currently operating.
Core samples taken from Fort Cady have been submitted for analysis, with results expected intermittently over the coming weeks. ABR’s brine samples, taken from the first completed lithium brine drill hole located northeast of Fort Cady, are also being evaluated.
If ABR’s strategy proves successful, the company could expect to make rapid advances in exploration with a view to commencing a Feasibility Study in early 2018.
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Currently, its Resource Estimate is as follows:
The current work program includes a total of 14 drill holes (five completed), lithium brine drilling, leaching test work, a Scoping Study and the definition of ABR’s Maiden Resource, currently scheduled for Q4 2017.
The below map indicates the location of the historic resource estimate sample areas:
ABR expects to receive assay results for three additional drill holes between now and the end of the year and will also receive an update regarding its first batch of lithium brine.
ABR Managing Director and CEO Michael Schlumpberger said, “These results confirm what we already knew from the historical drilling – that Fort Cady contains an exceptionally thick sequence of borate mineralisation. We are also highly encouraged by the lithium concentrations in the borate mineralisation.
“We will now fast-track leaching testwork on drill core samples to determine what quantity of lithium can be extracted along with the boric acid during solution mining. We are confident we have a compelling boric acid development opportunity.”
Given the current focus on capital expenditure and commodity-industry competitiveness, ABR could earn a further premium for its ore from Fort Cady because lithium by-products “have the potential to enhance the project metrics and take the Project to the next level,” Mr Schlumpberger said.
Increasing lithium market interest by adding borates
A dual-commodity project including boric acid and lithium provides ABR with the opportunity to achieve lower lithium production costs when compared to its closest competitors in the lithium industry.
By focusing on borates and using efficient processing, ABR can produce high-grade lithium carbonate as a by-product in a similar vein to how Chilean lithium major SQM produces lithium from its potash production.
If ABR can integrate borates into its lithium production, the small cap could establish an early-mover position in the lithium sector.
By producing two commodities critical for energy storage, ABR is setting itself up to benefit from the consumer-driven explosion in electronic goods powered by lithium batteries.