- Among the largest and highest grade lithium-potassium brine resources in the world(1)
- Fully independent inferred resource estimate includes:
-- 5,440,000 tonnes lithium carbonate equivalent
-- 21,300,000 tonnes potash equivalent
-- Average Li grade 695 mg/L
-- Average K grade 7,590 mg/L
- Near-surface deposit has significant potential for expansion:
-- Resource covers only 65% of the project area containing known high-grade lithium and potassium brine
-- Resource to only 140 metres depth and deposit is open below
- Since June of 2010, the Korean Consortium has funded US $6.3 million of an estimated US $15.0 million budget through feasibility.
VANCOUVER, CANADA--(Marketwire - March 7, 2011) - Lithium One Inc. (the "Company") (TSX VENTURE:LI), is pleased to report its first independent lithium ("Li") and potassium ("K") resource statement for its Sal de Vida brine project at Salar del Hombre Muerto, in Salta and Catamarca provinces of Argentina. The inferred resource estimate, prepared by E.L. Montgomery and Associates, is summarized in Table 1 below and includes 5,440,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate ("Li2CO3") equivalent and 21,300,000 tonnes of potash ("KCl") equivalent. These values represent contained lithium expressed as lithium carbonate and contained potassium expressed as potash. The Sal de Vida deposit has emerged in this initial resource estimate as one of the largest and highest grade undeveloped lithium brine deposits in the world1 with significant expansion potential.
Patrick Highsmith, the President & CEO of Lithium One, commented on the maiden resource for the Sal de Vida Project, "We are very pleased that after just 18 months we have established a large and extremely high quality lithium and potash brine resource that ranks amongst the largest in the world. This work clearly confirms the significance and quality of the Sal de Vida deposit, while the on-going production of lithium carbonate and potash from our pilot recovery plant demonstrates the robustness of our simple and low cost processing system. These excellent developments are major steps towards bringing Sal de Vida into commercial production."
Table 1. Sal de Vida Brine Resource Statement
The resource estimate was prepared in accordance with the guidelines of National Instrument 43-101 and uses best practice methods specific to brine resources, including a reliance on core drilling and sampling methods that yield depth-specific chemistry and effective (drainable) porosity measurements. The resource calculations were also confirmed using three different resource models. The work was completed by independent qualified person Mr. Michael Rosko of the international specialist hydrogeology firm E.L. Montgomery & Associates (M&A).
All resources are reported at a 500 mg/L lithium cut-off, meaning any blocks of brine in the model containing less than 500 mg/L lithium were excluded from the inferred resource estimation. In addition, the resource was calculated only to the depth of each exploration well, even though almost every well bottomed in an aquifer containing lithium and potassium rich brine.
The resource is defined entirely with core drilling and it lies within 140 metres of the surface. It is open at depth, as well as laterally to the south and northwest. The core drilling program continues with both infill drilling and step-out holes into areas known to contain near surface brine rich in lithium and potassium. The footprint of the initial resource is approximately 16,900 hectares, whereas sampling of surface brines has identified high lithium and potassium values over more than 26,000 hectares.
The consistently favorable low magnesium and sulfate content of the resource confirm that the chemistry of the Sal de Vida brine is very similar to that produced by FMC Corporation at its adjacent Fénix Project. Some important parameters of the brine composition are:
Average density of the brine: 1.19 g/cm3
Average Magnesium/Lithium ratio: 2.19
Average Sulphate/Lithium ratio: 10.76
Based on current stratigraphic information, approximately 65% of the brine volume in this resource is hosted by predominantly sandy aquifers and 13% by at least one large halite (common salt) body. The balance is hosted in silt, travertine, gravel, or clay dominated units.
The total contained lithium and potassium values are based on measurements of effective (drainable) porosity distributed throughout the aquifer volume that defines this resource. This method of porosity determination is designed to estimate the portion of the total porosity that can reasonably be expected to be drained by pumping; however, these in situ estimates may differ from total extractable quantities. The porosity of the resource volume varies with geology but to date effective porosity has been predictable by hydrostratigraphic units; and the average for the entire database is approximately 7.9%. These porosity values compare favourably to other commercial lithium brine operations, such as FMC's Fénix Project that adjoins Sal de Vida on the west. The average effective porosity in the Fénix reserve is approximately 7%(2).
Maps, sections, and additional information about this resource will be available on the Sal de Vida Project page of the Company's website http://www.lithium1.com/sv-explorations.php.
Resource Estimation Methodology
A total of 1232 metres of drilling from 10 holes was evaluated for this resource calculation. The total number of drainable porosity results used in the computations was 122, and the total number of brine samples used in this resource calculation was 119 (not including QA/QC samples). The average spacing of vertical samples for both drainable porosity and chemistry is approximately 10 metres. Of the 10 holes used for the resource analysis, only one reached the base of the basinal sediments; all others were terminated after reaching target depth or due to drill limitations. The total thickness of the basin, and the total thickness of saturated sediments, is unknown for most of the basin.
In order to confirm the results, the consultants chose to estimate the resource using three different methodologies: two variations of a modified polygonal technique ("Methods 1 and 2") and Kriging using a linear variogram ("Method 3"). The inferred resource reported here was calculated from the standard polygonal method, Method 1. Hydrostratigraphic units have variable thickness and were determined by the consultants based on anticipated similar hydraulic properties. The values for drainable porosity and grade (lithium and potassium values) for each hydrostratigraphic unit were derived from direct measured values from the well. The unit thicknesses combined with the areas yield a volume. The volumes combined with the drainable porosity values, representing the amount of fluid available from the formation, yield the tonnage of brine. Applying the grade, represented as lithium carbonate and potassium chloride equivalents then provides the estimated resource for each block, which are then summed.
The resource tonnages from Methods 2 and 3 confirm and validate the reported results as a rigorous and conservative estimate of the contained lithium and potassium resources. The results from all three models will be described in the NI 43-101 Technical Report to be filed on SEDAR and posted on the Company's website (www.lithium1.com).
The primary analytical laboratory for the data used in this resource is Alex Stewart Assayers of Mendoza, Argentina. Alex Stewart's Mendoza lab is accredited to ISO 9001:2008 and ISO14001:2004 for its geochemical and environmental labs for the preparation and analysis of numerous sample types, including waters. The details of analytical methodologies and quality assurance protocols were reported in the Company's first NI 43-101 Technical Report, which was filed on SEDAR in 2010.
The porosity determinations were made by Core Laboratories of Houston, Texas. Core Laboratories is a leading provider of proprietary and patented reservoir description, production enhancement and reservoir management services. Core Laboratories has demonstrated that its Quality Management System is in compliance with certification to ISO 9000:2008. The scope of this registration is: providing state of the art petrophysical and geological analysis and interpretation of core samples from rock.
The resource evaluation work was completed by Mr. Michael Rosko of E.L. Montgomery and Associates. Mr. Rosko is a Registered Geologist in Arizona, California, and Texas and a qualified person (QP) as defined in NI 43-101. Hydrologists from M&A are on site at Sal de Vida during all drilling and sampling operations; and the team has experience at 17 salars in the Americas, including Salar de Atacama and other lithium bearing salars. Portions of the resource work pertaining to quality control and analytical methodology were completed by Dr. Jeffrey A. Jaacks, a member of the American Institute of Professional Geologists and a qualified person (QP) as defined in NI 43-101. Mr. Rosko, M&A, and Dr. Jaacks are completely independent of Lithium One. These qualified persons have read and approved the content of this news release. A Technical Report prepared under the guidelines of NI 43-101 standards describing the resource estimation will be filed on SEDAR within 45 days of this release.
About Lithium One:
Lithium One Inc. is a Canadian-based explorer and developer of mineral properties with a specific focus on lithium. The Company has two major lithium projects funded through feasibility by earn-in partners: the brownfields Sal de Vida lithium brine project in Argentina, in which KORES, LG International and GS Caltex are earning a maximum of 30% project equity; and the James Bay bulk tonnage spodumene project in Quebec, in which Galaxy Resources is earning up to 70% project equity. The Sal de Vida option agreement also includes a provision for a project completion guarantee in regards to debt financing and an off-take agreement for up to 50% of the lithium production. The Company's strategy is to draw upon its quality team and employ best-practice to develop its projects into leading suppliers of low-cost, high quality lithium products to the global battery market.
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS,
Patrick Highsmith, M.Sc., President and Chief Executive Officer
Lithium One Inc.
2700-130 Adelaide Street West,
Toronto, ON M5H 3P5 Canada
The reader is cautioned that mineral resources are not mineral reserves and do not have demonstrated economic viability.
This document may contain "forward-looking information" within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation (hereinafter referred to as "forward-looking statements"). All statements, other than statements of historical fact, included herein including, without limitation statements relating to; the completion of a Feasibility Study, securing of debt for future project construction, purchase of future mine production, the timing for completion of an NI 43-101 compliant resource and other matters related to the exploration and development of the Project, are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this document and the Company does not intend, and does not assume any obligation, to update these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements relate to future events or future performance and reflect management's expectations or beliefs regarding future events. By their very nature forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include unsuccessful exploration results, changes in metals prices, changes in the availability of funding for mineral exploration, unanticipated changes in key management personnel and general economic conditions, title disputes as well as those factors detailed from time to time in the Company's interim and annual financial statements and management's discussion and analysis of those statements, all of which are filed and available for review on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. In certain cases, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will be taken", "occur" or "be achieved" or the negative of these terms or comparable terminology. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward looking statements.
(1) Data from SEDAR, EDGAR and The Economics of Lithium, Eleventh Edition, Roskill Infomation Services, 2009.
(2) Lithium One NI 43-101 Technical Report on the Sal de Vida Project, April 2010. Filed on SEDAR.
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