Ahead of Noram Ventures Inc., Vancouver, Canada, (TSXV:NRM)(Frankfurt:N7R)(OTC PINK:NRVTF) drill campaign and engineering/economic studies in Q3/Q4 2020, management would like to summarize the current environment for global lithium supply and demand, YahooFinance.com reports.
Noram’s Zeus lithium claystone deposit has, at a 900 ppm lithium cut-off, 124 million tonnes at 1136 ppm lithium as indicated resources, and 77 million tonnes lithium at 1045 ppm lithium as inferred resources (0.75 and 0.43 million tonnes lithium carbonate equivalent – “LCE” , respectively. The deposit is at surface and to a depth of 60-100 meters in unlithified claystone material. There are over two square kilometers of fertile ground yet to be drill-tested on the Zeus property.
Global lithium resources are present in brine, pegmatite and claystone deposits. In 2019, there were only twelve lithium operations of significance globally. The USGS reports that “six mineral operations in Australia, two brine operations each in Argentina and Chile, and one brine and one mineral operation in China accounted for the majority of world lihiuim production (Table 1). Owing to overproduction and decreased prices, several established lithium operations postponed capacity expansion plans. Junior mining operations in Australia, Canada, and Namibia ceased production altogether.” /1/
In North America, the sole lithium producer is Albemarle’s Silver Peak brine operations, which have been in production for over 60 years (~3500 tonnes lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) produced in 2019: table 1). Silver Peak is surrounded by a number of lithium claystone deposits that are poised for expansion and development, including Noram’s Zeus project, Cypress Development’s TLC project, Ioneer’s Rhyolite Ridge project and American Lithium’s TLC project. Two other lithium claystone deposits of significance are in the Cordillera of the USA and Mexico: Lithium America’s Thacker Pass Project and Bacanora’s Sonora project (Figure 1).
The USGS estimates that global end-use markets for lithium in 2019 are as follows: batteries 65%, ceramics andglass 18%, lubricating greases 5% polymer production 3%, continuous casting mold flux powders 3% air treatment 1% and other uses 5%. Global lithium consumption in 2019 was estimated to be 57,700 lithium metal or 307,000 tonnes LCE (table 2). Rodney Hooper (2020-06 – /2/) , a global lithium expert states that “Lithium demand from batteries is set to grow to >800,000 tonnes LCE by 2025 from a base of ~190,000 tonnes LCE in 2019. The majority of that growth will be driven by electriv vehicles (EV) powered by tier 1 batteries with long-dated warranties.” Hooper continues, “Unexpected EV “under demand” in 2019/2020 has resulted in oversupply; however, through a combination of government incentives, penalties & model launches in key auto segments, 2021 & 2022 should deliver unprecedented demand growth.”