Western Lithium Upgrades Stage I Lithium Resource to Potentially Support Higher Grade Mining
Western Lithium announces an interim update to its Stage I lithium resource based on an on-going drilling campaign to upgrade the lithium resources at its Kings Valley property in Nevada. The current results of the 2010 drilling campaign that focused on increasing drill hole density, indicate strong geological continuity of the lithium resource at higher cut-off lithium grades. As a higher grade of feedstock is anticipated to improve the overall cost structure of the project, the company is now considering sizing the project for an initial start up phase of nominally 13,500 tonnes per year of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE).
With potentially higher feedstock grades and corresponding lower tonnages, the company also expects to reduce its initial capital requirements and to improve its market entry competitive position. “Drilling is planned to continue into 2011 with the aim to potentially upgrade resources further to the Measured and Indicated categories for reserve definition” said Jay Chmelauskas, Western Lithium’s President. “In addition, the size of our resource gives us considerable flexibility to develop a project that can meet the initial needs of the market with significant future potential for scalability.” At a 0.40% lithium metal (Li) cut-off, the updated Stage I resource contains 10 million tonnes of Indicated resource at an average grade of 0.43% Li metal, or the lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) of 230,500 tonnes, and 10 million tonnes of Inferred resource at an average grade of 0.42%, for an additional 231,000 tonnes of Inferred LCE(1).
The Stage I lithium resource supports the company’s NI 43-101 Preliminary Assessment and Economic Evaluation (PAEE) that was filed in February 2010. The original PAEE considered a nominal feedstock grade of approximately 0.33% lithium metal. Since the PAEE was completed, an additional 48 drill holes have been added to the mineral inventory bringing the total number of holes defining the Stage I resource to 87 to date. The additional drilling has upgraded some of the mineral inventory from the Inferred to the Indicated categories that will form the basis for the next phase of pre-feasibility engineering. If the company is successful with its Stage I development, then the potential for future scalability is anticipated based on the historic lithium resources at the property.
Western Lithium’s Kings Valley property has one of the largest known lithium deposits in the world, based on a historical resource estimate done by Chevron Resources Corp. (Chevron) of 11 million tonnes of LCE(2). This additional drilling supports work previously carried out by Chevron in the 1970’s and 1980’s that identified five lithium bearing hectorite clay lenses. (1) Mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability. (2) A qualified person has not done sufficient work to classify the historical estimate as current mineral resources, Western Lithium is not treating the historical estimate as current mineral resources and the historical estimate should not be relied upon. The Chevron historical resource estimate of 11 million tonnes of LCE is at average grades ranging from 0.31% to 0.37% Li, March 1985. There is insufficient information regarding the categories used in the historical estimates to make a meaningful comparison to current resource categories under CIM Definition Standards of Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves. Updated Interim Stage I Lithium Carbonate Equivalent (LCE) Resource Inventory Reserva International LLC completed a review of the exploration work and has developed an interim lithium mineral resource estimate effective November 3, 2010 for the Stage I Lens that conforms to National Instrument 43-101.
The resource estimate was made from a three-dimensional (3D) block model using commercial mine planning software (Gemcom™). Indicated Resources, Stage I Lens Cutoff Li (%) Million Metric Tonnes Li (%) Contained LCE Metric Tonnes 0.20 179 0.29 2,765,400 0.25 120 0.32 2,044,400 0.30 70 0.35 1,307,200 0.35 30 0.39 628,300 0.40 10 0.43 230,500 0.45 2 0.47 62,400 Inferred Resources, Stage I Lens Cutoff Li (%) Million Metric Tonnes Li (%) Contained LCE Metric Tonnes 0.20 172 0.29 2,687,700 0.25 118 0.32 2,036,700 0.30 77 0.35 1,436,700 0.35 33 0.39 686,400 0.40 10 0.42 231,000 0.45 0.3 0.47 7,700 * Inferred tonnes one drill hole within 225x300m with at least 3 composites used in the estimation; Indicated tonnes minimum 2 drill holes within 150x200m with at least 4 composites used in the estimation. Contained metal does not allow for mine and metallurgical recovery. 1.8 tonnes/m3 tonnage factor used. Reasonable prospects of economic extraction by open pit mining established using: $3.00 lithium carbonate/lb, 92% metallurgical recovery, $69/tonne processing, $2.35 USD/tonne mining.
To convert Lithium (Li) to Lithium Carbonate (Li2CO3) multiply Li by 5.323. Rounding errors may exist. Quality Assurance and Quality Control Program Quality assurance-quality control by Western Lithium consists of standard samples, pulp duplicate analyses, blank analyses, and check assays. WLC used ALS Chemex (ALS) of Reno, Nevada as their primary assay laboratory for the Stage I 2010 drill campaign. Check duplicate analyses were also performed on pulp samples at ALS. Those samples were prepared and analyzed in the same batch as the original sample. Qualified Person The resource estimate was calculated by Timothy J. Carew, P. Geo., Principal, Reserva International LLC, an independent Qualified Person as defined by NI 43-101. Timothy Carew is the Qualified Person that has reviewed the technical data in this news release and Dennis Bryan, P.E., Western Lithium’s Senior Vice President of Development and Qualified Person, has also reviewed the technical data in this news release.
Western Lithium is developing the Kings Valley, Nevada lithium deposit into potentially one of the world’s largest(3) strategic, scalable and reliable sources of high quality lithium carbonate. The Company is positioning itself as a major U.S.-based supplier to support the rising global demand for lithium carbonate that is expected from the increased use of hybrid/electric vehicles. For further information contact: Western Lithium USA Corporation Cindy Burnett, Investor Relations Telephone: 604-331-9842 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.westernlithium.com