Lithium Junior Miner News For The Month Of May 2019

Welcome to the May 2019 edition of the "junior" lithium miner news. I have categorized those lithium miners that won't likely be in production before 2020 as the juniors. Investors are reminded that most of the lithium juniors will most likely be needed in the mid 2020's to supply the booming electric vehicle (NYSE:EV) and energy storage markets. This means investing in these companies requires a higher risk tolerance, and a longer time frame.

May saw lithium prices mostly unchanged, except some slight fall in spodumene prices. Meanwhile there was lots of news from the lithium juniors, including a large takeover offer for Kidman Resources.

Lithium spot and contract price news

During May, 99% lithium carbonate China spot prices were up 0.87%. Spodumene (5% min) prices were down 2.46%.

Fastmarkets (formerly Metal Bulletin) reports 99.5% lithium carbonate battery grade spot prices cif China, Japan & Korea of US$11.50-13.00/kg (11,500-13,000/t), and min 56.5% lithium hydroxide battery grade spot prices cif China, Japan & Korea of US$15-16.00/kg (15-16,000/t). China lithium spodumene prices are USD 600-700/tonne.

Lithium price chart (Out of date now, but still not far off current prices)

https://static.seekingalpha.com/uploads/2019/3/24/37628986-15534107130947673.png

Source: Lithium Americas February presentation

The charts below courtesy of Fastmarkets show Lithium prices have stabilized after falling in H2 2018. Spodumene prices did weaken recently.

Source: Fastmarkets

Lithium market news

For a summary of the latest lithium market news and the "major" lithium company's news, investors can read my "Lithium Miners News For The Month Of May 2019" article. Highlights include:

  • Tesla expects global shortage of electric vehicle battery minerals.
  • $100/kWh Tesla battery packs in 2020.
  • BNEF releases an excellent 2019 EV Outlook. BNEF says Li-ion battery pack prices are currently $176/kWh, and they forecast them to fall to $87/kWh in 2025 and $62/kWh in 2030.
  • EV 'arms race' revs up Murkowski's old minerals bill. U.S. Senate moves forward on plan to develop electric vehicle supply chain. Currently only Asian firms appear in the top 10 of the battery manufacturing industry.
  • Volvo secures multi-billion dollar battery supply deal with CATL and LG Chem to support its electric car plans.

Junior lithium miners company news

Bacanora Lithium [LSE-AIM:BCN] [GR:2F9] (OTC:BCLMF)

On May 20, Bacanora Lithium announced: "Proposed strategic investment by Ganfeng Lithium." Highlights include:

  • "Proposed cornerstone strategic investment by top tier global lithium producer Ganfeng Lithium Co., Ltd. ("Ganfeng" or "GFL") at both the corporate and Sonora Lithium Project level.
  • Includes subscription for a 29.99% interest in Bacanora, in addition to an initial 22.5% direct interest in the Sonora Lithium Project with an option to increase up to 50% of the Project.
  • Additional long-term offtake for both Stage 1 and Stage 2 lithium production.
  • GFL would assist Bacanora in the finalisation of the EPC engineering design and the subsequent construction and commissioning of Sonora Lithium Project.
  • Strategy would be in place to ensure project timetable of first production in 2021."

Investors can view the company's latest presentation here.

Catalysts include:

  • 2019 - Project financing announcements for Sonora.
  • Q2 2019 - Zinnwald FS due.
  • H2 2020 - Plan to commence Sonora production ramping to 17,500 tpa, and in stage two 35,000 tpa.

Core Lithium Ltd. (formerly Core Exploration) [ASX:CXO] [GR:7CX] (OTCPK:CXOXF)

Core 100% own the Finniss Lithium Project (Grants Resource) in Northern Territory Australia. Significantly they already have an off-take partner with China's Yahua ($2.4b market cap, large lithium producer). The company states they have a "high potential for additional resources from 500km2 covering 100s of pegmatites.

On April 26, Core Lithium Ltd. announced: "Quarterly activities and cashflow report 31 March 2019."

On May 6, Core Lithium Ltd. announced: "Initial Resource estimate for Lees deposit drives Finniss Mineral Resource to 9.6Mt." Highlights include:

  • "Rapidly growing Finniss Lithium Project global Mineral Resource Estimate expanded to 9.63Mt at 1.3% Li2O through addition of a Resource Estimate for the Lees deposit.
  • Further resource growth is expected from an exploration target now defined in the adjacent Lees-Booths Link.
  • Assay results returned recently from Lees Prospect include some wide high-grade intersections [hole NRC116]: 18m @ 1.59% Li2O from 210m, including 7m @ 1.91% Li2O from 211m, and 3m @ 1.93% Li2O from 174m.
  • Assay results returned recently from Booths include multiple high-grade intersections (hole NRC117): 4m @ 1.20% Li2O from 121m, 3m @ 1.53% Li2O from 156m,and 3m @ 1.24% Li2O from 174m."

On May 21, Core Lithium Ltd. announced: "Beyond 10 million tonnes exploration, resource and reserves expansion. 2019/2020 Strategy Plan Finniss Lithium Project NT." Highlights include:

  • DFS considers only Grants and BP33 Deposits (5Mt combined resource) that have high proportion of Indicated/Measured resource.
  • The current Resources and Exploration Targets NOT in DFS: Carlton (1.1Mt @ 1.3% Li2O MRE). Hang Gong (1.4Mt @ 1.2% Li2O & ETR* 3-5Mt @ 1-1.4% Li2O). Lees (0.8Mt @ 1.3% Li2O & ETR* 2-3Mt @ 1-1.3% Li2O). Sandras (1.3Mt @ 1.0% Li2O MRE).
  • Remaining 500km2 of Finniss Project containing hundreds of pegmatites has “barely been scratched”.
  • CXO Global Resource Base increased by 500% since the start 2018 to 9.6Mt at 1.3% Li2O."

Investors can read my article - An Update On Core Lithium (Formerly Core Exploration), and a company presentation here.

Catalysts include:

  • H1 2020 - Production planned to begin.

Sayona Mining [ASX:SYA] (OTC:DMNXF)

On April 30, Sayona Mining announced: "Quarterly report–March quarter 2019." Highlights include:

  • "Production rate for Authier Lithium Project, Quebec to increase under revised mining lease application as development plans continue for sustainable and profitable new mine.
  • Positive drilling results boost prospects for new lithium deposit at Tansim Lithium Project, Quebec; project expands further with Lac Simard acquisition.
  • Agreement to acquire 100% of Great Sandy Option in WA finalised, in world‐class Pilgangoora lithium district."

On May 13, Sayona Mining announced: "New Sayona Quebec CEO to advance key lithium projects."

Investors can read the company presentation here, and my Trend Investing CEO interview here.

Upcoming catalysts include:

  • 2019 - Authier permitting, project financing and off-take
  • 2021/22 - Possible lithium producer.

Critical Elements [TSXV:CRE] [GR:F12] (OTCQX:CRECF)

No news for the month.

Upcoming catalysts include:

  • H1 2019 - Rose Stage 2 Feasibility Study due.
  • 2019 - Project financing announcements, potential resource upgrade.
  • 2022 - Possible producer.

Lithium Power International [ASX:LPI] (OTC:LTHHF)

On April 30, Lithium Power International announced:

Activity report for the quarter ended March 2019. The report repeated news on their "DFS with a pre-tax NPV of US$1.302b and an IRR of 29.8%, assuming a 50% debt/equity ratio (after-tax NPV of US$940m, IRR 26.7%). Forecast CAPEX of US$563m. Project operating costs are estimated at US$3,772 per tonne (/t) of Lithium Carbonate Equivalent [LCE], excluding offsets from potassium chloride [KCI] sales and any royalties. Production of 20,000 tonnes per annum (t/a) LCE would yield a high-value battery-grade lithium carbonate, unlike many lithium hard rock projects under development."

Investors can read my article: "Lithium Power International Has A Very High Grade And Expanding Lithium Project In Chile", as well as my ex-CEO interview on Trend Investing here.

Upcoming catalysts:

  • 2019 - Possible off-take partner and funding announcements for Maricunga Lithium Brine Project in Chile.
  • 2022 - Possible producer.

Kidman Resources [ASX:KDR] [GR:6KR] (OTCPK:KDDRF)

2017 news included the 50/50 JV with SQM for the Mt Holland Lithium Project, and a proposal for a refinery located in WA.

On May 2, Kidman Resources announced: "Kidman receives non-binding proposal from Wesfarmers to acquire 100% of the shares in Kidman for $1.90 per share." Highlights include:

  • "Following an initial period of value based due diligence, Kidman has received an indicative, non-binding and conditional Proposal from Wesfarmers to acquire 100% of the shares in Kidman at $1.90 per share by way of a Scheme of Arrangement.
  • Wesfarmers has been granted an exclusive period to complete confirmatory due diligence until no later than Wednesday, 29 May 2019, subject to customary fiduciary exceptions.
  • Kidman Directors and major shareholders intend to support the Proposal on the basis set out below.
  • Kidman shareholders do not need to take any action at the current time."

On May 23, Kidman Resources announced: "Kidman Resources and Wesfarmers enter into scheme implementation deed."

You can view the latest company presentation here.

Upcoming catalysts include:

  • Late 2019 - FS due for the Mt Holland Lithium Project.
  • H2 2021 - Plan to commence lithium production.

Birimian Ltd [ASX:BGS] (OTC:EEYMF)

Birimian’s projects include the Goulamina Lithium Project, the advanced Massigui Gold Project, and the Dankassa Gold Project, all situated in southern Mali.

On April 29, Birimian Ltd. announced: "Quarterly activities report for period ending 31 March 2019. Highlights include:

Goulamina Lithium Project

  • "Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) Permit received.
  • Appointment of key executive staff to bolster the Company’s in house expertise.
  • Exploitation Permit application submitted.
  • Ongoing discussions with new potential partners regarding investment and offtake."

Dankassa and Massigui Gold Projects.

  • "Royalty payments received from Morila totaling A$990,081 for December quarter production from N’tiola."

On May 16, Birimian Ltd. announced:

Goulamina lithium project update. Birimian Limited is pleased to provide an update outlining progress on its 100 per cent owned Goulamina Lithium Project (“the Project”) in Mali.

You can view the latest company presentation here.

Catalysts include:

  • Q1, 2020 - DFS due for the Goulamina Lithium Project.

Advantage Lithium (OTCQB:AVLIF) [TSXV:AAL]

On April 24, Advantage Lithium announced:

Advantage Lithium files updated mineral resource Technical Report for the Cauchari JV Property in Argentina.

Upcoming catalysts:

  • 2019 - Cauchari JV Pre-Feasibility Study due to be released.

Sigma Lithium Resources [TSXV:SGMA] (SLRFF)

Sigma is developing a world class lithium hard rock deposit with exceptional mineralogy at its Grota do Cirilo property in Brazil.

No news for the month.

Catalysts include:

  • 2019 - PFS due.
  • Late 2019 - Full scale commissioning.
  • 2021 - Plan to be a 220ktpa lithium spodumene producer.

Millennial Lithium Corp. [TSXV:ML] (OTCQB:MLNLF) (OTCQX:MLNLF)

Millennial has tenements at the Pastos Grande Lithium Project and the Cauchari East Lithium Project, in Argentina.

No news for the month.

You can view the Company's latest investor presentation here.

Upcoming catalysts:

  • H1 2019 - Feasibility Study results due for Pastos Grande.

Neo Lithium [TSXV:NLC] (OTC:NTTHF)

On May 8, Neo Lithium announced: "Neo Lithium announces filing of technical report for the pre-feasibility study on its 3Q project."

On May 21, Neo Lithium announced: "Neo Lithium provides operational update." Highlights include:

  • "Lithium Carbonate Pilot Plant now fully operational.
  • First Batch of Technical Grade Lithium Carbonate Expected in July-August 2019.
  • First Batch of Battery Grade Lithium Carbonate expected in September-October 2019.
  • Geochemical Laboratory in Fiambalá Now Fully Operational.
  • Drilling Season Ended Reaching a Depth of 280 Meters in The High-Grade Zone."

Investors can read my February 2019 article "Neo Lithium Is Just Too Cheap Too Ignore" when the stock was at C$0.58.

Investors can read the latest company presentation here, and an excellent video here. My CEO interview is available on Trend Investing here.

Upcoming catalysts include:

  • H1, 2019 - Project partner/funding announcements.
  • By end 2019 - Environmental Impact Assessment and permitting approval expected.
  • H1 2020 - Feasibility Study due.
  • Late 2021 or 2022 - Potential to start production.

AVZ Minerals [ASX:AVZ] (OTC:AZZVF)

On May 8, AVZ Minerals announced: "Manono confirmed as the largest measured and indicated lithium resource in the world." Highlights include:

  • "A 41.7% increase in combined Measured and Indicated Resources, up from 189.8Mt to 269.0 Mt grading1.65% Li2O, 816ppm Sn and 36ppm Ta.
  • Overall tonnage remains unchanged but the Mineral Resource confidenceimproves significantly with 67% of total Mineral Resources now classified as Measured & Indicated, up from 47% previously."

On May 23, AVZ Minerals announced: "5 mtpa scoping study further strengthens the economic potential of the Manono Lithium & Tin Project" Highlights include:

  • Extended Scoping Study for 5 Mtpa further strengthens the economics potential for a world class, high margin, long life mining project.
  • Includes the recently updated Mineral Resource of combined Measured and Indicated Resources of 269.0Mt grading 1.65% Li2O.
  • Includes Independent Transport Study completed by Alistair Group.
  • The potential for tin by-product credits was not taken into consideration in this analysis. These credits will be included in the DFS."

Upcoming catalysts include:

  • Q2 2019 - Definitive Feasibility Study for Manono.

ioneer Ltd [ASX:INR] (formerly Global Geoscience [ASX:GSC])

No news for the month.

Upcoming catalysts include:

  • Q3 2019 - DFS.
  • 2020 - Off-take and project financing discussions.

Argosy Minerals [ASX:AGY][GR:AM1] (OTCPK:ARYMF)

Argosy has an interest in the Rincon Lithium Project in Argentina, targeting a fast-track development strategy.

On April 30, Argosy Minerals announced: "Quarterly activities report–March 2019." Highlights include:

  • "Sales Agreement executed with Mitsubishi Corporation RtM Japan Ltd, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corporation.
  • Continuous pilot plant operations targeted to commence mid-2019, following delivery of chemical reagents and preparations to scale up the operational workforce.
  • Submitted permitting applications to Salta Province Mines Department, currently targeting approvals for an initial ~2,000tpa commercial operation module.
  • Preparing applications for full commercial scale (~10,000tpa) project development approvals/permits.

Key Objectives for June 2019 Quarter

  • "Prepare industrial scale pilot plant for commencement of continuous lithium processing operations to produce LCE product for Mitsubishi RtM sales agreement.
  • Firm-up scale to progress with next stage of commercial development and towards commercial stage funding solution.
  • Targeting receipt of development approvals/permits for 2,000tpa operation.
  • Further engagement with potential strategic off-take partners."

Investors can view the company's latest investor presentation here.

European Metals Holdings [ASX:EMH] [AIM:EMH] [GR:E861] (OTC:ERPNF)

On April 30, European Metals Holdings announced: "Quarterly activities report–March 2019." Highlights include:

Drill Program Update

"During the quarter the Company released two updates regarding the current eight core-hole resource drilling programme at the Cinovec Project. Drilling of five of the eight holes was reported as completed. Analytical results for the five drill holes from the Cinovec South deposit were also reported."

Key points:

  • "Resource drill holes CIS-10, CIS-11, CIS-12, CIS-13 and CIS-14 were completed including analytical reports. Hole CIS-11 returned 129.3m averaging 0.51% Li2O, incl. 2m @ 0.93% Li2O, 2m @0.93% Li2O; 5m @ 0.56% Sn and 0.11% W, 5m @ 0.21% Sn, and 7m @ 0.11% Sn."

Upcoming catalysts include:

  • H1 2019 - Updated PFS to be released. Off-take discussions.
  • 2019/20 - Bankable Feasibility Study to be released.

Wealth Minerals [TSXV:WML] [GR:EJZN] (OTCQB:WMLLF)

Wealth Minerals has a portfolio of lithium assets in Chile, such as 46,200 Has at Atacama, 8,700 Has at Laguna Verde, 6,000 Has at Trinity, 10,500 Has at Five Salars.

No news for the month.

Investors can view the company's latest presentation here.

Upcoming catalysts include:

Plateau Energy Metals [TSXV:PLU] [GR:QG1A] (OTCQB:PLUUF)

Plateau Energy Metals Inc. (formerly Plateau Uranium) is a Canadian lithium and uranium exploration and development company focused on its properties on the Macusani Plateau in southeastern Peru.

No news for the month.

Upcoming catalysts include:

  • Mid 2019 - Complete PEA for the Falchani Lithium Project.

Cypress Development Corp. (TSXV:CYP) (OTCBB:OTCQB:CYDVF)

Cypress Development owns tenements in the Clayton Valley, Nevada, USA.

No news for the month.

Upcoming catalysts include:

Piedmont Lithium [ASX:PLL] (PLL)

Piedmont Lithium state they are "the only US lithium spodumene project", with their 100%-owned Piedmont Lithium project in North Carolina. The company has already identified a 4+ kilometers of strike length in Phase 1 drilling.

On April 30, Piedmont Lithium announced: "March 2019 quarterly report." Highlights include:

  • "Continued the 25,000-meter Phase 4 drill program, with three drill rigs active on the Core property, where a total of 69holes have been completed to-date. An additional 15 holes have been completed on the Central property, including the Project’s best hole to date: 43.2m @ 1.73% Li2O.
  • Increased overall land position of the Project by 52% to 2,105 acres. The Company’s Core property now comprises 1,004 acres, representing an 86% increase from the Core property land position underlying the maiden Mineral Resource estimate.
  • Completed an initial Mineral Resource estimate for the Central property, located approximately one mile south of the Core property, increasing the Project’s total Mineral Resources to 19.0 million tonnes (“Mt”) at 1.15% Li2O.
  • Submitted key permit applications for the Project.
  • Commenced the next level of metallurgical test work.
  • Commenced engineering work for a planned updated Scoping Study.
  • Engaged in numerous preliminary off-take, financing and strategic conversations, including companies from the lithium, mining, chemicals, battery, automotive and private equity sectors.
  • Next steps: Phase 4 drill program results will provide the basis for an updated Mineral Resource estimate scheduled for June, which is expected to extend the mine life for the Project. Complete metallurgical studies, including evaluating the potential for a DMS before the flotation circuit, to further enhance operating costs in the concentrator. Complete an updated Scoping Study based on updated Mineral Resources, latest metallurgical testwork, flowsheet optimization and updated costs. Complete permit applications and secure the necessary permits and approvals to commence mining and processing operations at the Project; and continue expansion of the Company’s land position in the Carolina Tin-Spodumene Belt (“TSB”) with a focus on areas of high mineral prospectivity."

Upcoming catalysts include:

  • July 2019 - Updated Scoping Study to be completed.
  • End 2019 - Definitive Feasibility Study and permitting approvals.

You can view the company's latest presentation here.

Frontier Lithium [TSXV:FL] (OTC:HLKMF)

Frontier Lithium own the PAK Lithium (spodumene) Project comprising 6,976 hectares and located 175 kilometers north of Red Lake in northwestern Ontario. The PAK deposit is a lithium-cesium-tantalum (LCT) type pegmatite containing high-purity, technical-grade spodumene (below 0.1% iron oxide).

On April 29, 2019 Frontier Lithium announced:

Frontier Lithium announces $1.5 million flow-through financing. The Offering will consist of the sale of flow-through units (“FT Units”) at $0.40 per FT Unit to raise proceeds of up to $1,500,000.

AIS Resources [TSXV:AIS] (OTCQB:AISSF)

No news for the month.

Investors can read the company presentation here, or the Company's twitter feed here.

Nano One Materials [TSXV:NNO] (OTCPK:NNOMF)

On May 2, Nano One Materials announced:

Nano One advances materials for solid state lithium ion batteries.

“There is a global effort underway to increase the energy density and safety of lithium ion batteries,” explained Nano One CEO, Dan Blondal.......“and solid-state batteries are one of the more promising solutions. Nano One has developed a number of cathode materials and processes that have caught the attention of the industry, primarily from within the automotive sector. We have many third-party evaluations now underway with the goal of partnering to make solid state batteries a reality.”

On May 7, Nano One Materials announced:

Nano One granted its sixth US patent in batteries. This patent adds more definition to the Nano One unique process for making nanostructured precursors for lithium ion battery cathode materials.

Other lithium juniors

Other juniors include: ABE Resources [TSXVABE] [GR:1AJ2] (OTCQB:ABEPF), Ardiden [ASX:ADV], American Lithium Corp. [TSX-V: LI] (OTCQB:LIACF), Anson Resources [ASX:ASN] [GR:9MY], Argentina Lithium and Energy Corp. [TSXV: LIT] (OTCQB: OTCQB:PNXLF), Avalon Advanced Materials [TSX:AVL] [GR:OU5] (OTCQX:AVLNF), Far Resources [CSE:FAT] (OTCPK:FRRSF), Force Commodities [ASX:4CE], Hannans Ltd [ASX:HNR], Iconic Minerals [TSXV:ICM] [FSE:YQGB] (OTCPK:BVTEF), Infinity Lithium [ASX:INF], Kodal Minerals (LSE-AIM: KOD), Lake Resources [ASX:LKE] [GR:LK1], Latin Resources Ltd [ASX: LRS] (OTC:LAXXF), Liontown Resources [AS:LTR] (OTC:LINRF), Lithium Australia [ASX:LIT] (OTC:LMMFF), Lithium Chile Inc. [TSXV:LITH][GR:KC3] (OTCQB:LTMCF), Lithium Energi Exploration Inc. (TSXV:OTC:LEXI) (OTC:LXENF), MetalsTech [ASX:MTC], MGX Minerals [CSE:XMG] (OTC:MGXMF), Noram Ventures [TSXV: NRM], NRG Metals Inc. [TSXV:NGZ] (OTCQB:NRGMF), One World Lithium [CSE:OWLI] (OTC:OWRDF), Portofino Resources Inc.[TSXV:POR] [GR:POT], Prospect Resources [ASX:PSC], Pure Energy Minerals [TSXV:PE] (OTCQB:PEMIF), Rock Tech Lithium [CVE:RCK], Savannah Resources [LSE:SAV] (GR:AFM], and Standard Lithium [TSXV:SLL] (OTC:STLHF).

Conclusion

May saw lithium spot prices mostly unchanged, and steady progress by most of the junior lithium miners, combined with a takeover offer for Kidman Resources.

Highlights for the month were:

  • BNEF says Li-ion battery pack prices are currently $176/kWh, and they forecast them to fall to $87/kWh in 2025 and $62/kWh in 2030.
  • Bacanora Lithium announced: "Proposed strategic investment by Ganfeng Lithium.
  • Core Lithium Global Resource base increased by 500% since the start 2018 to 9.6Mt at 1.3% Li2O.
  • Kidman receives non-binding proposal from Wesfarmers to acquire 100% of the shares in Kidman for $1.90 per share.
  • Neo Lithium - Lithium Carbonate Pilot Plant now fully operational.
  • AVZ Minerals - Manono confirmed as the largest measured and indicated lithium resource in the world, 269.0 Mt grading1.65% Li2O.
  • Argosy Minerals - Sales Agreement executed with Mitsubishi Corporation RtM Japan Ltd, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corporation.

As usual all comments are welcome.

Disclosure: I am/we are long NYSE:ALB, JIANGXI GANFENG LITHIUM [SHE: 2460], JIANGXI GANFENG LITHIUM [HK: 1772], SQM (NYSE:SQM), ASX:ORE, ASX:GXY, ASX:PLS, ASX:AJM, AMS:AMG, TSX:LAC, TSXV:NLC, ASX:AVZ, ASX:NMT, ASX:CXO, TSXV:PLU, TSXV:CYP. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Additional disclosure: The information in this article is general in nature and should not be relied upon as personal financial advice.

Editor's Note: This article covers one or more microcap stocks. Please be aware of the risks associated with these stocks.

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