- Exploration of a former lithium mine in Manitoba expected to yield more than a million tons of tech-friendly metal
- Lithium is an in-demand metal that is expected to become more popular as electric vehicle production surges
- QMC anticipates significantly expanding Manitoba exploration potential as further under-explored sites are evaluated
Southcentral Canada may have the next big thing in terms of the supply chain for worldwide technological demands such as cell phone and electric vehicle batteries, rocket propellants, mental health medications and heat-resistant ceramics. The province is home to the Irgon Mine, a historical lithium mine that appears to have plenty of untapped resources, and QMC Quantum Minerals Corp. (OTC: QMCQF) (TSX.V: QMC) (FSE: 3LQ) is situated to explore it.
QMC is a strong proponent to the idea that hard-rock mining remains the ideal way to extract the lithium ore vital to so many aspects of modern daily use technology, despite the growing popularity among young start-up miners of brine evaporation techniques for quickly extracting the soft metal. The prolific Cat Lake-Winnipeg River pegmatite field of Southeastern Manitoba may provide ample hard-rock spodumene mineralization to extract. It is here that QMC is exploring 13 adjoining mineral claims, with direct Provincial Highway access, covering 6,538 acres and located about 150 kilometers (93 miles) northeast of Winnipeg.
QMC’s spodumene-bearing Irgon Dike was previously explored and developed underground by a company intent on mining lithium during the mid-20th century, but that project was abandoned because of the low market price for the metal at the time. The company, The Lithium Corporation of Canada Ltd. (“LCOC”), reported a resource estimate of 1.2 million tons of lithium oxide-bearing pegmatite that graded at 1.51 percent Li2O over a length of 365 meters (1,200 feet) and to a depth of 213 meters (700 feet). Initial historic testing of this ore at that time also reported an 87 percent recovery, from which a concentrate averaging 5.9 percent lithium oxide (Li2O) was extracted.
The historical reporting of this resource estimate was not up to modern National Instrument NI 43-101 reporting standards, so QMC’s first priority is to deliver a current NI 43-101 compliant estimate on the viability of the claims.
“We’re working vigilantly on proving-up and expanding the resource to NI 43-101 standards,” CEO Balraj Mann told market analyst Baystreet.ca in April (http://nnw.fm/Bs8fg). “Our 3-D modeling and interpretation of historical data strongly suggests potential for a much larger resource than has been identified by LCOC. I’m not saying we have another (massive strike like Australia’s) Greenbushes or anything like that but considering our position in a world-renown rare-element pegmatite district, the proximity to our neighbour (world-leading cesium miner TANCO) and the reported historical lithium resource published on the Irgon Mine, we feel good about the future.”
Mann’s comments about 3-D modeling reference findings that show significant lithium grades in the ore — regularly reporting above 1.0 percent and ranging as high as 2.21 percent across 9.5 meters (31 feet). QMC’s recent channel samples obtained grades up to 4.31 percent, 4.0 percent and 3.05 percent lithium oxide across short intervals of one meter, according to the Baystreet.ca report. The average grade of spodumene ore fed into the processing plant operated by Galaxy Resources in Australia fell to 1.11 percent over the past three months, showing the comparative potential of the Canadian Irgon Mine site.
QMC’s examination of the historical data also determined that the LCOC exploration only involved a portion of the Irgon Dike. QMC intends to not only upgrade the reporting standards on ore estimates, but to extend the strike length and test mineralization farther below the 700 foot depth to which LCOC explored. That is expected to “rapidly increase the resource tonnage above the currently reported historical tonnage of 1.2 million tons,” according to the company (http://nnw.fm/ob9aC).
“While our immediate focus is to be on the Irgon Dike where LCOC conducted their historical development work with plans for QMC to move towards production here as quickly as possible, we also see a tremendous opportunity to expand the project in the future,” Mann told Baystreet.ca. “Outcrops, grab and channel samples tell us that there are at least three more dikes within the 6,538 acres of our property and I don’t think it would be a great stretch to expect there to be more.”
Particularly as electric vehicle production skyrockets as anticipated during the next two decades, lithium miners around the world are expecting to step up their production in order to meet demand for the limited-supply metal. Yearly electric vehicle sales worldwide are predicted to reach 24.4 million by 2030 – a thirty-fold increase, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (http://nnw.fm/s5iCX).
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.QMCMinerals.com
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