- Increasing electric vehicle output drives lithium demand
- Room to grow, with electric vehicle segment still less than one percent of auto market
- QMC Quantum Minerals is one of just a handful of North American lithium miners
With over one million electric vehicles now crisscrossing roads around the globe, it’s going to take more than a bunny beating a drum to keep them going. If the 70 kWh battery pack inside the Tesla Model S is anything to go by, each EV of around the same size will require about 60-65 kilograms (132-143 lbs.) of lithium. That’s an awful lot of lithium, and, even though reserves of the mineral are more than adequate, getting it out in time is posing a problem. As a result, North American automakers are scrambling to ensure security of supply and may soon be turning to QMC Quantum Minerals Corp. (TSX.V: QMC) (FSE: 3LQ) (OTC: QMCQF). The junior exploration company is preparing to mine lithium at Cat Lake, Manitoba. The Irgon Lithium Mine Project property hosts several rare-element granitic pegmatite occurrences, one of which is the Irgon Lithium Mine Dike. The Irgon Dike has a published, historical, non NI43-101 compliant, near surface resource of 1.2 million tons of 1.51 percent Li2O.
Demand for lithium continues to grow, driven by increasing adoption of electric vehicles and the ubiquitous use of portable devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and fitness watches. The metal is an essential component of the batteries that provide power for these devices. A lot of this lithium comes from South America in an area known as the ‘Lithium Triangle’ because of the three countries – Argentina, Bolivia and Chile – that comprise it. This Lithium Triangle is estimated to hold over half of the world’s reserves, but current production methods mean that supplies come to market slowly.
The lithium there occurs in underground reservoirs of brines, and, to extract it, the brines are pumped into ponds where, through natural solar heat and atmospheric action, the water evaporates. Since the process requires hardly any output of energy, it is very cost-effective. However, it takes time; evaporation can take months. Consequently, lithium demand always seems to be outstripping supply. Supplies from mineral ore sources might be just the answer. In the past, lithium has been extracted from spodumene, lepidolite and petalite. Notably, the ores at QMC Quantum Minerals’ Irgon Property are pegmatite occurrences rich in spodumene.
The Irgon Dike and several other known pegmatite dikes are situated on 13 adjoining mineral claims covering 6,538 acres, which comprise the Irgon Lithium Mine Property. The property lies within the east-trending Mayville-Cat-Euclid Greenstone Belt (MCEGB) located along the northern contact of the Maskwa Lake Batholith. This northern greenstone belt has a similar structural geological setting to the Bird River Greenstone Belt (BRGB), which is located along the southern contact of the same batholith and is parallel to and approximately 18 km to the south of the MCEGB. The property is located 20 km north of the Tanco Mine Property. The BRGB hosts the world-class Tanco rare element-bearing pegmatite dike. The Tanco Mine went into production in 1969 and produced tantalum, cesium and lithium concentrate. It was previously North America’s largest and sole producer of spodumene, tantalite and pollucite.
As EV production kicks into top gear, demand for lithium is set to grow quickly, particularly in North America, where less than one percent of vehicles are currently electric. With over 200 million diesel and gasoline models to be replaced in the coming years, lithium producers appear to have a clear road to success ahead.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.QMCMinerals.com
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