• In the race to electrify the world’s vehicle fleet, the U.S. is in a tricky spot, dependent on lithium imports and in need of domestic sources of supply
  • Iconic Minerals’ Bonnie Claire property in Nevada is the largest lithium resource in North America
  • A recent preliminary economic assessment on Bonnie Clair indicates it can be a major supplier of lithium products

The world’s growing fleet of electric vehicles is creating a high demand for lithium, the material used in the batteries that power those vehicles. In a sign of how steep the curve is for this metal, global production rose from 38,000 metric tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) in 2016 to 82,000 tonnes in 2020. 

By 2030, global demand for LCE is expected to grow to an eye-popping 1.79 million metric tonnes.

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Lithium is key to accelerate the electric vehicle transition

As a result of the surge in demand, governments and EV manufacturers are rushing to secure their supply chains.

In 2021, the White House released a report that found “structural weaknesses” in its supply chains relating to “semiconductors, EV batteries and critical metals.” Based on this, they issued a national blueprint for lithium batteries to “improve domestic production.

Iconic Minerals could be the helping hand the U.S. needs

Canadian company Iconic Minerals (TSXV: ICM | OTC: BVTEF | FSE: YQGB) believes it may have an answer to some of the United States’ lithium needs, thanks to its Bonnie Claire project in Nevada. Currently, Nevada is the only source of lithium production in the U.S., and according to the state’s governor Steve Sisolak, it has an opportunity to “become to energy what Wall Street is to finance, or what Silicon Valley is to technology.” 

A U.S. dependent on imports of its lithium supplies is something the Biden administration is working to rectify. As a result, this desire makes Bonnie Claire a valuable asset for Iconic Minerals.
 

“The PEA has confirmed, using a borehole mining technique, that the economics of Bonnie Claire are feasible.” — Richard Kern, president & CEO, Iconic Minerals Ltd.

Iconic’s president and CEO, Richard Kern elaborates, “Bonnie Claire is the largest lithium resource in Nevada that isn’t tied up in clay — it’s in a form that is quite leachable.” That’s a huge feather in Iconic’s cap, as easy leachability will make it more cost-effective than clay-hosted deposits to produce lithium.

Bonnie Claire is the key ingredient for electric vehicles and batteries

Based on a recent preliminary economic assessment on Bonnie Claire, the project has the potential to fill in the market need for more lithium.

 

Completed by Global Resource Engineering Ltd. (GRE), the study determined what part of the resource is borehole mineable. The borehole mining technique uses a drill hole drilled to the bottom of the mineralized zone and then pumps high-pressure water into the formation while pumping the resulting loosened material out.

That material would then be transported to a mill on-site as a slurry and the large cavity that would result from the borehole method would be filled with tailings from the mill.

GRE found positive economics using borehole mining and recovery of lithium carbonate after thermal treatment and hot water leaching. They noted, “The project economics shown in the PEA are favourable and robust, providing positive NPV values at varying lithium carbonate prices, capital costs, and operating costs.”

Based on their findings, GRE also concluded that Bonnie Claire has the potential to be a major supplier of lithium products in the world, and that additional work is warranted.

All roads lead to Iconic Minerals

With the Biden administration keen to have the U.S. build out a domestic lithium supply chain, Iconic Minerals has found its permitting process on Bonnie Claire to be smooth sailing.

Earlier this year, the company announced a U.S. $5 million work plan with its 50 per cent partner in Bonnie Claire, Nevada Lithium Resources, to complete a major expansion of its exploration and development program in 2022.

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Map of Nevada highlighting the location of the Bonnie Claire property

The work plan is multi-faceted and is designed to accelerate the completion of a Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) that will build upon the project’s previously announced Preliminary Economic Assessment.

Kern notes that “The transition from resource to reserve and moving toward completion of a Pre-Feasibility Study is a major step forward in defining this major lithium deposit.”

The work plan is multi-faceted, consisting of five principal components: permitting, drilling, metallurgy, borehole mining method demonstration, and hydrology.

In a world where lithium is rapidly becoming more in demand, who controls the lithium supply becomes geopolitically significant. In fact, it could redefine the definition of energy independence.

Having a project in Nevada comes with a host of advantages for Iconic, as the state is consistently rated one of the most favourable mining districts in the world. In 2020, it was awarded the top spot for global mining attractiveness.

With Bonnie Claire representing North America’s largest lithium resource, its Nevada address makes it that much more desirable as a project.

Listed on the Toronto Venture Exchange as TSXV: ICM, Iconic Minerals looks like an attractive

investment opportunity as the electrification trend unfolds.

To learn more about Iconic Minerals, visit their website here.

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