The Zeus Lithium Project (Zeus or the Project) in Clayton Valley, Nevada consists of 146 placer claims and 136 lode claims. The land package covers 1,133 hectares (2,800 acres). The perimeter of the Zeus claims are located within 1-mile (1.6 kilometers) of Albemarle Corporation’s (Albemarle’s) lithium brine operations. Lithium is produced at Albemarle’s plant from deep wells that pump brines from the basin beneath the Clayton Valley playa. The plant is the only lithium producer in the United States and has been producing lithium at this location continuously since 1967. Between Albemarle’s operations and Zeus lies a property comparable in size to the Zeus property and held by Century Lithium Corp.
Phase VI Drilling – Resource Estimate
Six phases of drilling between 2016 and 2022 have provided a basis for the current mineral resource estimate for Zeus. The Phase VI drilling program was completed in Q2 2022. In total 82 holes have been drilled giving a high level of confidence in the deposit modelled given the density of the drill programs undertaken. At a 400 ppm lithium cut-off grade, the Zeus deposit has Measured & Indicated Resources of 5.17 million tonnes (“Mt”) LCE (1,034 Mt at 941 ppm lithium), and Inferred Resources of 1.09 Mt LCE (235 Mt at 871 ppm lithium). The deposit occurs at or near surface.
The lithium assays from the drilling provide results that are reasonably consistent over a large portion of the Zeus claims. The model generated for the mineral resource estimate indicates zones of high lithium grades that remain open at depth in several areas of the deposit.
Zeus Lithium deposit Resource Estimate 2023-01
Section A-A’ Highlighting extensive continuity of high grade lithium sedimentary layers
Mineral Processing and Metallurgical Testing
Following the completion of the Phase VI drill program in May 2022, samples were collected from the Zeus drill core and shipped to Bureau Veritas Laboratories in Richmond, BC. During the period of July 2022 through September 2022, a number of tests were conducted on Zeus samples including: sulphuric acid leaching, hydrochloric acid leaching, roasting, neutralization, impurity removal and solid-liquid separation tests. Based on the test work completed and experience in other industries, the Company has refined the process design for lithium carbonate recovery that is based on known and commercially proven technology.
The Company has engaged Kemetco Research Inc (“Kemetco”), a private sector integrated science, technology and innovation company based in Richmond, BC to carry out further metallurgical test work to confirm and refine the process design. Kemetco have extensive experience in bench scale and pilot scale laboratory studies in lithium extraction.
Proposed Process Description
The proposed process consists of three main steps (Figure 1), as follows:
- Feed Preparation/Beneficiation:
- Mineralized material from the mine is passed through a roll crusher;
- Water is added in an agitated attrition scrubber to produce a slurry, and
- Coarse particles containing calcite are rejected through hyrdocyloning to reduce the acid consumption in the subsequent leaching stage.
- Leaching, Neutralization and Filtration:
- Lithium bearing clays from feed preparation are leached with sulphuric acid in agitated tanks at 90°C;
- Iron and aluminum impurities are removed from the lithium bearing solution using limestone under controlled conditions, and
- Iron and aluminum precipitates are filtered for dry-stacking in a tailings storage facility, minimizing water losses from the process and environmental impact.
- Lithium solution is further purified using known technology from lithium hard rock processing facilities to produce battery quality lithium carbonate for packaging and sale.
Test work is currently underway, initially testing the Feed Preparation/Beneficiation and Leaching, Neutralization and Filtration processes in the proposed flowsheet. It is expected that some testing will also be done on lithium solutions to produce battery quality lithium carbonate. Results of the test work will be used to validate the Company’s metallurgical models and mass/energy balances for the Project.
Simplified Process Flow Sheet