As the demand for clean technologies grows, so too does the demand for high-tech rechargeable batteries used to power the green economy. However, the United States and the European Union’s current dependence on Japan, South Korea and China for 80 percent of the world’s battery production is threatening their auto industry. As the largest processor and producer of these battery materials, China alone can significantly influence pricing and supply chain flows.
The United States and the European Union are working to reduce dependence on these countries and restructure supply chains. Both regions have identified Canada as a secure and stable source of sustainable raw materials, such as lithium, which is critical to the growing electric vehicle market. As a result, mining companies with Canada-based projects that supply materials needed for high-tech rechargeable batteries such as lithium may be an interesting opportunity for investors to consider.
International Lithium (TSXV:ILC, OTC:ILHMF, FRA:IAH, OTCQB:ILHMF) is a mineral exploration company focused on developing a portfolio of lithium and rare metals projects and royalties in Canada and Ireland. The company is led by an experienced management team with a proven track record of advancing prospective projects with low technical risk in established mining jurisdictions.
International Lithium delivers shareholder value through project development, strategic partnerships and project sales. The company’s projects include the Raleigh Lake and Avalonia projects.
The company’s flagship Raleigh Lake project is a wholly owned and highly prospective lithium, rubidium and caesium project in Ontario. Raleigh Lake spans 48,500 hectares adjacent to the Trans-Canada highway and CPR railway, just outside the town of Ignace, and features promising drill results. Drilling identified stacked tabular dyke-like bodies that gently dip from surface, covering an area of 600 meters along strike by 400 meters downdip with each dyke having grades akin to the 3.78-meter interval grading 1.72 percent lithium oxide and 2,829 parts per million (ppm) rubidium in drill hole RL21-03. Prospecting on newly acquired claims discovered 20 new pegmatites at surface level over several kilometers.
Pegmatite outcrop discovered at the White Otter prospect, Raleigh Lake project area.
International Lithium’s Avalonia project is a joint venture lithium project located in Leinster, Ireland, spanning 29,200 hectares covering a 50-kilometer belt. Drilling on the Avalonia project returned 2.23 percent lithium oxide over 23.3 meters including 3.43 percent lithium oxide over 6 meters and 1.50 percent lithium oxide over 5.6 meters. The Avalonia project is currently under an option agreement. International Lithium currently owns 45 percent.
“International Lithium. is now in by far the strongest financial position that it has been since its listing in 2011, and we look forward to building successfully on that both at our lithium and rubidium project at Raleigh Lake in Ontario and on our other present and future projects,” said chairman and CEO John Wisbey.
In October 2021, the company sold its share in the Mavis Lake joint venture lithium and caesium project in Ontario to Critical Resources Ltd. (ASX:CRR) with proceeds totaling C$1.48 million and a possible further C$1.38 million linked to resource discovery milestones.
The company also sold its remaining interest in the Mariana project in Argentina for US$13.17 million, which has placed International Lithium in a strong financial position to further increase its liquidity. In 2021 alone, the company raised C$4.9 million in equity financing.
International Lithium is currently focused on developing its flagship Raleigh project. In addition, the company continues to identify additional properties to add to its portfolio.
- International Lithium is developing a portfolio of lithium and rare metals projects and royalties in Canada and Ireland, aiming to deliver shareholder value through project development, strategic partnerships and project sales.
- The company’s flagship Raleigh Lake project is a wholly owned and highly prospective lithium, rubidium and caesium project in Ontario, Canada.
- The company produced its maiden resource estimate for lithium and rubidium and is working towards a preliminary economic assessment on Zone 1 of Raleigh Lake,
- International Lithium’s 29,200-hectare Avalonia project is a joint venture lithium project located in a large belt in Leinster, Ireland. Drilling on the project returned 2.23 percent lithium oxide over 23.3 meters including 3.43 percent lithium oxide over 6.0 meters and 1.50 percent lithium oxide over 5.60 meters.
- The company is led by an experienced management team with a proven track record of advancing prospective projects with low technical risk in established mining jurisdictions.
Drilling at Raleigh Lake
The flagship Raleigh Lake project is a fully owned lithium, rubidium and caesium project located immediately west of Ignace in Ontario, Canada. The Raleigh Lake project spans 48,500 hectares and is accessible via the Trans-Canada Highway. The project also features access to the Canadian Pacific railway, natural gas pipelines and a hydropower line that crosses through the property.
Drilling on the property began in April 2021 and returned promising grades of lithium, sizable amounts of rubidium and small amounts of caesium. Drilling identified mineralization hosted in at least four main pegmatites and more observed in outcrops. Drill results include 2.80 of lithium oxide over 9.0 meters as well as 1.05 meters grading 2.69 percent lithium oxide from 31.04 meters and 1.18 meters grading 4210 ppm rubidium from 29.86 meters within a 3.78-meter interval grading 1.72 percent lithium oxide and 2829 ppm rubidium.
In 2021, International Lithium focused on evaluating the regional potential for additional lithium-bearing pegmatites in and around the Raleigh Lake area and, as a result, has expanded the project from 3,000 hectares to more than 47,700 hectares, based on analysis of regional geophysical and geological data.
Phase 3 of the diamond drilling program, which began in September 2022 at Zone 1 of the Raleigh Lake Lithium project intersected spodumene-bearing pegmatite, demonstrating tremendous continuity of the mineralized body.
- Phase 3 drill highlights
- All Phase 3 holes testing Pegmatite 1 in Zone 1 intersected spodumene-bearing pegmatite, demonstrating tremendous continuity of the mineralized body
- Thicker and higher-grade mineralization intersected closer to the surface as anticipated.
- Phase 1, 2 and 3 pierce points have intersected Pegmatite 1 along a strike length of over 800 meters and along its dip for over 400 meters.
- Pegmatite 1 Spodumene Zone Intersection Highlights*
- RL22-45: 4.85 meters grading 2.06 percent lithium oxide in lower spodumene zone (from 89.5 meters);
- RL22-48: 15.82 meters grading 2.25 percent lithium oxide (from 65.56 meters);
- RL22-49: 2.21 meters grading 2.47 percent lithium oxide (from 72.69 meters);
- RL22-50: 4.62 meters grading 2.29 percent lithium oxide (from 56.12 meters);
- RL22-56: 2.96 meters grading 2.13 percent lithium oxide (from 72.42 meters);
- Pegmatite 1 Rubidium-bearing Microcline Intersection Highlights*
- RL22-45: 3.98 meters grading 1.21 percent rubidium oxide from 85.52 meters;
- RL22-57: 4.69 meters grading 0.60 percent rubidium oxide from 152.51 meters.
Lithium MRE isometric section view looking southwest with lithium grades.
Maiden Mineral Resource Estimate for the Raleigh Lake Lithium Project
International Lithium filed lithium and rubidium mineral resource estimates (MRE) which will be published in a related NI 43-101 Technical Report. The two MREs are closely related due to their spatial relationships, but their respective resource estimates are considered separate and unique.
This is a summary of the lithium MRE for lithium-caesium-tantalum (LCT) pegmatites of the Raleigh Lake pegmatite field. The open pit and underground MREs are constrained via optimized pit shell and minable shape wireframes, respectively.
An independent MRE has been calculated for the rubidium contained within microcline zones of the LCT pegmatites. Rubidium also occurs throughout the LCT pegmatites within the lithium-bearing spodumene at a lower cutoff but is not included in this rubidium MRE. Rubidium reaching grades greater than 4,000 ppm is attributed to pockets of high modal abundance of microcline (potassic feldspar). The open pit and underground MREs are constrained via optimized pit shell and minable shape wireframes, respectively.
Rubidium Open Pit and Underground MRE
Spodumene in boulder at Avalonia
The Avalonia project is a joint venture lithium project located in Leinster, Ireland. The property spans 29,200 hectares covering a 50-kilometer belt with around 29 significant lithium pegmatite occurrences. Drilling on the Avalonia project returned 2.23 percent lithium oxide over 23.3 meters including 3.43 percent lithium oxide over 6.0 meters and 1.50 percent lithium oxide over 5.60 meters. However, some drill results on the property are still pending.
International Lithium currently owns 45 percent of the project while Ganfeng Lithium owns 55 percent. Ganfeng Lithium has the option to acquire 79 percent of the project by spending C$10 million for exploration activities by September 2024 or by producing a positive feasibility study. If the option is exercised, International Lithium will retain 21 percent of the Avalonia project which may reduce further if the company does not contribute to the project. However, if the company’s ownership becomes less than 10 percent then its share will convert to a 1 percent NSR.
John Wisbey – Chairman and CEO
John Wisbey joined the board of ILC in 2017. After a few months, he became deputy chairman and then he became chairman and CEO in March 2018. He has personally invested significant funds in ILC since joining the board and is now ILC’s largest shareholder. He has had a career as a technology entrepreneur and is also a former banker. More recently, Wisbey was a green energy entrepreneur. He founded two London AIM-listed companies –– IDOX plc which provides software for the UK local government and Lombard Risk Management plc which specializes in software for bank risk management and regulation. He also established CONVENDIA Ltd. which is a private company that specializes in software for cash flow forecasting, project valuation and M&A financial analysis. Wisbey holds various non-executive director roles in the UK and Switzerland. He was formerly a banker at Kleinwort Benson. At Kleinwort Benson, he held various roles, including a director in the derivatives group, head of options and corporate lending. Wisbey has acted as a public company chairman, CEO, or director for twenty years. He is a graduate of Cambridge University.
Maurice Brooks – Director and CFO
Maurice Brooks joined the board of ILC in 2017. He is a licensed senior statutory auditor in the UK. Since 2000, he has been a senior partner at Johnson Smith & Co. in Staines, Surrey. Before that, Brooks was a senior partner in Johnsons Chartered Accountants in the London Borough of Ealing. His commercial and investment experience includes executive directorships in manufacturing and an investment accountant role to the superannuation fund of the Western Australian state government. His early professional employment includes Ball Baker Leake LLP and LLC and Price Waterhouse Coopers-UK.
Anthony Kovacs – Director and COO
Anthony Kovacs joined the board of ILC in 2018 and has worked with the company since 2012. He has over 25 years of experience in mineral exploration and development. Before joining ILC, he held senior management roles in which he sourced and advanced iron ore and industrial minerals projects. Kovacs was involved in early-stage work at the Lac Otelnuk Iron Ore project in Quebec, Canada and the Mustavaara Vanadium Mine in Finland. Before that, Kovacs worked for Anglo American where he focused on Ni-Cu-PGE and IOCG projects. At Anglo-American, Kovacs was directly involved in several discoveries internationally. Kovacs has significant experience with industrial minerals, ferrous metals, non-ferrous metals and precious metals projects throughout the Americas, Europe and Africa.
Ross Thompson – Non-Executive Director
Ross Thompson joined the board of ILC in 2017 and is the chair of the audit and remuneration committees. He is a speaker and expert in marketing behavioral science. In 1995, he founded Giftpoint Ltd. which is now one of the largest specialist promotional merchandise businesses in the UK. with offices in London and Shanghai. Giftpoint Ltd.’s clients include L’Oreal, Oracle, Ocado and Pernod Ricard among others. Thompson was president of IGC Global Promotions, one of the world’s oldest and largest global networks of premium resellers, for seven years. He is an active investor with a special interest and understanding of natural resources businesses.