BUCKELL LITHIUM PROJECT
On September 22, 2016 TANTALEX announced an important joint-venture with COMINIÈRE SA, a private company in which 90% of the share capital is state-owned by the Democratic Republic of Congo (“DRC”), and 10% is owned by L’Institut National de Sécurité Sociale du Congo, DRC’s largest Social Security and Pension fund. The joint-venture entity is named United Cominière sas (“UNITED COMINIÈRE”). This joint-venture is unique opportunity as the State-owned entity has agreed to terms whereby UNITED COMINIÈRE will retain a 70% stake in the JV, and COMINIÈRE SA will retain 30%.
The Buckell Lithium project is located 600 km north of Lubumbashi near the town of Manono, Tanganyika province, Democratic Republic of Congo. The claims are found within a Mesoproterozoic geological structure, showing strong evidence of Lithium-Cesium-Tantalum (LCT) Pegmatites. Furthermore, the properties are located adjacent to and along strike south of the world-class LCT-Pegmatite Manono-Kitotolo (MK) mine, which has been defined as the largest pegmatitic deposit of spodumene, tin and tantalite ever worked (Bassot et Mario 1989). Previously owned by Geomines SA Belgium mining company, six open pit mines operated at MK from 1915 to 1988, producing 140,000-185,000 tonnes of tin and 4,500 tonnes of coltan concentrate. The remaining pegmatite deposit could exceed 500Mt to a depth of 125m. (Zairetain 1981). Metallurgical test work carried out in 1956, 1976 and 1981 demonstrated that a 6% lithium concentrate was produced at average tailings grade of 1.25% Li using a combination of heavy media separation, tables and spirals.
The properties also offer accessibility to nearby infrastructure such as electricity, roads, dams and aircraft runways, to which UNITED COMINIÈRE has guaranteed access through the joint-venture partnership with the State.
Tantalex plans on beginning work on the Buckell Lithium Project within the next few weeks, and the focus for the first half of 2017 will be on defining the resource.
Buckell Lithium Project NI 43-101 Technical Report:
Lithium is the lightest metal and the least dense solid element. Although lithium is widely distributed on Earth, it does not naturally occur in elemental form due to its high reactivity. Lithium and its compounds have several industrial applications, including heat-resistant glass and ceramics, lithium grease lubricants, flux additives for iron, steel and aluminium production, lithium batteries, and lithium-ion batteries. These uses consume more than three quarters of lithium production.
After the 2007 financial crisis, major suppliers dropped lithium carbonate pricing by 20%. Prices rose in 2012. A 2012 Business Week article outlined the oligopoly in the lithium space: "SQM, controlled by billionaire Julio Ponce, is the second-largest, followed by Rockwood, which is backed by Henry Kravis’s KKR & Co., and Philadelphia-based FMC". Global consumption may jump to 300,000 metric tons a year by 2020 from about 150,000 tons in 2012, to match the demand for lithium batteries that has been growing at about 25 percent a year, outpacing the 4 percent to 5 percent overall gain in lithium production (sources: Bloomberg Business Week, PR Newswire, May 1, 2013).