Lithium is very much in the news. The immense possibilities of the electric vehicle revolution with its endless appetite for Lithium Ion batteries have crews drilling lithium-bearing brines and looking at hard rock lithium deposits very seriously.
For a company like Jourdan Resources (V.JOR), with a twenty-year history and 20,000 shareholders, lithium is certainly attractive. However, CEO Michael Dehn, is taking a very business-like, “show me the money”, approach to lithium’s potential.
“We had property on the east side of North American Lithium’s producing Quebec Lithium Mine,” said Dehn. “We’ve built up our property position and now hold land which pretty much surrounds NAL.”
In 2011 Jourdan completed a 21 hole drilling program on its property and in the summer of 2017 the company relogged and sampled previously untested drill core. The results were reported in an October 13, 2017, press release in which Dehn is quoted as saying, “I am very pleased with the grades encountered east of the Quebec Lithium Mine on Jourdan’s 100% controlled Vallee Lithium property. All results are within 2000m of the open pit plan of the Quebec Lithium Mine, and projecting the zones from the Mine on surface towards the Vallee Lithium property suggest that additional targets exist south of the significant mineralization identified to date on the property”.
“Compiling the old data was important, but we also had new targets and made new discoveries,” said Dehn. “Some of the historic targets were drilled nearly seventy years ago.”
Exploration is important but, in a dollars and cents approach to the property, so is mining and selling the resource.
“Basically we can dig pits,” said Dehn. “What we are looking for is within 100 meters of surface. You drill, blast and truck the material away.”
“Right now industrial lithium is undersupplied. Things like lab glass and headlights use lithium,” said Dehn. “We’re in discussions about our current spodumene rock as we as sub spec spodumene from a current producer that we feel we can upgrade with a technical partner. This is sub spec spodumene, is a “dirty” material which we feel can be upgraded to technical grade at an existing facility on a small scale. If we can source 200 tonnes of sub spec spodumene we should end up with 100 tons of finished technical grade material.”
For Jourdan to go into limited production would be relatively straightforward. “We’d look at small-scale production from multiple deposits No more than 600,000 tons per year although our end goal is 1.2 million tonnes of ore,” said Dehn. “And we’re in talks with a fully permitted mill where we would look to do joint production.”
“We would look to use dense media separation at the quarry site. It would be about a million dollars for the separator. That should be able to double grades from any pits and then we would mill 600 tonnes per day to 6% Li2O as a spodumene concentrate. That would sell for $900 US per tonne,” said Dehn. “That could generate be $180,000 US per day that should provide a very reasonable positive cash flow.”
“Our end product would not be used for batteries. But it might be further upgraded by another company,” said Dehn. “However, our end product can be used for the technical lithium applications and technical lithium runs around $2000 US a ton.”
“So we are strong on the geology and on the tech, now we need funding,” said Dehn. “We’re looking overseas for funding. Institutions from Europe and Asia, and from the US. We want to raise 2 million immediately and then raise 5 million to open a mill and construct a quarry. We expect to have that in place in Q2 2018.”
“We don’t expect to do a pre-feasibility for six months,” said Dehn. “We still have drilling to do. And we are keeping our milling cost quiet. We may buy a mill from another public company.”
While other lithium explorers are still very much at the drilling stage, Dehn is looking closely at what his company can do with a resource they know is on their property. Dehn is perfectly aware of the potential demand hordes of electric cars will create for lithium, but he is also aware that this is not the only market for the resource he believes the company has at Vallee Lithium.
“We’re friends with North American Lithium. In fact, their plant is actually a little bit on our land. I get along well with the CEO,” said Dehn. “He’s more a finance guy than a geo or tech guy, but we get along.”
Which is important. Not only because it is nice to get along with your neighbours but, because, Jourdan is proving up a significant lithium resource a thousand meters away from an operating lithium producer. Is there a deal to be done? Dehn won’t speculate, but NAL’s proximity has to be considered when Jourdan is being evaluated.
One way or another, Dehn is creating value for his shareholders and positioning Jourdan to take full advantage of the coming boom in lithium.