CALGARY, ALBERTA–(Marketwired – Feb. 29, 2016) – BACANORA MINERALS LTD. ("Bacanora" or the "Company") (TSX VENTURE:BCN) (AIM:BCN), the London and Canadian listed lithium company that is developing the Sonora Lithium Project in northern Mexico, is pleased to provide its unaudited condensed consolidated interim results for the 6 month period ended 31 December 2015.
- Excellent progress made with National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101") standard Pre-Feasibility Study ("PFS") focused on designing a plant potentially capable of delivering up to 35,000 tonnes per annum of lithium carbonate at Sonora Lithium Project – on course to be completed in the near term
- 337% increase in the Indicated portion of the Mineral Resource Estimate ('MRE') at Sonora to 5.0 million tonnes ("Mt") lithium carbonate equivalent ("LCE")(1) contained in 364 Mt of clay, at a Li grade of 2,600 ppm compared to previous Indicated resource of 1.14 Mt LCE contained in 95 Mt of clay, at a Li grade of 2,200 ppm
- Major positive implications for mine planning and life of mine
- MRE prepared in accordance with NI 43-101
- Latest MRE upgrade follows a 19 hole infill drilling programme (approximately 4,000 metres) which was completed during the period and forms part of the ongoing PFS
- First long-term lithium hydroxide supply agreement signed – negotiations with a number of additional potential partners are ongoing
- Lithium market dynamic remains highly positive – demand is expected to continue to grow rapidly thanks to lithium's key role in highly innovative industries such as smartphones, electric vehicles and energy storage
- Completion of a private placement financing of approximately CAD$17.8 million (£8.8 million) via the placing of 11,476,944 new common shares at a price of CAD$1.56 (77.0 pence) per share to fund lithium engineering designs, pilot plant upgrade, definitive feasibility study ("DFS") (assuming successful completion of the PFS), project work and metallurgical testwork during 2016
- First major institutional shareholder secured through the financing
Peter Secker, CEO of Bacanora, said, "With Indicated lithium resources of 5.0 Mt LCE contained in 364 Mt of clay, at a Li grade of 2,600 ppm, Sonora is one of the world's larger lithium deposits. During the period under review we commenced a PFS to establish the commerciality of a plant at Sonora with the potential to deliver up to 35,000 tonnes per annum of lithium carbonate, in a two phase process. We are highly encouraged by the progress made to date and we expect to be in a position to announce the results of the PFS in Q1, 2016.
"Subject to the results of the PFS, we will look to immediately embark on a Definitive Feasibility Study. Thanks to the successful private placement during the period, which brought our first top tier institutional investor onto our shareholder register, not only is the DFS fully funded, but we are also able to expand and upgrade the Company's lithium pilot plant in Hermosillo, Mexico. This will allow us to produce battery grade lithium carbonate marketing samples for distribution to potential off-take partners in Europe and Asia later this year. 2016 is shaping up to be a pivotal year in the transformation of Bacanora into a supplier to the rapidly growing lithium market and I look forward to providing further updates on our progress."
Bacanora is focused on building the Sonora Lithium Project in Mexico into a lithium mine. With this in mind, the period under review has been characterized by PFS activities, which on completion, and subject to successful findings, will both significantly de-risk and strengthen Bacanora's position within an industry that is expected to grow substantially in the next five years. The PFS is due for completion shortly, at which point we intend to commence work on the DFS. Importantly, Bacanora is already fully funded to complete this next development milestone following the successful placing to raise £8.8 million in November 2015. The quality and scale of our project is beginning to be recognized by institutions, and we were pleased to welcome our first major institutional investor to our register during this placing.
Due to its light-weight nature, and effectiveness in energy storage, lithium is an essential element in the manufacture of smart phones and tablets, electric cars and smart grids. Given that these are emerging and growing technologies, the future looks positive for lithium. It is this exciting environment that makes the Sonora Lithium Project so relevant to the global lithium industry and the electronics sector.
With this potential growth in mind, the requirement to bring large and high grade lithium projects into production is compelling. The PFS has been examining the commerciality of developing an open-pit mine and lithium carbonate processing facility over two phases to fit with the demand requirements for lithium. With this in mind we plan to initially produce 17,500 tonnes per year of battery-grade lithium carbonate ("Li2CO3") and then ramp this up to 35,000 tonnes Li2CO3 per year over time. In tandem with the PFS, we continue to define the Sonora Lithium Project's resource and recently completed the upgrade of the Mineral Resource Estimate for the deposit, which is a key component of the PFS. This resource upgrade followed a 16-hole drilling campaign and assay result analysis and confirmed the Sonora Lithium Project as a major lithium deposit. Having set out to significantly increase the Indicated portion of the Project's Mineral Resource, we were delighted to see the Indicated MRE at Sonora increased by 337% to 5.0 Mt of LCE, 364 Mt of clay at a Li grade of 2,600 ppm, up from the previously reported 1.14 Mt, 95 Mt of clay at a Li grade of 2,200 ppm. The Inferred Mineral Resource estimate is 3.9 Mt of LCE compared to the previously reported 6.3 Mt of LCE.
As referred to above, in November 2015 the Company raised £8.8 million (US$13.7 million / CAD $17.8 million) via the placing of 11,476,944 new common shares (at a price of 77 pence per share (the "Placing"). Through the Placing, Bacanora secured its first major institutional shareholder as well as receiving support from pre-existing shareholders. Rare Earth Minerals Plc ("REM"), one of the Company's largest existing shareholders, reaffirmed its support to maintain its 17 percent interest in the Company.
Funds from the Placing are being used to expand and upgrade the Company's lithium pilot plant, located in Hermosillo, Mexico. The expanded plant will be used to produce battery grade lithium carbonate marketing samples for distribution to potential off-take partners in Europe and Asia in Q2 and Q3, 2016. Our well-connected management team has already completed a number of detailed site and plant visits with potential off-take partners to facilitate and expedite lithium sample optimization. Negotiations in respect to offtake agreements with these potential partners are ongoing and will continue in tandem with our DFS.
Ensuring that we have the strongest and most experienced management team in place has been intrinsic to our development process and the appointment of Mark Hohnen as a consultant to the Company was another key step in moving forward as a successful company. Mark played an important role in the completed fundraising and we believe that with his breadth of international experience in the mineral resources sector and knowledge of the Japanese, Chinese and Korean markets, he will be pivotal in the development of our shareholder register going forward.
Bacanora has a large, scalable resource located in a supportive political jurisdiction. Its development is being overseen by experienced lithium professionals and engineering organizations. Off-take discussions will be a high priority and we will progress these in tandem with the DFS. We are targeting production in 2018, although of course there are a range of milestones to complete ahead of this. However we are hopeful that, given the support for our project from key players in the industry, the government and our shareholders, we will meet this deadline in a timely manner. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our shareholders for their continued support and now look forward to reporting on the results of the PFS in the near-term, which will bring us into the next stage of development as we continue to build a global presence in the growing lithium supply market.
Bacanora is a Canadian and London listed minerals explorer (TSX VENTURE:BCN) (AIM:BCN). The Company explores and develops industrial mineral projects, with a primary focus on lithium and borates. The Company's operations are based in Hermosillo in northern Mexico and it currently has two significant projects under development in the state of Sonora. The two main assets of Bacanora are:
- The Sonora Lithium Project, which consists of ten mining concession areas covering approximately 100 thousand hectares in the northeast of Sonora State. The Company, through drilling and exploration work to date, has established an Indicated Mineral Resource (in accordance with NI 43-101 of 5.0 Mt LCE contained in 364 Mt of clay at a Li grade of 2,600 ppm and an Inferred Mineral Resource of 3.9 Mt LCE contained in 355 Mt of clay at a Li grade of 2,000 ppm.
- The Magdalena Borate Project, covering 16,503 hectares in Sonora state, Mexico, where the Company's main borate zone, El Cajon, has an Indicated Resource (in accordance with NI 43-101) of 1.17 Mt of B2O3, at an eight percent cut-off grade. The Company has completed a number of measures to determine the geological and commercial potential of the project and is undertaking a prefeasibility exercise to determine the economic benefit of developing the mine and constructing a processing plant on site in order to become a supplier of boric acid.
Except for statements of historical fact, this news release contains certain "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable securities law. Forward-looking information is frequently characterized by words such as "plan", "expect", "project", "intend", "believe", "anticipate", "estimate" and other similar words, or statements that certain events or conditions "may" or "will" occur. In particular, forward-looking information in this press release includes, but is not limited to the use of proceeds of the Placing, completion of a Pre-Feasibility Study and a Definitive Feasibility Study, potential future production volumes and ongoing discussions with potential off-take partners. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking information are reasonable, there can be no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. We cannot guarantee future results, performance or achievements. Consequently, there is no representation that the actual results achieved will be the same, in whole or in part, as those set out in the forward-looking information.
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