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LONDON (Alliance News) – Rare Earth Minerals PLC Tuesday said it has found new lithium-bearing clay deposits on its concessions and engineering design work has started on a lithium carbonate plant after it announced that it can produce 99.5% pure battery-grade lithium carbonate from the Sonora Project in Mexico.

investment company said mapping and prospecting from its recently completed stage 3 drill programme at the El Sauz – Fleur joint venture have shown new clay exposures on the Fleur concession which have the potential to increase its lithium resource on the sites.

The company said further testing will now be carried out on the new zones and trenching of exposed surface mineralisation on El Sauz will be undertaken once the current drilling has finished.

Rare Earth Minerals said drilling has also started on its Penasco lithium clay deposit at its Megalit joint venture, with mapping and prospecting also showing new clay regions on the site.

The company said the seven-hole drill programme on the site is expected to be completed in late May with results to follow in late June and noted that trenching of surface showings on its Buenavista concession at the site will be started shortly as part of the ongoing exploration programme.

Rare Earth Minerals said engineering design work has been commissioned to scope and design a lithium carbonate plant with the capacity for 35,000 to 50,000 tonnes per year of lithium carbonate at its Sonora sites.

According to the company, world production of lithium carbonate is currently running at over 150,000 tonnes a year, with demand expected to double by 2020.

Rare Earth Minerals said in April that Inspectorate Exploration and Mining Services Ltd had announced that 99.5% battery grade lithium could be produced from the Sonora Lithium Project, leading to the development of the new plant.

The Sonora lithium project has already reported inferred resources of over 2.4 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent.

The news comes as brokerage WH Ireland said on Tuesday that Rare Earth Minerals projects combine to give the company the potential to become a global player in the lithium market and maintained its Speculative Buy rating on the stock given the “continued progress being made in the exploration and potential development of these properties”.

Rare Earth Minerals shares were up 3.4% to 0.502 pence Tuesday.

By Tom McIvor; [email protected]; @TomMcIvor1

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