Primary Resource Development – The ABTC Approach
Primary battery metals play an integral role in accelerating the transition to a lower-carbon energy future. Ensuring that these raw battery metals are responsibly extracted and produced is paramount. Sustainable, conscientious resource development considers and balances environmental, social, and governance factors.
ABTC is working to utilize innovative, sustainable technologies applied to recycling and manufacturing domestic battery metals with lower environmental and social impacts while supporting U.S. efforts to reduce dependence on foreign sources of critical battery materials.
Over the past two and a half years, ABTC has been designing and optimizing its internally developed processing train for the manufacturing of battery cathode grade lithium hydroxide from Nevada-based sedimentary claystone resources. This first-of-kind ABTC technology for selective extraction of lithium has proven to drastically reduce chemical reagent consumption, environmental impacts, and manufacturing costs.
In December of 2021, we began exploratory drill programs on acquired claims in Tonopah to couple a potential U.S. located lithium-bearing deposit with our innovative selective leaching system for lithium hydroxide. Our exploratory drill programs have resulted in positive lithium-bearing results and have substantiated continued development of this resource, now referred to as our Tonopah Flats Lithium Project.
In late 2022, ABTC engaged RESPEC, a global engineering company, to act as a Qualified Person (QP) to perform an independent analysis of these results and issue a SK-1300 compliant Inferred Resource report. This independent report will quantify the magnitude of this lithium-bearing resource, and this QP Inferred Resource report will contain specific recommendations on further progressing this resource forward to an Indicated and Measured status as defined by the United States Geological Services.
This Inferred Resource Report, issued in February 2023, is a key step in developing Tonopah Flats from a resource to a potentially viable commercial reserve. Based on the recommendations included in the report, ABTC commenced its third drill program in August 2023 to conduct the Core Drilling of 8 additional holes in the southern portion of our 10,340+ acre claims. We anticipate the results of this program should lead to an upgrade of Measured and Indicated status for this resource as soon as November of 2023.
Mineral Resource Classifications
The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) mission is to protect investors; maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets; and facilitate capital formation. Over the past 50 years, the SEC has worked to implement reporting standards to provide investors with a more comprehensive understanding to make more informed investment decisions in the U.S.
In late 2018, the SEC adopted amendments to modernize the property disclosure requirements for mining registrants, and provided related guidance. Intended to help make informed investment decisions and provide investors with a more comprehensive understanding of a registrant’s mining properties. According to SEC, the amendments also closely align with the Commission’s disclosure requirements and policies for mining properties with current industry and global regulatory practices and standards, as embodied by the Committee for Mineral Reserves International Reporting Standards (CRIRSCO).
The Committee decided that mineralized material must be classified into two major categories: Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves. Every category has sub-categories, respectively Inferred, Indicated, and Measured Mineral Resources, and Proven and Probable Mineral Reserves, based on economics and geological confidence.
Mineral resource = using reasonable assumptions, is a deposit that has enough valuable materials it could be mined at a profit. Resources can be inferred, indicated, or measured.
Mineral reserve = the economically mineable part of a measured or indicated mineral resource, demonstrated by, at minimum, a pre-feasibility study. The study must include adequate information on the modifying factors. Reserves can be probable or proven.
Resources are not mined until modifying factors (mining, metallurgical, economic, marketing, legal, environmental, social, and government factors) strengthen the project’s potential to move into the “reserves” category. Reserves can be mined once permits are received, and financing is secured.
During the exploration phase, resources can be:
Inferred: Estimated with limited sampling. Reasonable, yet not verified, assurance of continuity of mineralization and grade. Cannot be the basis of pre-feasibility or feasibility study, and therefore cannot be converted to reserves.
Indicated: Portion of a resource that was estimated based on reliable, detailed sampling from drill holes too widely spaced to confirm, yet close enough for reasonable assurance of continuity and grade.
Measured: Part of an estimate with high level of confidence, based on reliable and detailed sampling from drill holes spaced close enough to confirm continuity and grade.
The classification of metals used in mining requires many steps including scoping, preliminary economic assessments, preliminary feasibility studies, feasibility studies, and detailed design. While each of these classification steps share characteristics, they differ in the level of detail, accuracy and confidence. While some studies can take place in-house, some are commissioned to third party engineering firms.
When it comes to resources versus reserves, both are basic estimates, based on detailed third-party review and analysis of available data, on the tonnage and grade of the economically interesting mineralization existing in a deposit.
All measured and indicated resources, not inferred, can be used as a base and can be converted into reserves. When a significant change in modifying factors occurs – including but not limited to mining, metallurgical, economic, marketing, legal, environmental, social, and government factors that may strengthen or weaken the project’s potential.
Figure 1: Graphic Designed Based The SME Guide for Reporting Exploration Results, Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserves