Tonopah Flats Lithium Project
Over the past two 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 work has evolved into our Tonopah Flats Lithium Exploration Project which encompasses three primary focuses.
① Extraction Technology Optimization with Partner Companies
Use and application of our primary extraction technology with partner companies who have provided sedimentary claystone resource samples to refine, test, and validate its internally developed technologies for potential commercialization at other resource sites.
② Development of a Domestic Field Demonstration Site
Our primary resource development efforts are currently being scaled up to a multi-tonne per day field demonstration system through the support of a grant from the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office Critical Materials Innovation program.
Once built, the site will utilize our in-house developed primary extraction process including selective leaching, targeted purification, and electro-chemical production of battery grade lithium hydroxide precursor from this unique domestic claystone resource. This first-of-kind ABTC technology for selective extraction of lithium from claystone resources has proven to drastically reduce chemical reagent consumption and environmental impact.
③ Commercial-Scale Lithium Hydroxide Manufacturing Demonstration Grant
In October 2022, we received a federal grant in the amount of $57M as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to design, construct, commission, and operate a $115M commercial-scale facility to demonstrate ABTC’s novel process for the manufacturing of battery cathode grade lithium hydroxide from Nevada-based lithium-bearing sedimentary resources.
Building off the work completed under the previous grant award from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO), this grant will fund the construction of a 5,000 MT (metric tonnes) LiOH/year commercial processing plant to be operated at the resource site, with the capacity of the facility to subsequently be expanded to 30,000 MT LiOH/year.
④ ABTC Tonopah Flats Resource Exploration Drilling Program
We are currently exploring the development of our claystone, potentially lithium-bearing resources. The ABTC Tonopah Flats Lithium Exploration Project currently encompasses the exploration of 517 unpatented lode mining claims covering approximately 10,340 acres of land that is administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Big Smoky Valley near Tonopah, Nevada. As part of this exploration, ABTC is conducting geological mapping, sampling, geochemical analysis, and proprietary extraction trials to characterize these resources and to quantify the performance of the lithium extraction and manufacturing operations.
Unique Claystone Geology in Big Smoky Valley
The area where ABTC Tonopah Flats Lithium Exploration Project is located is known for its unique sedimentary claystone resources. Preliminary evaluation of historical sampling and characterization efforts have indicated that the composition and structure of the resources on these claims are representative of resources identified on nearby claims in the same region.
Our in-house developed extraction technologies are uniquely suited to extract battery metals, like lithium, from these sedimentary claystone deposits. The ABTC process will not require the harmful and inefficient evaporation ponds associated with conventional lithium-from-brine mining. Our extraction process utilizes a selective leaching process for the low-cost extraction of lithium from claystone sedimentary resources which allows for significantly lower consumption of acid, lower levels of contaminants in the generated leach liquor, and lower overall costs of production.
Beginning in the fall of 2021, we began to acquire unpatented lease claims in Big Smoky Valley, near Tonopah, Nevada.
|September 2021||305 Lode Mining Claims||6,000 Acres|
|December 2021||122 Lode Mining Claims||2,440 Acres|
|February 2022||90 Lode Mining Claims||1,800 Acres|
|Total||517 Lode Mining Claims||10,340 Acres|
In early December, we shared initial surface sample results of our originally secured 305 lode mining claims.
The ABTC field team analyzed 29 new surface sample locations, along with existing samples previously collected by other parties, and the resulting data demonstrated grades of anomalous reported lithium present from 260 ppm to 1,530 ppm in the project area. Samples with values of 300 ppm and up are typically considered very prospective in nature. The historic samples were analyzed by ALS Analytical Lab in Reno Nevada, and the samples collected by ABTC were assayed at the American Assay Laboratory also in Reno, Nevada.
Subsurface Exploratory Drilling Program
In December 2021, we commenced an exploratory subsurface drilling program to further develop this resource. The subsurface samples and their results will be used to define the extent of the deposit in footprint, depth, and the grades of the lithium. Thorough analysis of these samples may take several weeks to months to complete.
Subsurface Drilling Program Samples Submitted for Analysis
In January 2022, we submitted our first set of our exploratory drill program samples to two laboratories in Nevada for analysis.
Results of Exploration Drilling Phase 1 Program
The initial exploratory drilling program of 16 targeted drill holes, guided by surface sampling results collected in early 2022, found consistent lithium concentrations. Lithium concentrations above the reference cutoff concentration of 300 ppmw were observed in every drill hole, with significantly higher peak concentrations observed in many sample holes. Based on these results, we intend to accelerate the further exploration and characterization of these claims to advance this deposit to an inferred, indicated, and measured resource through the established S-K 1300 guidelines. Next steps will include developing a step-out drill program, Phase 2, to further characterize the deposit.
Purchase of Unpatented Lease Claims
Based on the initial exploratory drilling program sampling results for the unpatented lease claims in Big Smoky Valley, we exercised the option to purchase the Claims from the Seller in July 2022, and entered into the Escrow Services Agreement to effectuate the purchase of the Claims.
Phase 2 Step-Out Drill Program
The Phase 2 drill program, consisting of six additional sites and depths of up to 885 feet, was completed in the Fall of 2022.
Characterization results from the assays from several holes have been received from Paragon Geochemical laboratory in Reno, Nevada, and the data confirms that the anomalous lithium-bearing claystone witnessed in previous holes continues well below the previous 500’ known depth of mineralization: Hole TF-2218 contains claystone with lithium concentrations above 300 ppmw and a peak concentration of 1,920 ppmw, and Hole TF-2219 contains claystone with lithium concentrations above 300 ppmw with a peak concentration of 1,940 ppmw.
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 a Measured and Indicated status as defined by the United States Geological Services (USGS).