The meteoric rise of the lithium market has been driven largely by the promise of what the future of energy will look like. Emerging trends like electric vehicles have made lithium one of the hottest markets out there. Now, that promise is starting to take shape as reality with recent headlines from across the world validating the potential of energy transformation. A few examples include China’s new automotive mandate to ban gas and diesel powered cars, combined with existing plans by Tesla (TSLA), Volvo (VOLVF) as well as German automakers BMW (BMWYY), Mercedes (DDAIF) and Volkswagen (VLKAF) to shift toward electric cars have sent demand expectations for lithium hyperbolic.
Yet, one company that has proven that it can keep up with lithium’s breakneck pace is Liberty One Lithium Corp. (LBY:CA)(LRTTF). Since putting their shovels in the dirt at their Pocitos West property – located in the famed “Lithium Triangle”, nestled at an intersection between Argentina, Chile and Bolivia that boasts around half of the world’s lithium production – they have been knocking down milestones. Last week, Liberty One announced that they have received all necessary permits and will commence drilling by the end of the month.
“We will start off with a sample hole in the southern segment of the property, drilling rotary only and packer sampling to identify brine and lithium,” CEO Brad Nichol explained in the company press. “We will drill initially to 300 meters, stop to sample, and while awaiting expedited results, we will continue down to find basement or whatever might define a “bottom” to the brine section. We are looking for lithium content above 100 mg/L and if porosities range above 20%, as can be anticipated in a sandy aquifer, the size of the “storage space” within the horizon will be greatly expanded.”
Starting to drill is an exciting prospect for Nichol and the Liberty One team. A geophysical survey conducted at Pocitos West in August blew away expectations finding a brine deposit that could extend the length of the 39,000+ acre property and was even deeper than predicted.
Image via Liberty One Lithium
“Typically, when you do these surveys, you find high spots and low spots and that was our initial expectation,” Nichols told Equities in an interview after the survey results were released. “What really surprised us is that we found one huge zone that covered the entirety of the 27km long property from north to south. Essentially, it means that we could have an absolutely massive resource at some point in the future if we can prove this out. Ultimately, what the geophysical survey is measuring is highly conductive material, which means it’s brine. So, it suggests that we have brine across the entire property. It’s a 160-square-kilometers of potential brine. It’s huge.”
Liberty One is able to drill 11 holes in this first round and the company intends to use the additional holes to further analyze the mineral and chemical character of Pocitos West. According to Nichols, the company is also looking into installing a production-size well on site and drilling an adjacent rotary/core hole to examine the aquifer as well as understanding the project’s lithology or rock composition.
Receiving this permit is an important achievement for the company and will certainly make their name ring out in the sector. Already, Liberty One and its team are mobilizing operations with a keen eye on cost-efficiency. It is important to note, no one is more invested than the company’s results and bottom line than Liberty One’s leadership team. Insider activity over the summer showed that executives and directors of the company added to their stakes, with Nichol purchasing 800,000 common shares and Director Patrick Whibley purchasing 250,000 in options, 100,000 in warrants and another 100,000 in common stock. Bottom line, this is a management team that believes in the mission and wants to protect shareholders interests.
“Near to my heart is the successful deployment of our rarest commodity, our investors’ cash. I have based a large part of my career on spending capital like it is scarce and difficult to obtain — which it is, especially for a junior exploration company,” Nichol stated last month.
The company’s capital management is a direct reflection of an experienced and focused team. Nichol has put his trust in a geological group he knows will work tirelessly to expedite logistics and get Pocitos West ready to start meeting the raging lithium demand.
“The team in Argentina has once again demonstrated their proficiency and expertise,” Nichol added in the recent company press. “Not only did they receive the necessary permits without any issues, they also successfully completed the analysis of the previously announced Vertical Electrical Soundings (“VES”) survey enabling us to choose some excellent drilling targets. I cannot understate the importance of having an experienced team in the field.” Nichol continues, “Almost all of the drilling equipment is prepared and ready to mobilize and, if all goes well, we expect to have the initial drilling concluded in time for Christmas.”
With a strong team in place here and on-ground in Argentina coupled with a location in the heart of the world’s richest lithium supply that happens to be surrounded by strong infrastructure and transportation, Liberty One is starting to separate itself from the pack. Not to mention, the company is well funded with a $3 million war chest of cash on hand and fundraising that netted $6 million.
Nichols and Liberty One are on an exciting trajectory steadily checking off key aspects of its business plan. The company is truly at a watershed moment and we are sure more exciting news will be coming soon as the company digs into the heart of the Pocitos West property.
“Look at every other junior lithium-focused company and other companies in this space,” Nichol said in the same interview with Equities. “Look at them all. I would challenge anybody to not come to the same conclusion that I did, which led me to ultimately invest in and join Liberty One. I keep going back to those three things that have driven me as I have run junior companies in the past—location, people and team, and how capital is managed and raised. Those are the three key things, and I don’t think there is another company out there that does it as well as Liberty One does.”
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