Advantage Lithium (TSX-V: AAL) Director Ross McElroy Discusses Best Drilling Results to Date at Clayton NE Project
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is Mr. Ross McElroy, Technical Adviser and Director of Advantage Lithium (TSX-V: AAL)(OTCL AVLIF). Ross, thank you for joining me.
Ross McElroy: Good afternoon, Gerardo. Good to be with you.
Gerardo Del Real: Well, thanks for making the time. I know that you've spent the last several days down at the BMO Conference and I understand that's been pretty productive for you. You had some great news this morning, and let me just read the headline and ask you to comment and share your insights if you would. The headline reads, Advantage Lithium Joint Venture with your partner, Nevada Sunrise Gold, surpasses best results to date at Clayton Northeast. Total composite 426.72 meters of 243.44 mg/l lithium in brines. Can you please comment on the release and then just share some of the insights there. It's a pretty good looking hole there.
Ross McElroy: Yes, I sure can. I'll give you a little bit of background about that. This is our fourth hole on the project. We drilled three previously in the fall and early winter of 2016 and this hole four is the first one of 2017. It really is the northern-most hole of the group and what it does it extends the strike lines of our mineralized brine trend to about 4.5 kilometers, so it's almost stretching from one end of the property to the other. Importantly, as you've highlighted there, the thickness of the lithium-bearing brines is really quite spectacular at almost 427 meters. Very high-grade lithium brines. Very high-grade for the Clayton Valley area where we understand that production at the Albemarle Silver Peak Mine is generally closer to 140 ppm lithium. This is 240 and it's a spectacular result. We're very, very pleased with it.
Gerardo Del Real: I imagine. Now, you mentioned the mineralized trend and I know at the end of the Phase One program, which was obviously successful as well, you had defined a 3.43 kilometer mineralized trend. I know you just mentioned it, but I think it's important to emphasize that you now have a trend length of almost4.5 kilometers. Can you speak to the importance of that a bit, Ross?
Ross McElroy: I sure can. What we've done with this addition of hole four, we've increased the trend an extra kilometer, so previously we're at 3.4 kilometers. Now, we're 4.5 kilometers. We're really trying to outline a lithium brine reservoir and that's in the Salar. Size is important, continuity is important, and thickness is important. What we've seen in hole four is really good continuity of the lithium brine. I mean at 427 meters is all sitting in almost one big continuous interval. There's a small breaks in between, but it's really quite a spectacular result. The kilometers of strike length that we have now in the trend starts giving us the feeling that we can start to look towards building a resource estimate in the near future and that's really what the immediate goal is and, ultimately, as this project sits right beside Albemarle's Silver Peak Mine and their pumping units. As we've highlighted before to people, they've got pumping stations that are less than a hundred meters from where our drilling is, so their reservoir basically backs on to what we're defining on our property and that makes us particularly excited.
Gerardo Del Real: Now, you mentioned the progress towards that initial resource estimate. What are the next steps in working towards that, Ross, and when do you anticipate that that might happen?
Ross McElroy: Well, we'll still probably have to add a couple more holes on it to define the lithium field first of all and then it's important to get better, more control on your flow measurements. You want to understand the characteristics of the flow of the brine. It's a reservoir, it's a liquid. So that involves a bit more engineering, geotechnical holes and studies to determine how it flows. Right now, this initial stage of drilling is really to outline the reservoir itself, get a feeling of the thickness, the grades, and initial sense of just how well the brine fluid flows because you'll ultimately be wanting to pump the material up on surface in order to put it into evaporation ponds to extract the lithium.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent, excellent. Well, Ross, I'm obviously looking forward to having you back on as we get new results from the program. As far as drilling goes, can you just highlight one more time just the next steps as far as the drilling program and when we can expect the next set of results?
Ross McElroy: This phase of drilling, Gerardo, we have two more holes to do, so we have already permitted for six holes. Phase One was three holes completed in 2016. This is the first of three holes in the Phase Two program for 2017, so we'll continue drilling between now and probably the next month, month and a half to complete the program. At that point, we step back and look at the results we do and how do we move it forward in order to build a resource estimate and start getting a sense of maybe, towards a preliminary economic assessment or pre-feasibility study that we could probably advance to in 2018.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent, excellent. Now, I know March is going to be a busy month, March and April, and frankly all of 2017 for Advantage Lithium. You also have an anticipated program that's going to be starting in Argentina at Cauchari. Could you provide us with a brief update there?
Ross McElroy: I sure can. We’re looking at starting our work with our joint venture partner, Orocobre, probably in late March by the time we get drilling. The first round of the holes are already permitted. We're building the team right now as we speak, starting to put things together. It looks great. The Cauchari Salar is right immediately south of Orocobre’s producing Olaroz projects, so that of course gives us a real step forward much faster than anybody else in the area has because we have the best partner in Argentina with Orocobre. We're right beside their production facility and we already know there's a resource on Cauchari, so it's really for us it's a matter of drilling more and expanding that.
We'd outlined the exploration target of almost 5.8 million pounds of lithium carbonate equivalent and so now we need to put those holes in in order to build our resource towards that exploration target. That's why the initial phase that we're starting in late March, early April are very important to the project. Again, similar to the Clayton story, you can expect a lot of news flow out of Advantage Lithium in the first half of 2017 and I would say all the way through this calendar year will be very, very busy.
Gerardo Del Real: Sounds like an exciting year. Ross, thank you very much again for taking the time and hopefully we talk to you soon.
Ross McElroy: Very good. Thank you, Gerardo. It's good talking to you.