Avalon Advanced Materials Inc.(TSX:AVL) (OTCQX:AVLNF) (“Avalon” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce that it has commenced a 10 hole, 2,000 metre diamond drilling program on its 100% owned Separation Rapids Lithium Project (the “Project”) near Kenora, Ontario. The program is expected to be completed over the next 6-8 weeks, following which an updated resource estimate will be prepared. The drilling program has a number of specific objectives including:
- Expanding the existing mineral resource of lithium (petalite) pegmatite mineralization which is open along strike and to depth;
- Quantifying the lithium mineralization in the resource model associated with lepidolite and other lithium micas versus lithium mineralization associated with petalite;
- Testing an undrilled target area 1 kilometre west of the known resource where a showing of petalite pegmatite sampled by the Company in 1997 yielded 1.56% Li2O across 8.9 metres; and
- Collecting geotechnical data for groundwater studies and mine planning in advance of permitting for site development.
Previous exploration work by Avalon in the 1990’s focused only on recovering the lithium mineral petalite as an industrial mineral product for glass-ceramics applications and consequently did not fully account for the lepidolite mineralization in the development model. However, as disclosed in the Company’s news release dated February 6, 2017, recent testwork conducted by Lepidico Ltd. of Perth, Australia (“Lepidico”) using its patented L-Max® hydrometallurgical process technology has successfully produced a battery grade lithium carbonate product from lepidolite sourced from the Separation Rapids property.
There are sub-zones in the Separation Rapids deposit where the lithium is dominantly contained in lepidolite, which can be concentrated separately from the petalite. This offers the potential for production of both a lithium carbonate product from a lepidolite concentrate as well as a lithium hydroxide product from a petalite concentrate, the latter as contemplated in the Company’s Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA”), finalized in November, 2016. The current drilling program will aid in differentiating petalite-dominant versus lepidolite-dominant resources in the block model and contribute to a revised development model for the Project. An updated PEA reflecting the new resource, as well as recent progress on process development work, is planned for this summer.
The technical information included in this news release has been reviewed and approved by the Company’s Vice President, Exploration, Dr. William Mercer, a Qualified Person under NI 43-101.