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American Battery Technology Company Announces Initial Results of its Lithium-Bearing Tonopah Flats Third Exploration Drill Program

American Battery Technology Company (ABTC), an integrated critical battery materials company that is commercializing its technologies for both primary battery minerals manufacturing and secondary minerals battery recycling, is pleased to announce positive drill results from its third exploration drill program at its Tonopah Flats Lithium Project in Big Smoky Valley, Nevada. The infill and step-out drill program consisted of 8 holes totaling approximately 6,700 feet of sampling and achieved the target core drilling depth of over 1,400 feet, one of the deepest lithium sampling activities in the region. To date, the company has received third-party assay results for 6 of the 8 holes, with results further supporting the development of this domestic resource towards upgraded Measured and Indicated classifications.

“It is extremely rare to identify a resource where nearly every sample taken at depth is above its minimum cutoff concentration, and we are extremely pleased that the assay results of our initial 6 holes of our 8-hole third drill program continue to demonstrate that this is one of the premier lithium resources in the United States,” stated ABTC CEO Ryan Melsert. “From the data we published in the Spring in our SK-1300 compliant Maiden Resource Report, it was already identified that this is one of the largest known lithium resources in the United States, and with the additional step-out drilling in this program, we have even further expanded this data set, both with respect to surface and to depth.  Additionally, the infill drilling within our already identified resource area that was recommended within our last resource report supports advancement of this resource towards upgraded Measured and Indicated classifications.”

This drill program has confirmed the presence of mineralization between step-out holes with infill drilling.

Highlights from this third drill program include:

  • High Lithium Concentrations Above Cutoff: The vast majority of samples analyzed, up to 99% per hole, demonstrated lithium concentrations above the reference cutoff concentration of 300 ppmw. These intervals of high concentrations were observed in all 6 holes and throughout a large percentage of the total sampled depths, and with significantly higher peak concentrations observed in many sample holes (see Table 1), which makes this deposit especially attractive to the internally-developed ABTC processing train.
  • Shallow Overburden: Anomalous lithium concentrations were measured at very shallow depths, less than 20 feet below the surface in many cases, indicating that low-cost and low-strip ratio techniques can likely be applied to access these near-surface lithium-bearing sedimentary materials.
  • Depth of Mineralization: The drilling infrastructure employed in these explorations was able to drill to depths of up to 1,430 feet, and in several of these drill holes the significant mineralization of lithium is still present at these depths, indicating that the anomalous lithium presence could extend even beyond the sampled depths.
  • Breadth of Exploration: With these additional 6 drill holes, a wide breadth of ABTC claims have been explored, including over 18,000 feet of exploration at depths of up to 1,430 feet.
  • Magnitude of Deposit: With the anomalous lithium concentrations observed throughout the detailed exploratory drill holes, and throughout the listed sampling depths, the ABTC team is excited to receive the assay results of the remaining 2 holes, and to accelerate the exploration and characterization of these claims to take the further steps necessary to advance this deposit to a Measured and Indicated resource through an updated S-K 1300 compliant Resource Report process.

“We are extremely proud of our team in Tonopah, as we now have identified the Upper, Middle, and Lower Siebert formation geologically in the basin,” stated Scott Jolcover, chief mineral resources officer for American Battery Technology Company.  “Our previous deepest hole was 825 feet, and we have now sampled at over 1,400 feet deep, with assay results received for 6 holes in this 8-hole program. All drilled holes have appeared to bottom in claystone with very shallow alluvium gravels at the top of the holes and we look forward to receiving the remaining assay results.”

Table 1:  Summary of Drill 3 Exploration Results, Holes #TF-2323 - #TF- 2330. Source: American Battery Technology Company

Sample Hole

Total Depth Drilled

(feet)

Percent of Samples above Cutoff Concentration,

300 ppmw

Peak Lithium Concentration,

ppmw

TF-2323

818

99%

1,560

TF-2324

707

93%

1,650

TF-2325

1,430

81%

1,730

TF-2326

742

94%

1,190

TF-2327

751

96%

1,280

TF-2328

750

90%

1,700

TF-2329

750

Under Analysis

Under Analysis

TF-2330

761

Under Analysis

Under Analysis

 

The ABTC Tonopah Flats Lithium Project encompasses 517 unpatented lode claims covering over 10,340 acres, and ABTC controls 100% of the mining lode claims comprising the Tonopah Flats claims and the rights to all locatable minerals without any royalties. ABTC began surface sampling of these claims in the Summer of 2021, and subsequently performed multiple subsurface drilling programs at depths of up to 1,430 feet totaling over 18,000 feet of exploration.

The results of these initial successful exploration programs led to the development and publication of the company’s third-party Qualified Person (QP) audited SK-1300 compliant Maiden Resource Report in February 2023, which concluded that this deposit is one of the largest known lithium resources in the United States, containing approximately 15.8 million tons of economically-accessible lithium on a carbonate equivalent basis (LCE).  As the remaining assay results are received, the company intends to prepare and publish an updated Resource Report with updated quantities of the resource that are at the inferred, measured, and indicated classifications.

In 2021, ABTC, in collaboration with DuPont and the University of Nevada, Reno, was awarded a $4.5-million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to build and operate a multi-ton-per-day demonstration-scale system to accelerate the commercialization and scale-up of this critical battery-grade lithium manufacturing technology.  In June of this year, ABTC announced the company was successful in manufacturing lithium hydroxide product from its claystone feedstock from its Tonopah Flats Lithium Project, and that this product had been analytically characterized and shown to meet all third-party battery cathode grade specifications. Additionally, based on this empirical data generated from the processing of this lithium hydroxide project, ABTC was successfully able to produce a techno-economic analysis (TEA) that demonstrates that at commercial scale its internally-developed technologies produce a lithium hydroxide material with production costs that are lower than when manufactured from conventional resources and with conventional technologies.

Building off of the success of this demonstration system and scale up of its primary refining system, ABTC will further evolve this project with plans to construct a commercial-scale lithium hydroxide refinery utilizing this system design. In October 2022, ABTC with its partners, DuPont Water Solutions, University of Nevada, Reno, and Argonne National Laboratory, was selected for an additional grant by the U.S. DOE for a $115M commercial-scale refinery project. ABTC has engaged one of the premier global construction firms, Black & Veatch, for the engineering, procurement, and construction firms of its commercial scale lithium hydroxide refinery based on these fundamental metallurgical and mineral processing techniques. In September 2023, the company finalized this contract with U.S. DOE.

QA/QC Statement

Drilling was conducted by KB Drilling of Mound House, Nevada, using large diameter HQ coring, drilling entirely vertical holes. Drill core samples are nominally 5-foot (1.53 m) sample intervals and are cut longitudinally. One half is sent directly to Paragon Geochemical lab in Sparks, Nevada. The core samples were placed in sealed bags and shipped to Paragon Geochemical Laboratory in Sparks, Nevada for sample preparation, processing, and ICP-MS multi-element analysis using a 4-acid digestion procedure. The remaining core is stored in ABTC's "Core Storage Facility" located in Tonopah, Nevada. Paragon is an ISO 9000-certified assay laboratory. The QA/QC program includes a comprehensive analytical quality assurance and control routine comprising the systematic use of Certified Reference Material, and the company inserted standards, blanks, and field duplicate samples. Check assays will include analysis by other accredited third-party analytical labs. Downhole thicknesses for vertical drill holes are considered accurate true thickness intersections.

Inferred Resource

An Inferred mineral resource is that part of a mineral resource for which quantity and grade or quality are estimated on the basis of limited geological evidence and sampling. The level of geological uncertainty associated with an inferred mineral resource is too high to apply relevant technical and economic factors likely to influence the prospects of economic extraction in a manner useful for evaluation of economic viability. Because an inferred mineral resource has the lowest level of geological confidence of all mineral resources, which prevents the application of the modifying factors in a manner useful for evaluation of economic viability, an inferred mineral resource may not be considered when assessing the economic viability of a mining project and may not be converted to a mineral reserve.

Indicated Resource

An Indicated Mineral Resource is that part of a mineral resource for which quantity, grade or quality, densities, shape and physical characteristics are estimated with sufficient confidence to allow the application of Modifying Factors in sufficient detail to support mine planning and evaluation of the economic viability of the deposit. Geological evidence is derived from adequately detailed and reliable exploration, sampling and testing and is sufficient to assume geological and grade or quality continuity between points of observation. An Indicated Mineral Resource has a lower level of confidence than that applying to a Measured Mineral Resource and may only be converted to a Probable Mineral Reserve.

Measured Resource

A Measured Mineral Resource is that part of a Mineral Resource for which quantity, grade or quality, densities, shape, and physical characteristics are estimated with confidence sufficient to allow the application of Modifying Factors to support detailed mine planning and final evaluation of the economic viability of the deposit. Geological evidence is derived from detailed and reliable exploration, sampling and testing and is sufficient to confirm geological and grade or quality continuity between points of observation. A Measured Mineral Resource has a higher level of confidence than that applying to either an Indicated Mineral Resource or an Inferred Mineral Resource. It may be converted to a Proven Mineral Reserve or to a Probable Mineral Reserve.

Source: https://americanbatterytechnology.com/

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