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Auroch picks up Nevada lithium project

Auroch Minerals has announced an 80 per cent acquisition in a Nevada lithium project after taking a stake in the project’s operator, putting its footprint on four under-explored prospect areas in the Nye and Esmeralda counties, 45 kilometres away from Albemarle’s Silver Peak mine the only active lithium mine in the USA.

The Nevada lithium project, or ‘NLP’ is made up of four prospect areas – Traction prospect, San Antone prospect, Heller prospect and Lone Mountain prospect – a 65 square kilometre spread that Auroch considers highly prospective for large sedimentary-hosted lithium deposits.

Auroch says Nevada hosts some very large lithium deposits in a sedimentary-hosted style including ASX-listed Ioneer Resources’ Rhyolite Ridge project and locally-operated TLC Lithium Project in addition to global leader Albemarle’s trailblazing Silver Peak mine.

Notably, the project also lies a strategic 340km from Tesla in Reno, a large buyer of battery metals for its electric vehicle manufacturing process with access to major US ports on the West Coast.

Despite covering the same lacustrine sedimentary formation that hosts other large lithium deposits in the region, such as the TLC deposit, Auroch says its Nevada site has seen very limited lithium focused exploration to date.

The deal involves taking an 80 per cent stake in its owner, Nevada Australia, that keeps the remaining 20 per cent.

The acquisition is subject to normal due diligence and conditions precedent however comprises a mix of cash and shares where Nevada Australia will get two tranches of 7,200,000 shares and performance rights and a combined $550,000 in cash for back costs and loans for working capital until settlement.

We are very excited by the potential of the NLP to host significant lithium mineralisation in a stable pro-mining jurisdiction in Nevada, USA. The acquisition adds to and supplements the Company’s increasing focus on battery metals and represents a tremendous opportunity to enhance value for Auroch shareholders.

The company is also encouraged by US domestic policy, pointing to the recent pro-industry Presidential Determination by the Biden administration ensuring a ‘robust, resilient, sustainable, and environmentally responsible domestic industrial base to meet the requirements of the clean energy economy.’

Auroch’s US lithium move is also timely from a commodity pricing perspective, whilst the metal has eased slightly in the past month, it is still trading at all-time highs.

The NLP deal has led Auroch management to review its South Australian-based non-battery metals portfolio of the Arden Zinc-Copper rare earths project, Bonaventura Zinc-Copper project and the Torrens East copper project.

Whilst the latter two are greenfields projects, the Arden Zinc-Copper project has defined mineralisation at the Ragless Range Zinc Target where diamond drilling intersected 12.80m grading 5 per cent zinc from 53m, including 3.65m going 15.5 per cent zinc from 62.15m.

Auroch said various opportunities to unlock value are being considered for its assets, that may be realised through a range of transactions structures, including a potential demerger and separate ASX listing.

Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@wanews.com.au

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