- Concerns over a potential supply deficit as China attempts to control the world supply
- QMC Quantum Minerals doubles Irgon Dike strike length
- QMC at advanced stage of developing hard rock source’s potential
QMC Quantum Minerals Corp.’s (OTC: QMCQF) (TSX.V: QMC) (FSE: 3LQ) efforts to “reawaken the promise” of Canada’s historically rich lithium fields in Manitoba are part of a broader strategy to build supplies of an in-demand metal from a close-to-home, North American source, and recent discoveries at the property are energizing the company’s prospects.
Forecasts for a potential supply deficit of the elements critical to the lithium-ion batteries that power a vast majority of the world’s computer technology needs have touched off a number of strategic responses by explorers and researchers.
Lithium-ion batteries have been manufactured and improved on as the go-to rechargeable source for power to computerized electronics, from wearable smart watches to military technologies, with cell phones being perhaps the most ubiquitous product of them all. In addition to this, the anticipated enormous increasing demand by rising production of electric vehicles worldwide is only lighting up the industry.
News that China had exhibited tremendous foresight by aggressively working to secure primacy in the global supply chain for the batteries’ two key raw components, lithium and cobalt, fueled a nationalistic trend following the 2008 worldwide financial crisis. China’s economic strategy regards electric vehicles as a key industry, and the country’s state-controlled companies have labored to dominate the supply chain — from politically troubled Congo-sourced cobalt mining through to Chinese plant refining of the metal — all while exploring potential alternative battery technologies. As a result, the country effectively owns approximately 85 percent of global cobalt supply, according to research by cobalt distributor Darton Commodities (http://ibn.fm/wSa32).
China has also actively worked to secure agreements with leading lithium miners in Chile and Australia, despite holding the world’s second-largest reserves of the metal, which it regards as being too expensive to extract at this point, according to CKGSB Knowledge (http://ibn.fm/0gYyb).
“It’s clearly the case that China will lead the world in E.V. development,” Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman William C. Ford Jr. stated during an event in Shanghai last year (http://ibn.fm/wwNnZ).
QMC’s efforts to derive lithium from Canadian sources gained a stronger toehold when the company announced that it had found additional “significant spodumene mineralization” in pegmatite dike outcroppings on the Irgon Mine Property in Manitoba, where it was already exploring the spodumene-bearing Irgon Dike. These recent discoveries have led the junior explorer to slate drilling these additional targets on the Irgon Mine Property located within the prolific Cat Lake-Winnipeg River rare-element pegmatite field.
Exploration at the Irgon Dike more than half a century ago established a resource estimate (which the company considers to be historic and not up to current NI 43-101 standards) of more than 1.2 million tons of lithium grading 1.51 percent over a strike length of 365 meters (1,197.5 feet) and to a depth of 213 meters (698.8 feet). The latest finds indicate the possibility of extending the strike length as far as 400 meters (1,312.3 feet) to the west, effectively doubling the length of the strike and the potential for the original resource estimate “to be rapidly increased through ongoing exploration” the company stated in an October 30 news release (http://ibn.fm/ptsn2).
QMC Quantum Minerals is bullish on the potential of hard rock mining of spodumene as a source for lithium verses Chile’s famed dried lake bed salt fields.
“When lithium prices headed upward, investors learned that Chile was pouring out tons of the metal at low costs. The Atacama salt flats became famous, and people assumed that reaping lithium from brines was easier than pulling it out of rock. But it turns out that the Atacama desert is a rare situation,” the company stated (http://ibn.fm/cpGw6). “The truth is that, although lithium brines occur in many places around the world, only highly concentrated brines actually produce lithium economically. In contrast, hard rock lithium mines have numerous advantages. They do require more exploratory work; however, once the surveys and sampling are completed, hard rock pegmatite deposits are faster to mine and production is more reliable.”
QMC has been working on the Irgon Mine Property for two years and states that a typical hard rock project takes three to five years for such work. Channel sampling on the dike has returned excellent results, and prior development of the site, including a road, an established mineshaft and underground development, have bestowed the advantage of existing infrastructure. The company is nearing readiness to file the updated NI 43-101 report and to begin to mine.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.QMCMinerals.com
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