Lithium Americas Provides Updated Resource Estimate for the Lithium Nevada Project

Lithium Americas Provides Updated Resource Estimate for the Lithium Nevada Project

Highlights:

  • Increases Measured and Indicated resource by approximately 80% from the 2016 resource estimate establishing Lithium Nevada as the largest and highest-grade known claystone lithium resource in the United States.
  • Updates the Measured and Indicated resource to 6.0 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) at 2,917 ppm Li and the Inferred resource to 2.3 million tonnes of LCE at 2,932 ppm Li.
  • Identifies extension of high grade (average 3,998 ppm Li) and near-surface lithium mineralization adjacent and northwest of the proposed 2012 pit boundary.
  • Successfully completed process test work to confirm the production of high-value lithium products using acid leaching on lithium-bearing claystone.
  • On track to release results of NI 43-101 Preliminary Feasibility Study (PFS) by the end of Q2 2018.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, April 05, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Lithium Americas Corp. (TSX:LAC) (NYSE:LAC) ("Lithium Americas" or the "Company") is pleased to provide an updated mineral resource estimate (the “Resource Estimate”) on the Thacker Pass deposit (previously Zone 1) (“Thacker Pass”) of the Lithium Nevada Project (the “Lithium Nevada Project” or the “Project”) located in the McDermitt Caldera, Nevada, USA. The Resource Estimate was prepared pursuant to National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects (“NI 43-101”). At a cut-off of 2,000 parts per million lithium (“ppm Li”), the updated Resource Estimate consists of a Measured and Indicated Resource of 385 million tonnes grading 2,917 ppm Li for 6.0 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (“LCE”) and an Inferred Resource of 147 million tonnes grading 2,932 ppm Li for 2.3 million tonnes of LCE (Table 1).

The updated Resource Estimate will be incorporated into a Preliminary Feasibility Study (the “PFS”) on the Lithium Nevada Project with results on track to be released by the end of Q2 2018. For more information on the Lithium Nevada Project and team, please refer to the press release dated October 23, 2017.    

“Exploration work in 2017 has successfully expanded the lithium resource at the Lithium Nevada Project. More specifically, the results reveal additional high-grade and near surface lithium mineralization northwest of the original pit area that was proposed in 2012,” commented Alexi Zawadzki, Lithium Americas’ President of North American Operations. “We are pleased that the 2017 Exploration Program has achieved the goal of demonstrating scalability of the Project in an area we believe minimizes permitting and schedule risks.”

Table 1: Mineral Resource Statement for Lithium Nevada - Thacker Pass Deposit(1)(2)(3)

  June 2016April 2018
Category Tonnage Avg. Li
(ppm)
 LCETonnage Avg. Li
(ppm)
 LCE
 (000 t)  (000 t)(000 t)  (000 t)
Measured 50,753 3,120 843242,150 2,948 3,800
Indicated 164,046 2,850 2,489143,110 2,864 2,182
Measured and Indicated 214,799 2,914 3,332385,260 2,917 5,982
Inferred 124,890 2,940 1,954147,440 2,932 2,301

Notes:

1. Mineral resources are not mineral reserves and do not have demonstrated economic viability. There is no certainty that all or any part of the mineral resource will be converted into mineral reserves.
2. Resources presented at a 2,000 ppm Li cut-off grade.
3. The conversion factor for lithium metal (100%) to LCE is 5.323.

A new geologic and grade block model was created using the historical and 2017 drilling information.  Calculation of the updated Resource Estimate was performed using a cut-off of 2,000 ppm Li, the same cut-off used in the June 2016 Independent Technical Report for the Lithium Nevada Property, Nevada, USA.

2017 Exploration Program

The intent of the 2017 Exploration Program was to identify a resource of scale in the Thacker Pass area (formerly Zone 1) of the Lithium Nevada Project, where habitat quality is substantially lower than in the Montana Mountains to the north (Figure 1a).  In Thacker Pass, 77 exploration holes totaling 6,653 meters were drilled, a seismic survey was conducted and the surface geology of the project was remapped.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://resource.globenewswire.com/Resource/Download/dcdb3373-6484-43ce-b0a0-24165e6061ef  

The drilling data is presented in Table 2 and the locations of the exploration holes are presented in Figures 3a and 3b. 13 holes were drilled in the newly defined northwest expansion area (Figure 1b and Figure 4). This area is located northwest of the mine pit that was proposed in a 2012 mine plan. The assay data from all these holes averages 3,998 ppm Li, higher than the assay data from the infill drilling. The ore zone averages 46 m thick in this area (Figure 2).

The 2017 Exploration Program also resulted in the discovery of an area identified as the Southwest Basin (Figure 1b) with high concentrations of Li and minimal overburden. Seven of the exploration holes intersected lithium mineralization.

The 2017 Exploration Program did not intersect the western boundary limit of lithium mineralization in the northwest expansion area. Additional drilling is planned in this area as part of the proposed 2018 Exploration Program (Figure 2). New drilling in 2018 will further explore the lateral extent, thickness and depth of lithium mineralization in unexplored areas east of Thacker Pass.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://resource.globenewswire.com/Resource/Download/2b6d978a-55d0-4267-bc13-61ff0910b0f6

Preliminary Feasibility Study Update

Lithium Nevada is advancing a PFS, which is being prepared pursuant to NI 43-101, in order to demonstrate the economic potential of producing high-value lithium products from claystone.  The Company has successfully completed process test work to validate a conceptual process flowsheet. The process employs low-risk commercially-proven acid leaching, purification and crystallization technologies to efficiently produce lithium products for the battery industry. Lithium Nevada is advancing the engineering design and costing work and is on track to provide the results of the PFS on schedule by the end Q2 2018.

Lithium Nevada Project Timeline

  • Q2 2018 – advance additional baseline environmental survey
  • Q2 2018 – release results of PFS
  • H2 2018 – initiate major mine plan permitting
  • H2 2018 – commence detailed engineering

Table 2: Lithium Nevada - Thacker Pass 2017 Drilling Data

Hole (LNC-)TD (m)OverburdenLength (m)
>2000 ppm Li
Li ppm AvgLi ppm Max
001186.5420.4860.3233116100
00260.96--178273
00397.44--2712480
00446.36--3511450
00560.96--212990
00660.96--179379
00783.06--129411
00876.20--3101470
009154.7221825.6229504050
010212.48--4812550
01171.846.1025.1226923950
01254.13--102690
013121.9239.4129.6029106170
01476.29--1831340
015122.413.1750.4432216340
01695.2817.6835.1432265350
01745.816.5811.3133215800
018122.713.6349.4030055820
01982.753.0558.3035536420
02078.4610.5247.5837066920
02180.106.0453.5940837660
02246.51--3991790
02346.57--4872750
02454.8617.1319.3829264980
02576.99--4021350
02695.1020.6356.7533695550
027106.686.2861.1435555870
02889.1814.5158.2836137230
029107.4715.8559.4434545480
03076.208.4155.8733106880
03190.7413.2359.2536637540
03280.0411.0654.8937497210
03389.189.3357.7637297620
03461.756.2546.8840318040
03540.423.5430.4241367720
03692.293.8470.7133777440
03792.2315.7356.1434866990
03895.2813.8157.6435866940
03989.1812.8960.2935457500
04087.6913.9361.0838747950
04145.722.5334.8438057040
04295.2815.2569.2434536990
04391.0116.2861.0835057180
04489.2511.4662.2737896960
04584.6116.0054.5338416910
04666.5417.3739.9636557320
04788.6714.5454.4138607390
04892.2916.7060.4435876900
05792.2914.2061.3336587370
05895.1016.0057.0934457950
059113.696.1068.6733526170
06095.34063.6733636620
061112.0737.2556.9734295670
06296.9914.8761.3634876700
06390.7722.1954.8636556450
06454.196.9533.6539656780
06595.3423.4456.8836636460
06687.7213.0560.8137416640
06758.7717.4122.8047976770
06892.2913.2659.2237216740
06954.1911.7726.4644458440
07084.6714.5757.3335317160
071101.4416.1859.1338867530
072101.4421.0044.9937417920
07377.0510.2429.9643097770
07490.7721.3746.3938196840
07569.438.8140.3641997690
07698.3316.7655.2638928100
07774.0111.5847.5539477220
07887.9713.4154.2538696770
07963.614.0240.2549506970
08094.3420.0358.5238297130
08198.69--3060
08290.7418.4156.6638437430
08337.43019.0239635180
08467.766.7743.8337777540
085113.6331.3363.1234746220

Notes:

  1. Holes 049 through 056 which were drilled to target shallow industrial clay resources for Lithium Americas’ subsidiary, RheoMinerals Inc, were not tested for lithium, and therefore are not presented in this table.
  2. All holes are vertical (90o) except for hole LNC-083 (Az: 180o Dip -60o).

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://resource.globenewswire.com/Resource/Download/655b66d3-41b8-4802-b661-7bb9918195c0

Figure Notes: Figure 3a has the same approximate location of the inset box in Figure 1a. The location of Figure 3b is shown by the inset box in Figure 3a.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://resource.globenewswire.com/Resource/Download/9303f71b-58d8-40c8-a447-cf8c8ed7822d

Quality Assurance and Quality Control

The data collection and analysis procedures employed to develop the information presented in this disclosure use industry-standard quality techniques and procedures.

Sampling procedure and assaying methods were as follows:

  • Drilled core was brought from the field to the Company’s core shed located in Orovada, Nevada.  The boxes of core were logged, photographed, cut and sampled by Company employees and consultants. The geologist determined the length of the assay samples by lithology and averaged 1.73 m. The core was cut in half with diamond blade saws, using fresh water, and half bagged for sampling. For duplicate samples, one half of the core is cut in half again and the two halves are bagged and sampled separately to test sampling and assay precision. Each sample was assigned a unique identification number to ensure security and anonymity. Randomly inserted in the sample stream were QA/QC samples, which represent 10.1% of the total assays. The QA/QC samples include blanks to test for contamination, high and low-grade lithium standards to test for accuracy and duplicates to test for precision.
  • Drilled core samples were collected from the core shed by ALS Minerals (“ALS”) and transported to their lab in Sparks, Nevada. At ALS, the samples were dried at a maximum temperature of 60 degrees Celsius and the entire sample was then crushed with a jaw crusher to 90% passing a ten-mesh screen. Nominal 250 gram splits were taken for each sample using a rifle splitter. This split is pulverized using a ring mill to 90% passing a 150-mesh screen.
  • ALS’ analysis included four-acid digestion and inductively coupled atomic emission plasma spectroscopy to ensure that elevated metal concentrations were not present, which would interfere with inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy analyses.

QA/QC protocols included:

  • High, low and blank standards were inserted in random sampling intervals. These samples were also assigned a blinded sample identification number.
  • Duplicate samples were taken every 30.48 meters. Each was assigned a blinded identification number.

QA/QC statistical evaluations and results:

  • Three low grade samples out of 63 assays fell outside the certified two standard deviation. All three were within 20ppm of falling within the two standard deviation criteria. All high-grade samples were within the certified two standard deviations.
  • All blank standards reported less than 65ppm Lithium.
  • All assay standards showed minimal bias drift with time.
  • 178 duplicate ¼ core samples, 356 assays, returned a R2 correlation value of 0.9915.

The scientific and technical information disclosed in this news release relating to the Resource Estimate has been prepared and approved by Louis Fourie, P. Geo., Pri. Sci. Nat., of WorleyParsons Canada Inc., a “Qualified Person" under NI 43-101, and an independent consultant to the Company. Mr. Fourie reviewed or developed the following types of information for the resource calculation:

  • Geological maps and cross sections;
  • Block model methods, parameters, tabulations, and model results;
  • Estimated mining and process costs; and
  • Resource determination procedures and results to assure reasonable expectation of economic extraction.

Readers are cautioned that mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.

All other scientific and technical information disclosed in this news release has been reviewed and approved by Randal Burns, Senior Project Geologist at Lithium Nevada, and a "Qualified Person" as defined in NI 43-101.

Mr. Burns has verified the data disclosed in this news release and no limitations were imposed on the verification process. In the course of data verification, and for purposes of QA/QC, Mr. Burns, among other things, reviewed or developed the following types of information for the deposit:

  • Geologic maps and cross sections
  • Block model methods, parameters, tabulations, and model results
  • Estimated mining and process costs
  • Resource determination procedures and results to assure reasonable expectation of economic extraction
  • Sampling procedure and assaying methods
  • QA/QC protocols and results, including:
    • Analysis of inserted standards
    • Analysis of inserted blanks
    • Confirmation of assays from a check lab
    • Reverse Circulation versus Diamond Drilling
    • ¼ core sampling and assay versus ½ core sampling and assay
    • Spot checks of the data base against original certificates of assay
    • Statistical evaluations and studies
  • Checked reliability of historic information and established protocol for acceptance or rejection of legacy data

Other than as described in the Company's annual filings (which are available at www.sedar.com), there are no known legal, political, environmental or other risks that could materially affect the potential development of the mineral resources at this point of time.

About Lithium Americas

Lithium Americas, together with SQM, is developing the Cauchari-Olaroz lithium project, located in Jujuy, Argentina, through its 50% interest in Minera Exar. In addition, Lithium Americas owns 100% of the Lithium Nevada project, and RheoMinerals Inc., a supplier of rheology modifiers for oil-based drilling fluids, coatings, and specialty chemicals. The Company trades on both the Toronto Stock Exchange and on the New York Stock Exchange, under the ticker symbol “LAC”.

Forward-looking statements

Statements in this release that are forward-looking information are subject to various risks and uncertainties concerning the specific factors disclosed here and elsewhere in the Company's periodic filings with Canadian securities regulators. Forward-looking information in this news release includes, but is not limited to, the timing and completion of PFS, baseline environmental surveys, the 2018 drill program, major mine plan permitting and detailed engineering work.  When used in this document, the words such as “intent”, “target”, “expect”, “estimated” and “scheduled” and similar expressions represent forward-looking information. Information provided in this document is necessarily summarized and may not contain all available material information.

All such forward-looking information and statements are based on certain assumptions and analyses made by Lithium Americas management in light of their experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments, as well as other factors management believes are appropriate in the circumstances. These statements, however, are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking information or statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ from these forward-looking statements include those described under the heading "Risks Factors" in the Lithium Americas’ most recently filed Annual Information Form and other continuous disclosure filings.  The Company does not intend, and expressly disclaims any obligation to, update or revise the forward-looking information contained in this news release, except as required by law.  Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking information or statements.

For further information contact:
Lithium Americas Corp.
Investor Relations
Suite 1150 – 355 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC, V6C 2G8
Telephone: 778-656-5820
Email:  [email protected]
Website: www.lithiumamericas.com