Garth Drever can't hide his excitement over Frontier Lithium's Pakeagama Lake Pegmatite (PAK) project's initial findings and estimates.
But he is reluctant to say if it could be the first lithium mine in Canada.
"It could be a few years before we go into production, but we are very happy with what we are seeing," said Drever, vice-president of exploration of the Sudbury-based junior mining company, formerly known as Houston Lake Mining.
"The deposits are very clean, very high-grade and that's generating a lot of interest."
He was speaking on the latest findings from the project at the monthly meeting of the Sudbury Prospectors and Developers Association on March 20. His presentation took a look at the progress, from discovery to preliminary feasibility study, as well as a proposed mine site plan, possible winter and all-season roads, and a rough estimate for a production date.
The project is located 175 kilometres north of Red Lake, near the First Nation communities of North Lake, Deer Lake, and Spirit Lake.
The company recently released the mineral resource calculations, showing about a 1.82 per cent lithium content total in the updated mineral resource calculation of 10,416,050 tonnes bulk pegmatite at the site. The current National Instrument 43-101 com pliant mineral resource estimate shows a measured and indicated resource of 7.25 million tonnes of 1.69 per cent lithium oxide equivalent and an inferred resource of 1.9 million tonnes of 2.01 per cent.
What really excited them, he said, was this deposit has no inherent iron in it.
The bulk sample they took was so low in iron, Drever said they actually introduced iron during the grinding process.
Having low iron oxide in the sample is important. Technical-grade lithium has to have less than one per cent iron in it for making glass and ceramics.
"Pegmatite, like we have here, often has high iron in it, and it needs to go through chemical processing to produce lithium carbonate," he said. "Our product can basically be taken out of the ground, (you) grind it up, do a process of floating to concentrate the lighter material off, and you have a concentrate that has low iron in it."
At one point, Drever drew on his experience in uranium exploration to try a technique to locate lithium deposits.
He hypothesized the element would leach into the ground around a deposit near the surface and would be found in the plant life, just like uranium.
He took core samples from trees over...