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Vulcan Energy Resources Ltd: A closer look at Europe's largest lithium brine resource

Vulcan Energy Resources has announced the maiden mineral resource for its Vulcan Lithium Brine Project in Germany, which is now Europe's largest deposit on a contained LCE basis. But what about the grade how does that compare to other projects?

Keliber -

Vulcan Energy Resources Ltd (ASX:VUL) has announced the maiden mineral resource estimate for its Vulcan Lithium Brine Project in Germany.

The company correctly points out in the announcement that the resource estimate, which stands at 13.2mln tonnes (mt) lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE), is now the largest in Europe on a contained LCE basis.

WATCH: Vulcan Energy Resources developing 'first of its kind' zero carbon lithium project

Its larger than all the other European lithium projects, including European Metals’ Cinovec Project (7.2mt LCE); Rio Tinto’s Jadar Project (6.3mt LCE); Infinity Lithium Corp’s San Jose Project (1.7mt LCE); Savannah Resources’ Mina do Barroso Project (0.7mt LCE); Keliber Oy’s Keliber Project (0.4mt LCE); European Lithium’s Wolfsberg Project (0.3mt LCE); Lithium Australia’s Sadisdorf Project (0.3mt LCE); and Exore Resources ‘ Sepeda Project (0.3mt LCE).

Compared to other projects globally, it’s the fourth largest lithium brine project, and the fifth largest lithium project of any deposit type. It is clearly a very large lithium deposit, but there is an elephant in the room with this announcement. The announcement, gives us the context in regards to the tonnage, but it fails to give the same context for grade.

The grade for the project is 0.1% LCE, which makes it the one of the five lowest-grade lithium brine projects in the world (Figure 1). The other lithium projects in Europe are either igneous or sedimentary deposits so they are significantly higher-grade than the Vulcan Project by an order of magnitude (Figure 2), though this does not necessarily mean they will be “better projects”.

Figure 1: The grade curve for Lithium Brine Projects

Source: Metals and Mining Research Corporation

 

Figure 2: The grade curve for European Lithium Projects

Source: Metals and Mining Research Corporation

The Vulcan Project is globally unique, as it will be a zero-carbon lithium producer, as it will be both sourced from and powered by geothermal wells, which is a renewable and environmentally friendly energy source. These are attractive green credentials that will appeal to most end users of lithium, and four European electric vehicle manufactures having a low carbon source of lithium would be very attractive. The large volume and green nature of the Vulcan Project could give the company an edge relative to its European and perhaps even Global peer group despite its lower-grade.

A scoping study for the Vulcan project is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2020, the metrics for this study will make for very interesting reading and I look forward to comparing the those of other European and Global projects.

Quick facts: Vulcan Energy Resources

Price: 0.165 AUD

ASX:VUL
Market: ASX
Market Cap: $8 m
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