Wealth Minerals is looking to purchase more lithium assets in resource rich Chile

There is a shift happening right now in the way we use energy, store it, and think about it. This transformation is being generated by new technology and applications. Lithium is the answer. The lithium-ion battery has a tremendous energy storage capacity relative to size and weight. By having that energy available when we need it, we can capture energy when we don’t.

Wealth Minerals Ltd. (TSXV: WML | OTCQX: WMLLF) is a mineral resource company with access to lithium assets in Chile; the number one country for low cost, high purity supply in the rapidly growing lithium industry. Wealth Minerals hold 4 lithium brine projects in their portfolio covering around 75,500 hectares in Chile.

The Atacama Lithium Project – Wealth Minerals’ flagship project

The Atacama Lithium Project is an early stage exploration project with 46,200 hectares within the Salar De Atacama – The world’s highest grade and largest producing lithium brine salar. Salar de Atacama is the largest salt flat in Chile encompassing over 3,000 km2. Wealth Minerals hold 144 concessions in the northern part of the salar and it will be the Company’s focus for the next 12-24 months.

The Atacama Salar possesses a very high grade of both lithium (1,840 mg/l) and potassium (22,630 mg/l), has a high rate of evaporation (3,200 mm per year), and extremely low annual rainfall (15 mm average per year). These characteristics make Atacama’s finished lithium carbonate easier and cheaper to produce than its peer group globally. A key factor in lithium production costs is evaporation time and Atacama Salar’s evaporation rate is the highest in the lithium industry. The Salar de Atacama is host to more than 15% of the world’s known lithium reserves, and yet exploration and production of lithium has occurred only in the southern portion of the salar. The proximity of the project to existing producers strongly suggests that exploration potential is good for the discovery of brines in the northern portion of the salar, where Wealth Minerals’ project is located.

Company timeline work plan

Wealth Minerals looking to expand their tenements in the Atacama

Wealth Minerals announced on September 17, 2018 it has completed a comprehensive re-interpretation of geophysical data and established a large 100 km2 area of anomalous data, interpreted to represent high-salinity brines at depth. With a view to expanding the Company’s already extensive footprint in the Atacama region, a geophysical survey was recently initiated on several additional properties in the area that Wealth has begun negotiations to acquire. Results from the Geophysical Survey are expected in the coming weeks and will be used by the Company in determining whether to proceed with the acquisition of the additional properties.

Wealth Minerals plan to start drilling soon at their Atacama Lithium Project

Henk Van Alphen, Wealth Minerals’ CEO stated: “Our work with stakeholders in and around the Atacama Project is progressing well and we hope to be drilling soon, as well as testing shallow drill-targets in the west of the project, we plan to drill this 2 km thick brine target in the east. Wealth has a large land position in the Atacama, which we hope will prove to have significant value once drill testing begins and results become available.”

The world is continuously going green, with many country’s mandating electric vehicles. France for example aim to end the sale of gasoline and diesel cars by 2040, and car manufacturer Volvo will only produce electric or hybrid cars from 2019. Wealth Minerals is developing projects in high quality locations in Chile, and could benefit greatly from the world’s shift to green energy through lithium batteries. Several near term catalysts include commencement of drilling, drill results, and then a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA).




Wealth Minerals President on hitting the lithium market full force

June 6, 2018 – “Every single brine asset in the world is visible from outer space. Everyone knows where they are. You are competing with everyone. There is no way you have a competitive advantage in terms of finding these things because everyone knows where they are. Your competitive advantage is in understanding the paradigm shift that is happening in the world first, picking a jurisdiction where you have competitive advantage and then basically hitting it with full force.” states Tim McCutcheon, President of Wealth Minerals Ltd. (TSXV: WML | OTCQX: WMLLF), in a recent presentation at the 7th Annual InvestorIntel Summit – Buds, Batteries & Blockchain 2018.

Tim McCutcheon: We will go through obviously the disclaimers and forward looking statements. The key thing about Wealth Minerals and, again, I think in the interest of time in having it be a little more focused, I have a tendency to skip around a little bit so please forgive me on that, but the idea really is to give you an understanding of what Wealth Minerals is and where we are going. The company has been around for a while obviously, but its current form in terms of being involved in the lithium space, started about 2 years ago. Market cap, anywhere between $150 and $170 million dollars. As I am sure you are probably aware that the volatility in the lithium market right now is quite high, lithium equity market, so things are moving all over the place. In general we are well north of a $100 million dollar market cap, which means that we are already getting interest from institutional investors and, sort of, out of the retail space and now into the institutional space. Four lithium projects, all of them in Chile. I think the key thing that we like to present about ourselves is, Chile as jurisdiction is a great place to be. It is a mining friendly place. It has a proven track record of over decades of being fair to investors, being stable, both on a macro level, on a fiscal level. It is not a country you go to wake up the next morning and find something horrible happened in newspapers. It is a fairly predictable place. As far as our team goes we have an unparalleled ability to operate within Chile in part because of the track record of the team. Our country manager is Marcelo Awad. He was the CEO at Antofagasta, one of the world’s largest copper mining companies and he was an Executive Vice President at Codelco, which is a state mining company for Chile, obviously a major player in that country. There are a bunch of other reasons as well, but, again skipping on. As a timeline, as we just spoke about, about 2 years ago the company got started in the lithium space. Our basic idea was to put together a platform. That platform was put together in the beginning of 2016. Use that platform to acquire assets. Again, what I mentioned in the panel a little bit earlier, the lithium space, at least in where we are focused, which is South America a triangle for salars, brine assets. Every single brine asset in the world is visible from outer space. Everyone knows where they are. You are competing with everyone. There is no way you have a competitive advantage in terms of finding these things because everyone knows where they are. Your competitive advantage is in understanding the paradigm shift that is happening in the world first, picking a jurisdiction where you have competitive advantage and then basically hitting it with full force…to access the complete presentation, click here

Disclaimer: Wealth Minerals Ltd. is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel Corp.




Coro Mining positioning for a copper comeback

As the copper price pushes ever-closer to the $3/lb mark amid increasing demand, stricter regulatory measures and the associated supply deficit, Coro Mining Corp. (TSX: COP)(“Coro”) is a junior in an eminent position to benefit. Having one project already producing, one in development and two in exploration means the company can immediately cash-in on the escalating value of one the world’s most-used metals and put the cash-flow straight to work.

Almost a third of the Earth’s copper reserves are in Chile, exactly where Coro focus their efforts. Since it supplies the lion’s share of global copper, the nation is known to be mining-friendly with a defined process for project approval and a long history of foreign investment. Coro’s producing resource in Chile, SCM Berta, is currently undergoing expansion of production capacity from the current 3,000 tonnes per year to 4,800 tonnes per year of copper cathode. Copper cathode, the ‘plates’ of 99.99% pure copper that are output from the plant may be sold-on immediately without further refining, and with average cash operating costs of $1.59/lb Cu, the current price trend is set to provide a serious boon to the company and further the development of its other resources.

Coro is rapidly developing its Marimarca project, located in a belt of Mesozoic age copper deposits known as the Coastal Copper Belt, 14km from highway and powerline, with its maiden NI43-101 resource estimate and baseline environmental study announced earlier this year. The company then acquired The Ivan SXEW (Solvent Extraction Electrowinning) in June 2017 and have even initiated the Feasibility Study. The Ivan plant has a capacity to produce 10,000 tonnes per year of copper cathode, and will process ore from the Marimarca copper oxide project once in production.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimates that every American born in 2008 will use 1,309 pounds of copper during their lifetime for necessities, lifestyles and health. Due to its outstanding thermal and electrical properties and malleability, the metal has been in constant use for over 10,000 years and is now featured in pretty much every electrical device on the planet. In fact, copper is second only to silver in terms of electrical conductivity, and so it occupies a permanent place in the modern home by virtue of its relative abundance.

Copper wiring is an absolute necessity in renewables, too; transformers, motors, batteries, circuit boards and even the most efficient solar panels all depend on copper to function. An electric vehicle requires 2-3 times more copper than a conventional dinosaur-fueled car, and an electric-hybrid bus can consume more than 10 times this figure. Presently, reserves are in decline as demand begins to improve around the world, and China’s recent suggestion that they will ban the import of low-grade scrap metal by the end of 2018 has seen many hedge managers extend their positions on copper futures.

Coro has already achieved a considerable amount, certainly enough for the team to be recognised as more-than-capable of bringing projects to term, and the speed at which their Chilean developments are moving these days is, for me, a major confidence marker in the future of the company. Any kind of construction is guaranteed to create demand for copper, and combined with the booming electric vehicle market, Coro should look forward a rewarding few years indeed.




Analyst is in agreement with bullish outlook on copper market

Copper has exhibited some rather strange behaviour of late; the value of the ubiquitous metal remained relatively stable since the fall of last year as weakened demand delayed the expected supply shortfall. More recently, prices have been climbing to the extent that we are now looking at a two-year-high of almost $3/lb, and continued erosion of inventories worldwide, combined with related regulatory pressures are likely to maintain this trend for the medium to long term. This is yet further evidence that we are entering into the next bull-phase of the economic cycle, as similar growth patterns can be observed in commodity markets around the globe.

The current international market for copper totals around 24 million tonnes annually and is heavily influenced by construction and telecommunications since the material is crucial to almost all wiring systems, as well as motors, pipes and printed circuit boards. This is because copper conducts both heat and electricity extremely well and is fairly abundant in the Earth’s crust, comprising roughly 60 ppm. Around a third of the world’s copper reserves are to be found in Chile, and about half of that amount is located in the United States, giving someone other than China the lead for once!

The fact that copper is easy to recycle means that producing mines are not necessarily required to meet demand; however, China has recently suggested that it will ban the import of low-grade scrap metal by the end of 2018 as part of the country’s plan to reduce the impact of polluting industries. This pressure to conserve resources is taking effect all over the planet and resulting in steadily dwindling stockpiles at the same time as new technologies that require considerably more copper than their predecessors are achieving prominence.

The expected explosion in the demand for electric vehicles should come of no surprise,  but many are unaware of the stress it will place on copper supply. Traditional internal combustion driven cars require up to 23 kg of copper each, whereas a hybrid electric vehicle demands almost double that amount at 40 kg of copper, and a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle uses 60 kg. Furthermore, a single car can feature up to 6km of copper wiring, and depending on the size of battery, an electric bus can use between 224 kg and 369 kg of copper. The seemingly inevitable changes to our transportation systems are clearly going to bring about massive shifts in how we use metallic resources, and copper is no exception.

The thing about renewable energy sources is that they almost all require a generator of some description, of which a requisite feature is a thick copper coil whose length is proportional to its power rating; the greater the output needed, the greater the size of the coil. Even solar panels, which do not require a copper winding, are far more efficient when crafted from copper diselenide as opposed to silicon. In fact, copper-based solar cells are currently the most efficient available.

As reserves continue to shrink and requirements grow, we should expect the price of copper to climb, and after all, this is all that’s necessary to inspire confidence in the bulls that are still sitting on the side and waiting for certainty. Traders are already increasing long positions on copper futures, and since the use of the metal is entirely congruent with the energy efficient and environmentally friendly direction in which we are heading, I am in total agreement with the bullish outlook that is taking hold.




Analyst directs investors south for the Latin American Mining Round-Up 2017

The grim years from 2011 to early 2016 produced a wholesale retreat to “close to home” locations in the mining sector. Stories that were in either Canada or Australia fared better than those in edgy locations, like Africa or Latin America. We had predicted that when the turn came there would be some feelers go out to these areas but that capital would not flow in substantial amounts until the recovery was robust. This has proven to be the case. However the one exception is the Lithium boom which sent companies scurrying to locations they had hitherto eschewed and produced somewhat of a staking boom, particularly in Argentina.

The countries that miners retreated from in 2011 are not necessarily the same territory when they return in 2017. Politics have changed, attitudes have changed, metals have come into or gone out of fashion and domestic priorities/needs have altered. This makes it an ideal time to revisit Latin America which had become a strong preserve of Canadian players from 2005 to 2011 and now is experiencing somewhat of a thaw in investors frosty outlook to the region.

Argentina

For many years Argentina had a paradoxically self-declared pro-mining government that miners loved to hate. The Kirchner regime did not make things easy. It was happy for miners to mine but then seemingly didn’t want the miners taking the profits back to their mothership (wherever that might be). All that ended with the overthrow of Kirchner by Mauricio Macri in late 2016 and the arrival of a pro-business government. Frankly Argentina didn’t miss all that much in the 2011-15 period as not much was happening in pro-mining OR anti-mining jurisdictions in Latin America. Indeed the timing of Macri’s appearance with the revived mining sector around the same time (particularly the Lithium boom) was very timely. Deals are starting to be done like the Golden Arrow Resources (TSXV: GRG | OTCQB: GARWF)/Silver Standard combination. We would expect to see more deals, or at least fluidity in the ownership of assets that have long been in the freezer.

A weather eye should be kept upon the upcoming elections for the Congress where Cristina Kirchner is putting herself forward as a wannabe legislator. This will be a litmus test of where things might be heading in the next Presidential elections, which nevertheless are still a long way away in 2020.

Brazil

The country that is always “promising” but never delivers may not be true anymore but Brazil’s attempts to move into the global big leagues have been hampered by repeat own goals. It wants to be a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council but has had two Presidents indicted for corruption in the space of one year!

The most positive side effect of the political wobbles and moreover the economic slowdown, now that easy money has ended, is the decline in the Real against the dollar which has been a healthy kicker to those already producing or looking at kickstarting projects in Brazil.

The political environment has not harmed mining though as much as metals prices have, with large scale projects (most dependent upon iron ore) no longer dominating the airwaves (which is probably a good thing). Smaller projects in niche metals seem to be getting more of an airing with developers of Manganese and Nickel projects having crossed our desk in recent times. This trend will continue as metals prices trend back up and indeed we suspect that we will hear Brazil linked to more and more minerals with which it has not been traditionally associated. As for gold in Brazil, pretty blah..

Ecuador

This country has been the inevitable beneficiary of cycles and a dose of reality. The falling oil price also focused minds in government(s) that had believed that oil would always provide and mining was an unnecessary evil. As we have observed before, oil provides way less jobs than mining and does not necessarily move the broader economy forward in the way that mining can.

The shift of Fruta del Norte out of the deathly grip of Kinross has electrified the local scene. It caused us to dig out and dust off our Intierra map for Ecuador circa 2008 and review the long lost names and their concessions. This country is enormously prospective and if it can get its act together it might actually be what Colombia promised to be and did not deliver.

Watch this space..

Mexico

This country chugs along as the tried and true investment country of choice in LatAm. The main difference in recent times is that miners are finally ‘fessing up that cartels and crime are a problem. For years investors asked the question and were told “that’s another part of the state” now the truth (as much as can be) is being told. However from what we have seen it hasn’t precluded any investment in the country.

Otherwise Mexico is still very much open for business and is riddled with great projects waiting to be sparked into action by either metals prices or financings. The likes of Chesapeake Gold’s (TSXV: CKG | OTCQX: CHPGF) Metates project, Southern Silver’s Cerro la Minitas and Azure Minerals’ Alacran project spring to mind as some awaiting the appropriate trigger.

The problem for us is the producing companies that investors stuck with through the grim days who still aren’t giving up a dividend. We have a special part of hell reserved for these companies (you know who you are). Ironically that makes the Mexican-owned and -listed companies (e.g. Peñoles, Frisco) more attractive than many of the TSX-listed ones. To the offenders…. must try harder..

Peru

Peru has, in some ways, become the new Chile. As Chile gets tougher to do business, Peru in comparison starts to look less complicated. One should not dismiss the potential for NGOs to stir up a roadblock by “locals” faster than you can say “rent-a-crowd” but generally most areas of the country are mining-friendly and out to get the jobs and trickle down that having a major operation in their vicinity brings.

The campaign to grab Chile’s crown has been slow and steady, but it’s getting there, particularly in the copper space. We were surprised at a recent lunch by Panoro Resources to hear of Peru’s stealth advance in Copper. Below can be seen the progress made.

If it keeps on at this pace the baton of copper leadership will shift from Chile to Peru before 2030.

Chile

One can never really know but I have the suspicion that somewhere in the Chilean Ministry of Mining there is a type of “Bat Phone” that connects the Powers That Be to the heavies of the Lithium Cartel and this phone has been ringing hot over the last year.

As Argentina has been advancing with somewhat of a Lithium “gold rush” Chile is scarcely mentioned despite its importance in the Lithium space. Why? Well, maybe the cartel makes the call and say “no interlopers” and the Ministry gets the message. The result Chile is the word on nobodies’ lips.

The first question any investors ask at presentations by miners operating in Chile is the water issue. This has become, probably rightly, an investor obsession. At higher levels (pardon the pun) the issue becomes Pascua Lama and a number of other dents in Chile’s reputation of being miner-friendly.

Codelco meanwhile sits as the omnipotent master of all it surveys and we would hazard a projection that as long as Codelco exists there will probably not be another major copper mine developed by any other major. Codelco needs to own all the big projects to ensure its ongoing status as 800lb gorilla. We might also mention that the military have a special royalty off its mines.

Chile going forward will mainly be small-scale plays and that is why we find Coro, Amerigo and their ilk as the most interesting players to watch.

Colombia

We have long been in two minds on this country and been justified in that view. Too many spoilers in the form of local “entrepreneurs” got into the listed plays and the presence of artisanal miners also muddied the waters. While we have one favorite that is running a small mine and upgrading it (as well as tolling for artisanals on its patch) the rest of Colombian “big” deposits will most likely stay as deposits and nothing more.

Nicaragua

The country shows how do it. From Sandinistas and Contras in the 1980s to a mining hotspot in the current decade. Let it be a lesson to those countries still in the Dog House (see anon). This is a country to watch and should certainly be a model for the others around it (Guatemala being a good case) that have yet to turn themselves into mining friendly destinations. Until they do this, Nicaragua will be the sexiest place in Central America to mine gold, in particular.

The Dog House

Venezuela and Bolivia remain in the dog house. The former staggers from bad to worse and the cataclysmic final scene may be playing out in the next few weeks. This is however a “death scene” that has been forecast before and perpetually forestalled. This country has to have the definitive shift in government that produces that moment where “the blood runs in the streets” that signals the turn. Nothing can be achieved as long as the remnants of Chavismo cling on.

Bolivia is also not on the beaten path but at least is not as idiosyncratic as Venezuela. The country is doing its own thing and just as well, as miners have good memories that this place has been the graveyard of more than a few Canadian players. Interesting though was to see the Bolivian ambassador to the UK at a recent Neometals event in London, apparently scoping out the potential of that company’s salar extraction technology for its own Lithium riches.

Conclusion

Mining executives, particularly in Canada, always had a soft spot for Latin America (if only for the weather being great when it is frosty north of the border) but also for its proximity and its enormous potential. The first wave of players were rewarded in spades with a frenzy of takeovers that “made” certain Canadian players as they shuffled assets and piles of cash. There were debacles, (Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador) but the successes (particularly in Mexico) far outweighed those mishaps.

It’s a new cycle and things have changed both down in Latin America and in the major capital markets. Priorities are different but one cannot take one’s eye off the best prospects and Latin America has more than its fair share of those. As long as the US dollar remains so “expensive” the best thing TSX denizens should do is regard Nevada etc as “flyover” territory and just keep heading more to the south.




CEO of Wealth Minerals presents “Lithium for Growth” at #CTMS2017

In a recent presentation at InvestorIntel’s 6th Annual Cleantech & Technology Metals Summit (#CTMS2017), Tim McCutcheon, President of Wealth Minerals Ltd. (TSXV: WML) delivered a presentation titled, “Lithium for Growth”. Addressing industry and investors alike, Tim provides an overview of four of their Chilean salar projects: Atacama Salar Project, Laguna Verde Project, Trinity Project, and Five Salars Project. Tim highlights the potential of the Atacama Salar as it represents one third of global lithium production. Tim also discusses the advantages of having access to a local and experienced workforce by being based in Chile… to access the full presentation, click here




Ecclestone on ‘why Chile’, copper ‘looking firm’ and Coro

The key mantra to remember with Coro Mining Corp. (TSX: COP) is its “pairings”. These are the symbiotic relationships between a particular mine and its processing plant. In the case of Coro the pairings are Berta/Nora and Marimaca/Ivan. The first pairing is up and running and the second one is in the process of being moulded together. There have been several developments with both combinations in recent months that are worthy of being revisited.

Marimaca/Ivan

This is the project that is most formative at this juncture. Earlier this month the company announced that it had signed the purchase agreement for the acquisition of Minera Rayrock Ltda (“Rayrock”), a Chilean subsidiary of Compañía Minera Milpo S.A.A., a major Peruvian mining company, which owns the Ivan SXEW (solvent extraction & electrowinning) processing plant, located 18km south of the Coro’s Marimaca project. The Ivan plant, with installed capacity of 10,000 tonne per year copper cathode, has been on care and maintenance for the past five years and has been maintained in good condition which prompts Coro to believe it could be put back into production in a reasonable time and for a reasonable cost.

The completion of the Rayrock purchase enables Coro to accelerate production from the Marimaca project. Below can be seen a cross section of the proposed pit at Marimaca.

Back in January the company published a maiden resource on the Marimaca property. The estimate was completed at a variety of cut off grades by NCL Ingeniería y Construcción S.A. of Santiago, Chile.

In order to demonstrate the potential economic viability of the Marimaca resource, some Whittle pit optimizations were completed utilizing appropriate operating costs, results obtained from preliminary metallurgical test work, and a variety of copper prices. The resources were estimated only for oxide and mixed copper mineralization which could be processed by heap leaching (HL) and run of mine (ROM) leaching to produce cathode copper. It should be noted that no resources were estimated for enriched and primary sulphide mineralization, occurring in deeper portions of the deposit.

Using a $3.20/lb long term copper price, the in-pit resource (all of which is heap-leachable material) was estimated:

One “problem” we have highlighted in the past is that the pit resource is constrained by the Marimaca property limits, such that all blocks occurring outside the property were assigned a 0% CuT grade. However the Chilean mining code permits sufficient push back of pit walls onto adjacent properties to allow for the extraction of resources present on the property. The pit contains a total of 54,436kt of waste, including mineralized blocks that did not fall into a resource category; low grade ROM material; and blocks outside the property limits, for an overall strip ratio of 1.31:1.

This purchase of Rayrock includes 23,748 hectares of mining claims extending between Marimaca and Ivan. Rayrock also owns 14,505 hectares of mining claims (called the Sierra Medina claims) located some 42km north east from Ivan and 30km east from Marimaca, which are also included in this purchase.

Milpo has retained a 2% NSR on all production from the Rayrock mineral properties. Coro may acquire half the NSR for US$2m at any time and will have a right of first refusal over the NSR.

Berta/Nora

Last month the company confirmed that the production capacity of the Nora SX/EW plant had been expanded from 3,000 tpa of copper cathode (6.6 million lbs) to 4,800 tpa (10.6 million lbs). The installation of the crusher, agglomerator and heap leach pads at the Berta mine site were completed and site ancillary works were nearing completion. Commissioning of the plant was expected to take place shortly and the operation would then commence ramping up to production of 400 tonnes per month of copper cathode (880,000 lbs).

In the last week the company began trucking concentrated pregnant leach solution (PLS) from the leach pads at the Berta mine to the Nora plant. Achieving commercial production at SCM Berta was supposed to be several month ago and the delay has effected sentiment, however this issue will shortly be fading into distant memory.

Conclusion

Chile seems to be a hot-spot of the new iconoclasm with Coro Mining and Amerigo Resources as prime examples of throwing away the rule books that constrained miners to the tried and true ways that reigned pre-2008. In Amerigo’s case it’s a concentration upon harvesting Codelco’s old tailings piles for their contained copper (and moly) content while with Coro it’s taking on processing plants and older mines and recombining them into economically logical structures that mean one plus one equals three due to the synergies gained. Combining assets that, standalone, have little future into a flowsheet that utilizes existing infrastructure at a low acquisition and refurbishment cost makes eminent sense.

Copper is looking firm these days. Tepid economic news might knock it back slightly then it bounces back up again. It has more of a look of a metal wanting to go up than one wanting to go down. Therefore for Coro its right time and right metal. Developments at Berta/Nora imply that commercial production is imminent. The stock price has retreated in 2017 due to the delay in declaring commercial production but that issue shall shortly be overcome. Bringing Marimaca/Ivan on-stream will hopefully be achieved through cashflows from the initial revenues from Berta/Nora. At that point that this realization hits the investing public then Coro will be set for a major rerating.