The Corvette lithium discovery, in Quebec, had the potential to support a ‘substantial number’ of downstream chemical plants, ASX-listed Patriot Battery Metals said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Diggers & Dealers conference, Patriot non-executive chairperson Ken Brinsden noted that while there was still a significant amount of work to be done at the project area, it clear that the project would be a significant contributor to the market.
“The North American and European supply chains are very much in their infancy, and to date there have been limited projects that can really support high capital cost chemical projects. We think the Corvette discovery represents a significant change and can support that kind of development,” Brinsden said.
Patriot recently reported a 109.2-million tonne maiden mineral resource estimate for the CV5 deposit at Corvette, grading at 1.42% lithium and 160 parts per million tantalum pentoxide, for 3.84-million tonnes of contained lithium carbonate equivalent. The resource estimated marked CV5 as the largest lithium pegmatite mineral resource in the Americas, and also the eighth-largest lithium pegmatite resource globally.
Patriot is currently targeting the start of construction at CV5 in 2027, with production earmarked for 2028. The project’s parameters is expected to be released by the end of this year.
Meanwhile, Patriot recently completed a $109-million deal with US lithium major Albemarle, giving that company a 4.9% shareholding in Patriot.
Brinsden said on Tuesday that the agreement included a stand-still agreement that limited the lithium major from acquiring a larger part of the company on-market.
The deal also included a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two companies to assess partnership opportunities to study the viability of a downstream lithium hydroxide plant integrated with Corvette and located in Canada or the US, including options.
The MoU includes an exclusivity period for an initial nine months which may be extended.
The MoU is subject to number of conditions and there was no assurance that it would result in the completion of a study or an ultimate joint venture with Albemarle, Patriot cautioned.
Brinsden said that the company had allocated 400 000 t of spodumene concentrate to Albemarle under the potential agreement, which translated to 50 000 t of lithium carbonate equivalent, which is the current capacity of Albemarle’s operations at Kemmerton, in Western Australia.
“It’s a healthy start for them, and I guess a healthy start for us, although we expect to ultimately produce a lot more spodumene concentrate than that,” Brinsden said.