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Canadian lithium projects attract growing interest from Australian explorers

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By Robin Bromby - 

Australian explorers look like they’re leaving no lithium stone unturned as they continue to peg ground in Ontario and Quebec provinces in Canada, chasing the battery metal’s hot future in the electrification revolution.

Continuing forecasts of severe lithium shortages by 2030 — just seven years hence — are fuelling market enthusiasm for new exploration stories.

Over three days this week, we have seen new moves into the Canadian lithium space.

James Bay a big drawcard

First came Rubix Resources (ASX: RB6) which has put its foot on ground in James Bay, Quebec, an area now bristling with significant lithium projects and lithium pegmatites.

Rubix acquired its ground from private vendor DG Resource Management which had previously identified and sold the Corvette property now being explored for lithium by Patriot Battery Metals (ASX: PMT | TSXV: PMET). Patriot recently reported that it had extended its CV5 pegmatite over a distance of 3.7km.

Also in this area is the Whabouchi deposit owned by Nemaska Energy (TSX: NMX) with its 36.6 million tonnes at 1.3% lithium oxide.

As another example of the pace of lithium development, earlier this week Nemaska entered into a long-term deal to supply the Ford Motor Company with lithium hydroxide over an 11-year period.

Rubix’s ground, the Ceiling lithium project, is interpreted to be located within an under-explored spodumene-bearing pegmatite trend along the Wemindji greenstone belt, the company notes.

It is described as a large-scale project comprising 101 active mineral claims covering 5,000 hectares and a 25km strike length.

Kuniko (ASX: KNI) announced that it had started field exploration at its three lithium projects in James Bay: Fraser, Mia North and Nemaska South.

Canadian exploration services provider, Axiom Exploration Group, has been appointed to conduct the exploration activities, which includes community engagement, pegmatite mapping, soil sampling and analysis to identify potential lithium deposits for future drilling.

DG also made Recharge Metals a James Bay starter

Earlier this month Recharge Metals (ASX: REC) took full ownership of its new Express lithium project in James Bay, Quebec — again the vendor was DG Resource Management.

The Australian company, which had listed in late 2001 as a gold and base metals explorer, is now focusing on Canada’s premium lithium hotspot.

Express is located 12km from the James Bay deposit owned by Allkem (ASX: AKE) — yet another project picked up from DG Management —with its 37.2 million tonnes at 1.3% lithium oxide, and 15km from the Pontax lithium project being explored by Cygnus Metals (ASX: CYS).

Recharge, having recently raised $3 million, is now fully funded for exploration over the coming 12 months.

From copper and gypsum to lithium and REE

Next out of the blocks this week after Rubix was Cohiba Minerals (ASX: CHK) which has picked up four lithium projects covering a total of 148 sq km and taking a strategic leap, adding Canada to its copper, gold and gypsum ground in Western Australia and Queensland.

Moreover, says the company, the projects in Ontario — named Big Rock, Rogers Creek, Ottertail and Gathering Lake — have also demonstrated “strong” potential for rare earth elements mineralisation.

Cohiba is finalising a $1.75 million placement to finance exploration, which will take place on all four properties this northern summer.

Blaze enters ‘electric avenue’

Also in Ontario, explorers there now have a new neighbour in the form of Blaze Minerals (ASX: BLZ).

The Perth-based company started out as an ASX listed vehicle in 2000 being one of many entrants to the tech craze at that time, transitioned (as Blaze International) to take part in the uranium frenzy of 2007, and more recently has been exploring three projects in Western Australia in the more sedate world of base metals.

Now it is back in the spotlight by acquiring 100% of the North Spirit lithium project in the Red Lake mineral province of Ontario, an area the company describes as “electric avenue’.

It covers 1,698 mineral claims for about 340 sq km which lie 30km along strike from the large PAK and Spark lithium deposit held by Frontier Lithium (TSXV: FR) and which have resources of 7.2Mt at 1.8% lithium oxide and 18.8Mt at 1.5% respectively.

Blaze says its initial field activities will target two granite pegmatites, which were defined by the Ontario Geological Survey and that “compare favourably” to the PAK deposit geology.

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