Boadicea has embarked on a strategy to be an explorer of the minerals to drive the future. The acquisition of the Bald Hill lithium project in the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia and the Hanns Gully Project in North Queensland give Boadicea two highly prospective locations to embark on its lithium exploration program.
The future is so bright, it’s going to be greener for Boadicea.
Bald Hills and Hanns Gully provide a strategic spread of lithium mineralisation and project styles to ensure Boadicea cements itself as a worthy explorer for this highly-sought-after mineral commodity.
- Bald Hills East (E 15/1608) is a granted tenement located adjacent to the Bald Hill mine and processing facility. Targeting pegmatite extensions to the current known Bald Hill mine.
- Hanns Gully (EPMA28125) is an application, in northern Queensland, on a known tin field with potential for Greisen-style lithium mineralisation.
Figure 1 Boadicea Lithium Projects Location
The Outlook for lithium
The demand for lithium (Li) worldwide is on a exponential trajectory. Most projections for lithium demand within the medium to long term remain positive.
The primary growth in demand is being driven by the use of lithium in rechargeable batteries, not only for electronic devices but also for electric vehicles and storage of renewable and other energies.
The demand for lithium continues to grow. Lithium has a range of uses in both chemical and technical applications. Lithium in various forms, such as lithium carbonate, lithium hydroxide and lithium chloride, is used in lubricant greases, pharmaceuticals, catalysts, air treatment and, particularly, in batteries – both non-rechargeable (primary) lithium metal batteries and rechargeable (secondary) lithium-ion batteries.
Within the lithium battery sector, growth areas have been in batteries for portable electronic devices, such as mobile phones, computers and rechargeable power tools, as well as batteries and motors for electric bikes, hybrid and electric cars, and other vehicles. Demand for lithium in the electric vehicles segment is forecast to grow rapidly worldwide as major car manufacturers launch new models to secure market share. Governments worldwide continue to announce the transition of their fleets to electric vehicles.
Benchmark Mineral Intelligence stimates that if all cars and vans sold in 2040 were electric it would represent almost 8,400 GWh of lithium-ion battery demand.
Benchmark forecasts 6,200 GWh of battery demand from the entire electric vehicle market in 2040.
This target would require more than 7 million tonnes of lithium (LCE) annually, which is 17 times more than lithium chemical production in 2021.
It would also require more than 5 million tonnes of nickel sulphate, which Benchmark’s Nickel Forecast shows is 19 times more than nickel sulphate production in 2021.
Benchmark Mineral Intelligence CEO Simon Moores says, “At the moment there is insufficient investment into raw material supply to meet battery demand in 2030 let alone 2040. While building a battery cell production facility can take two years, it takes a minimum of five years to bring on a new lithium mine.
“Right now, lithium demand is growing at three times the speed of lithium supply,” Simon Moores says.
“That’s a big problem that needs to be solved.”
Lithium exploration and supply
Australia is increasingly becoming a significant and major source of lithium supply to to meet this demand, with many hard-rock, pegmatite-hosted lithium resources, located mainly in Western Australia.
These include the producing Greenbushes Mine, the newly or soon-to-be producing Pilgangoora, Mount Cattlin, Earl Grey, Mount Marion and Bald Hill deposits, plus other deposits with significant lithium resources.
Lithium resources occur in two distinct categories: lithium minerals, largely from the mineral spodumene (Li2O.Al2O3.4SiO2), and salts, largely from lithium-rich brines in salt lakes. Canada, China and Australia have significant resources of lithium minerals, while lithium brine is produced predominantly in Chile, followed by Argentina, China and the USA. Lithium brines are the dominant feedstock for lithium carbonate production. Boadicea is currently targeting the pegmatite and greisen mineralisation styles (highlighted in red in Figure 1).
Figure 2 Geological Framework for Lithium Deposits (after MinEx Consulting 2019)
All of Australia’s current resources and production are from lithium minerals, predominantly spodumene, though other lithium-bearing minerals such as lepidolite are also present. These mineral deposits typically have average grades of 1 to 3% Li2O and are commonly associated with tin, and especially, tantalum (Ta) mineralisation.