Project: Kings Valley, Nevada
The Kings Valley Lithium Project is located within the McDermitt Caldera Complex, a well-preserved volcanic feature located in north-central Nevada and southeast Oregon. Based on extensive past research by the U.S. Geological Survey,, volcanic activity at McDermitt spanned the period 27-16 million years ago and culminated in a structural collapse over a 450 square mile surface area, presently known as the McDermitt Caldera. The collapse was the result of the large volume of erupted magma which left a large subsurface void that subsided within itself.
The youngest period of volcanic activity at McDermitt, from 19 to 16 million years ago, generally consisted of explosive eruptions of rhyolite composition which was anomalously high in lithium compared to average rhyolites. Volcanic activity concluded by resurgence of the central part of the caldera, intrusion of rhyolite into the ring fracture zones around the caldera, and formation of a "moat" between the topographic wall of the caldera and the resurgent domes in the center of the caldera. Airborne ash components from these rhyolite eruptions locally accumulated in these shallow lakes or swamps within the "moat" which was also concurrently receiving fine sediments derived from adjacent eroding outcrops. Hydrothermal alteration of the volcaniclastic sedimentary rocks, or perhaps hot spring activity percolating through the adjacent rhyolitic rocks, introduced lithium into the "moat" sediments. This formed lithium rich clays known as hectorite. Hectorite is a trioctahedral smectite clay containing variable amounts of lithium. The general formula is Na0.3(Mg, Li)3Si4O10(F,OH)2 where Lithium substitutes for Magnesium in the lattice. The hectorite ranges from light to dark green, brown or light to dark grey in color depending on the oxidation state of the iron in the clay.
Chevron first identified extensive lithium mineralization at the McDermitt caldera in the early 1980's. Five separate areas were identified (North Lens, Central Lens, South Lens, South Central Lens and PCD Lens) where drilling identified significant +0.20% Li. The southern-most PCD Lens, currently identified as Stage I, is the primary focus of Western Lithium's effort due to the area's proximity to excellent infrastructure, including a paved highway and power lines that cross within 1,500 feet of the southern edge of the known mineralization.
Over 50 core holes have been completed by Western Lithium Corporation on wide-spaced centers within the Stage I (PCD) Lens. Significant +0.20% Li has been identified over a surface area of approximately 2.0 square miles.
The completed drilling identified +0.2% Li to depths of 350 to 400 feet in multiple horizons that collectively aggregate a thickness of 200 to 300 feet. Grades vary up to 0.60% Li but an overall average of 0.25-0.30% is presently implied.
Ongoing studies include core relogging to understand the details of the occurrence and its geologic setting, an in-fill drill program to further characterize the hectorite, metallurgical testing of the various ore-types and initial prefeasibility studies to determine project economics. An extensive in-fill drill program in 2010 has resulted in an interim updated resource estimate and drilling is ongoing.
The Four Northern Lenses - Stages II through V
The other four lenses, to the north of Stage I, and originally identified by Chevron contain the vast majority of the historical lithium resource. To date Western Lithium has drilled an additional five holes within these previously identified lenses, verifying lithium grades consistent with what Chevron originally found, and has completed a NI 43-101 compliant resource estimate on a portion of the Stage II lens.