by Mitchell Smith, President & CEO and Timothy Strong, Project Development Manager at Global Energy Metals Corporation
Nevada is referred to as the ‘Silver State’ and is deemed both a national and international gold and silver province. Annually, Nevada yields up to 5 % global gold production and 80 % of the US’ production. Annual silver and copper output sees Nevada produce over 9.5 million ounces of silver and 178 million tons of copper.
But what Nevada is lesser known for is its geological hosting of critical battery minerals – important components of today’s lithium ion-batteries and highly sought after to create a new domestic supply chain to fuel the move towards a low energy economy.
Cordilleran tectonics have dominated Nevada resulting in classic Basin and Range landscape. This tectonic activity resulted in multiple phase rock fracturing, allowing mineralized fluids to penetrate. Most of the state’s precious and base metal mineralization is associated with igneous ‘pulses’ that occurred during the Jurassic, Cretaceous and Tertiary eras.
The Lovelock Project, operated by Global Energy Metals Corporation (TSXV:GEMC | OTCQB:GBLEF), is located in Northern Nevada near the township of Lovelock, Churchill County in the Stillwater Mountain Range, approximately 93.21 miles (150 km) from Sparks – home to Tesla’s Gigafactory.
Lovelock project is located mostly within a geological feature known as the Humboldt Ultramafic Complex (‘HUC’) – it and the associated Boyer Formation are Jurassic in age, and are well known to host significant Iron Oxide deposits.
During the late Cretaceous to Early Oligocene, the formations underwent a major episode of paleo weathering and supergene enrichment, which has since been unconformably overlain by Tertiary volcanics. This has presented companies and researchers a new target for Iron Oxide Copper Gold (‘IOGC’) exploration, however, the rocks’ ultramafic nature also reveals potential for considerable nickel, cobalt and copper mineralization – all considered critical battery metals. Lovelock Mine was exploited in the 1800’s for nickel and cobalt. Historic documentation reveals that in 1883, 200 tons of ore were shipped to England for processing. This ore is said to have contained up to 12 % nickel and 14 % cobalt. Cobalt has been noted to occur within Cobalite and Erythrite – the two most important cobalt hosting minerals at Lovelock, taken from a series of veins and stockworks from underground workings. Furthermore, ore samples taken from Lovelock’s existing waste dumps have confirmed the high grades in the deposit.
Historic miners of this project ‘high graded’ veins, meaning they only selected the highest cobalt and nickel, in order to produce the highest grade cobalt and nickel, and as such, have left lower vein and wall rock alteration material, which may be viable for a modern production scenario. This is a common theme of historic gold mines in Arizona, Nevada, California and beyond, and there is no reason that it cannot be extended to vein-hosted base-metal projects. Attention has shifted and continues to increase as to securing the US’ domestic supply of battery and critical metals. The potential for discovery and subsequent mining of key battery metals in Nevada, such as cobalt, nickel and copper is an important step in building a domestic supply chain.
This theme has been reinforced by the global COVID-19 pandemic that has highlighted a weakness in the global value chain, reinforcing the Western World’s vulnerability and dependency on others for minerals that are critical for national and economic security, including cobalt and other battery metals.
Without downplaying the historical economic setback and human tragedy that is the result of COVID-19, the pandemic has provided an important lesson – early action is essential. Timely response and the need for mineral independence will be important factors in the wake of the pandemic, fueled by governments the world over seeking ways to spur their economy while curbing climate change and setting a common path to carbon-neutrality, which was at the top of the global agenda, pre-COVID-19.
As the world transitions to a sustainable low-energy economy, critical raw materials such as cobalt, copper and nickel are being prized for the essential role they play in the cause. The current trend of reliance on a supply chain centered around China is concerning to the US and other nations looking to thwart their Asian rivals’ growth in the clean energy storage and vehicle electrification space. Time is of the essence and immediate action is required if the US, EU and other jurisdictions want to attempt to catch-up in the race to secure new energy metals. To curb this, governments will need to action policy, scale-up investment and challenge this vulnerability by localizing exploration, development and production; developing, processing and manufacturing hubs for these critical minerals, and accelerating a regional response to the largest investment opportunity of our generation.
Nevada’s Lovelock Mine project is an example of a greenfield, high-priority, target-rich opportunity that has the upside potential to be developed, offering sought after security of critical minerals supply, and build the overall resource nationalism to challenge China’s electric vehicle and technology mineral dominance.
Disclaimer: co-author, Timothy Strong is Coring Magazine Section Editor – Exploration & Mining Geology and Project Development Manager at Global Energy Metals Corporation. The authors’ views and opinions in this article are independent to Coring Magazine.
About the company
Global Energy Metals Corp. TSXV:GEMC | OTCQB:GBLEF | FSE:5GE1 offers investment exposure to the growing rechargeable battery and electric vehicle market by building a diversified global portfolio of exploration and growth-stage cobalt assets.
The transportation industry is set to undergo a profound transformation over the coming decades with a shift from fossil-fueled to electric-powered vehicles. Global Energy Metals provides exposure to the e-mobility revolution through the development of a diversified supply chain for downstream users with potential to grow into a significant cobalt and battery minerals supplier.
Global Energy Metals holds 100 % of the Millennium Cobalt Project and two neighboring discovery exploration stage cobalt assets in Mount Isa, Australia, positioning it as a leading cobalt explorer and developer in one of Queensland’s most famous mining districts. The company has an option on two battery mineral projects – Lovelock Cobalt Mine and Treasure Box Project, on the doorstep of Gigafactory One – the world’s largest lithium-ion battery production plant in Nevada, US and the result of a partnership between Tesla Motors Ltd. and Panasonic Corp. GEMC has teamed with Marquee Resources – an Australian company funding a CAD 2.5 million campaign to advance the previous producing Werner Lake mine.
As GEMC expands its project’s value, it will continue to look to acquire other assets to develop a diversified global portfolio of cobalt and battery mineral assets in safe, mining-friendly jurisdictions to fuel the road to electrification.
For more info visit: www.globalenergymetals.com