Vulcan Energy Resources (ASX: VUL) has unveiled an updated indicated and inferred lithium-brine resource estimation for its Taro exploration licence in Germany’s Upper Rhine Valley.
The indicated resource now sits at 0.83 million tonnes contained lithium carbon equivalent at a grade of 181 milligrams per litre lithium, while the inferred is 1.44Mt contained LCE at 181mg/l lithium.
Vulcan has also re-totalled the collective mineral resource estimation for the Upper Rhine Valley project area which makes up its zero carbon lithium project.
That estimation now sits at 16.19Mt LCE grading 181mg/l lithium, 90% of which is in the inferred category.
The new figures make Vulcan’s project the largest JORC lithium resource in Europe, giving the company significant potential to become a major supplier of lithium chemicals into that market.
Taro is currently being integrated into a pre-feasibility study for the project, which is centred on the production of the lowest possible carbon dioxide-equivalent footprint lithium hydroxide for the global electric vehicle industry.
Managing Director Dr Francis Wedin said the updated figures demonstrate the project’s potential.
“Using our recently-acquired seismic data to advance the 3D geological model, and well data to advance fault zone hydro-dynamics, we are pleased to have upgraded a significant portion of the [indicated and inferred] resource at Taro,” he said.
“This higher confidence resource area is being integrated into our pre-feasibility study, which is on schedule for completion, [and] is in line with our strategy to become a supplier of unique zero carbon lithium hydroxide into Europe.”
The Taro licence was granted in August to Global Geothermal Holding UG, with which Vulcan has an agreement to earn 51% equity by spending approximately $800,000 on exploration within two years.
The company has met this initial expenditure requirement, allowing for a joint venture to be formed, with Vulcan owning 51% and Global Geothermal 49%.
Vulcan has agreed to spend a further $800,000 over two years to earn an additional 29% (second earn-in expenditure) and boost its total interest to 80%.
Global Geothermal can then elect to co-fund the project on a pro-rata basis or be diluted by an industry-standard formula while Vulcan continues to develop the project.
World’s first producer
Vulcan is aiming to become the world’s first producer of zero carbon lithium by generating a battery-quality lithium hydroxide chemical product with net zero carbon footprint from its combined geothermal and lithium resource.
The company plans to employ a unique process to produce renewable geothermal energy and lithium hydroxide from the same deep brine source.
In doing so, it believes it will fix current problems for Europe’s lithium market – namely, a very high carbon and water footprint of production; and total reliance on imports, mostly from China.
Dr Wedin said the project’s resource could satisfy Europe’s needs for the electric vehicle transition, from a zero-carbon source, for years to come.