Lithium Consolidated Mineral Exploration (ASX:LI3) talks growth options in WA and Botswana


by Jessica Amir

Finance News Network Interview with Lithium Consolidated Mineral Exploration Limited (ASX:LI3) CEO, Shanthar Pathmanathan

Jessica Amir: Hi I’m Jessica Amir for the Finance News Network. Joining us now from Lithium Consolidated Mineral Exploration Limited (ASX:LI3), also known as LCME is its CEO, Shanthar Pathmanathan. Hi Shanthar, welcome back.

Shanthar Pathmanathan: Thank you Jessica, pleasure to be here.

Jessica Amir: First up Shanthar, you just wrapped up your AGM. What are your key messages to shareholders?

Shanthar Pathmanathan: The key messages for shareholders are firstly, we’ve got a truly world-class team. Our Board has an excellent track record and our technical team have got an excellent track record as well. Dr Douglas Haynes was previously the chief geologist at BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), looks after our work in hard rock lithium. 

The great discoveries of lithium are still to be made, it’s about a $30 billion market, which is tiny. We think the great discoveries are ahead of us, it’s going to be through the drill bit. In Western Australia, we expect to make a world-class discovery, what potentially are one or two world-class discoveries in Western Australia. And secondly, we’re also very focused on new opportunities in the form of acquisitions.

Jessica Amir: Can you give us an update on your WA assets?

Shanthar Pathmanathan: The WA assets are the brainchild of Dr Douglas Haynes. Douglas is focused on concealed targets instead of outcropping pegmatites. So what we’ve done is to follow the lithium fertile belt, which host lithium mines or outcropping pegmatites, we’ve followed them under cover. And we expect to make a discovery of a world-class resource, under very shallow cover of 20 to 30 metres.

Jessica Amir: What about Botswana, tell us what’s taking place there?

Shanthar Pathmanathan: The Botswana assets cover a very large area, over 4,000 square kilometres in the Sua and Nwetwe Pans in Botswana. These pans are the lowest point of elevation in the Kalahari Basin in Botswana. The water from the entire Kalahari eventually has to drain into these pans. The very lithium rich geology in the north has been deeply weathered, weathered to the point that the hard rock lithium in the north, is almost useless. And the lithium mineralisation has been transported into our pans, over millions of years and through a process of evapotranspiration, a brine has formed.

So what we’ve done in Botswana is to have these licences. We encountered a silcrete layer at about 1.5 metres below surface, next will be a drill program. We announced that that was going to start in November. I can say that we’re on track for that, and the objective there is to drill through to 60 metres below surface. And we expect it to reach basement in the Basin, so basement rock and to be able to test the full Basin formation in Botswana.

Jessica Amir: Can you give us an update on Nevada?

Shanthar Pathmanathan: Shortly after listing, we commenced a technical revue of our Nevada and other projects. We involved Mr Jerry Aitken and SRK, which is a world-leading technical consulting group for this. The outcome of the review was that the Nevada project was assessed to be higher risk, and have higher phase one exploration costs. As a result of this, we decided to relinquish a large part of our Nevada project. So we’ve relinquished 1,587 claims, we’ve kept 439 claims in Nevada.

This core position in Nevada is next to the Silver Peak mine, which is operated by Albemarle Corporation (NYSE:ALB), the largest lithium company in the world. And it’s the only lithium brine mine in North America. So we’ve got the entire sub Basin next to the Silver Peak mine. It is the premier lithium brine exploration property in North America. We’ve held onto it, it’s a highly sought after property. Our plan in Nevada is to explore first in WA, then come back to Nevada.

Jessica Amir: What’s your cash position and what are your funding requirements?

Shanthar Pathmanathan: We’ve got over about $3 million, as of the last quarterly statement in the bank. We’re well funded for what we need to do over the next 12 months. That will be phase one exploration drilling in WA and elsewhere. In terms of the next funding, we won’t need to do that until we are looking at resource definition drilling at one of our projects.

Jessica Amir: Last question now Shanthar before we let you go. What does the next 12 months look like for the business?

Shanthar Pathmanathan: We’ll be drilling in Western Australia and Botswana. Results will be coming through very soon and all the way through. We expect to be considering resource definition drilling in 12 months from now. And in terms of new opportunities, we’re very active with respect to this and we like what we can see around the corner, for our company. There’s going to be a lot of growth for our company, both through the drill bit and in terms of new opportunities.

Jessica Amir: Shanthar Pathmanathan, thanks so much for the update.

Shanthar Pathmanathan: Thank you Jessica for having me.


Jessica Amir

Finance News Network
Jessica joined FNN in January 2017 after having worked in financial advising for seven years and in TV journalism for seven years, specialising in finance, equities and analysis. She has interviewed former Prime Ministers of Australia, Tony Abbott, Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd and ex Treasurer Jo Hockey. Jessica has worked as a journalist with Sky News Business, ABC 1, ABC's The Business, ABC24 and has also been a regional Channel 7 and 9 TV reporter with Prime7 and Win News.