LCME (ASX:LI3) talks hard rock lithium


by Jessica Amir

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

Jessica Amir: Hello I’m Jessica Amir for the Finance News Network. Joining us now from Lithium Consolidated Mineral Exploration Limited (ASX:LI3) is CEO, Shanthar Pathmanathan.

Hi Shanthar, welcome back and thanks so much for joining us while you’re in South Africa.

Shanthar Pathmanathan: Thank you Jessica, thank you for having me again and good to talk to you.

Jessica Amir: First up, can you just remind our audience about your exploration portfolio and your focus?

Shanthar Pathmanathan: Our exploration portfolio has changed dramatically since we last spoke. So in the middle of last year, the Board decided to commence a process to identify potentially tier one assets. That process led us to Mozambique and Zimbabwe. We believe now that Mozambique and Zimbabwe are two of the most significant hard rock lithium regions, in the world. And indeed, we think Africa will dominate hard rock lithium supply in the future, much like the Middle East does in oil.

We’ve executed on securing some high quality assets, firstly in Zimbabwe and soon-to-be announced in Mozambique. The exploration and lithium resource potential in Zimbabwe and Mozambique is comparable to the Pilbara, 10 years or so ago. The focus Jessica, for our company is now very much African lithium and in particular, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. We’re looking forward to securing more assets and eventually controlling the lithium pegmatite corridor, through both countries. And so we think we’re now very well positioned, unlike any other ASX lithium company.

Jessica Amir: You’ve just secured new exploration licences in Zimbabwe, congratulations. But just tell us more, starting with where they’re located, the size, and their mineralisation?

Shanthar Pathmanathan: We’ve secured seven assets in Zimbabwe, in the Mutare Greenstone Belt. This is one of five key tantalite, historical tantalite-mining districts in Zimbabwe. It is located on the border between Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The special advantage of this particular district, tantalite district is that it has flat lying pegmatites, which are generally more suited to open pit mining. As opposed to the other tantalite districts, which tend to have steeply dipping pegmatites.

We have specifically gone after flat lying pegmatites, knowing that these’ll be the first to be developed as open pit mines, globally. The other advantage with these assets is that they’re very close to infrastructure. They’re about 70 kilometres from the Mutare Railhead, which is connected to the port of Beira in Mozambique.

Jessica Amir: What can you tell us about the historical workings?

Shanthar Pathmanathan: The historical workings in these pegmatites are the genesis of the seven assets. The seven assets and licences are essentially over abandoned mines, abandoned tantalite mines, which means we know the mineralisation is there. It is a very special advantage that we have with these assets. The assets have been reviewed, investigated and verified by Dr Douglas Haynes, who is our leading geologist. Dr Douglas Haynes was previously the chief geologist at BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) for a very long time, and before that at Western Mining Corporation as a chief scientist. He is one of the leading geologists in the world.

Jessica Amir: What’s planned Shanthar?

Shanthar Pathmanathan: What we’ll be doing first is a geochemical program, this’ll take roughly three to four months. And we will be basically taking rock chip samples and other surface samples, to understand the geochemistry. This will then be followed by phase one drilling program, from Q4 this year. And it is likely that we will be continuously drilling in Zimbabwe and Mozambique, from Q4 onwards.

Jessica Amir: Turning the page now to finances Shanthar. What are you budgeting for exploration over the second half, and are you fully funded?

Shanthar Pathmanathan: We’re going to take the exploration work on these assets in stages. We recently received $400,000 back as a repayment of a loan, from the vendor of our Nevada property. So that has bolstered our cash position, which is currently at about AUD$1.9 million as at 30 June 2018. We have since announcing our African lithium assets, received a lot of interest from our shareholders, significant support, significant interest in funding the company in the future. We have or don’t feel a need, to seek further funding in the short term.

Jessica Amir: Lastly Shanthar now, just before we let you go. Why should investors consider adding LCME to their portfolio?

Shanthar Pathmanathan: We think Africa as a whole will dominate hard rock lithium supply. Our goal is to have a material and potentially controlling share, in the African lithium industry in the future. What we’ve done since the middle of 2017 is identify what we believe to be, potentially tier one opportunities. And we’ve gone about executing on securing these assets. We’re now among four ASX companies in Zimbabwe lithium and we’re now the only lithium company, listed lithium company, in Mozambique.

Jessica Amir: Shanthar Pathmanathan, congratulations again on the progress and thanks for the update.

Shanthar Pathmanathan: Jessica, thank you for having me again, pleasure to talk to you.