The Clayton Valley is played out, so says conventional wisdom regarding the Nevada locale where the lithium boom boomed in late 2015. A lot of companies set up shop next to Lithium-X (LIX.V), which ran on its proximity to Albermarle’s existing operation and eventually shifted focus to South America with a nice fat war chest and stock price.
One of the companies that set up camp nearby was former gold explorer Iconic Minerals (ICM.V), and while at first glance one might assume they’re another ‘me too’ play, the little outfit was already banging about in Nevada exploring for gold, and has a few interesting things going for it on the lithium side, one of which appears to have been revealed in leach results released today.
At the 20-mile wide Bonnie Claire lithium property, Iconic has been doing work, and they have reasons to be cheerful. First, Bonnie Claire isn’t in the Clayton Valley, which is bottlenecked with water rights issues, but rather right next door in Nye County, just 60 kms from Albermarle’s Silver Peak Mine. That’s close enough to benefit from infrastructure and geological similarities, but far enough that they have no water rights issues to speak of. In other words, it’s the only Clayton Valley play that doesn’t have the stink of the Clayton Valley.
Leach results released today from their second drill hole showed significant sediment Li ppm, with numbers as high as 580ppm at the top of the sample depth (840 feet down) to 1790ppm at the bottom of the hole, which would indicate the hole should be deeper, because the lithium be plentiful down there.
They’re getting leach recoveries of 83% to 87%, 45% when leaching with dilute acid, and 56% when leaching with distilled water.
Iconic ran these tests because their difference is in their leaching approach, and if distilled water can be used as a leaching agent with decent recovery numbers, this reduces their production costs significantly.
This is a big deal, because Iconic has been cruising along with an element of ‘trust us, we have some tech lined up that we think makes this doable’, to which the market normally responds with an eye roll.
These results make that promise more serious, and the market is paying attention. Stock price is up 18% at the time of writing, to $0.13 and a $9m market cap, which is butt cheap when you consider they have another lithium play, and three gold properties to boot.
The move has also helped the company close its recent financing (at $0.11 per share), news of which came out while I was writing this piece.
From the results news release:
It should be emphasized that these are initial tests using high leachate to sample ratios, and the procedure involves some heating of the solutions. Detailed metallurgy using much larger samples will be conducted to determine the detailed leaching characteristics of the sediments at Bonnie Claire. These larger scale tests have been initiated using McClelland Laboratories, Inc., of Sparks, Nevada.
We started talking about Iconic a few weeks ago, when it was at $0.095, so congrats on the 36.8% profit if you climbed in early. We see the company as a solid Moneyball pick, where the market hasn’t yet identified its value, and believe further results like these will see a big pick up in interest. Personally, I missed the run as I thought it would take a little longer to see results like these, but attention is now firmly gripped on ICM.
— Chris Parry
FULL DISCLOSURE: Iconic Minerals is NOT an Equity.Guru client, but we are happy to discuss solid plays we believe will benefit our readers.