Not All Lithiums Are Created Equal
Lithium is helping rejuvenate many otherwise moribund mining investment propositions but the investment significance of each of the most recent finds needs to be viewed within a geological context. The large, massive bodies which have underpinned historical hard rock lithium, tantalum and related mineral production and which have arisen from an earlier exploration era reflect a different geological heritage that cannot be extrapolated into the most recent finds. Tanco in Manitoba was a 1920s discovery. Greenbushes was found in 1881. The Mount Cattlin deposit, on which the production of General Mining and Galaxy Resources is based, was first noted in 1900. These deposits are visibly different to those most typically being highlighted today. Despite the apparent frequency of hard rock lithium opportunities, many of the most recent discoveries are unlikely to have the appropriate mineralogical characteristics or scale to warrant the necessary exploration and resource definition expenditure. These smaller accumulations reflect a different metal endowment and rock age to the larger and more economic systems possibly contributing to future investor disappointment whatever the state of the lithium market.
John Robertson is Chief Investment Strategist for PortfolioDirect a provider of resource sector investment stock ratings and portfolio strategies for mining and oil and gas investors. He has worked as a policy economist, corporate business...
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