Victory Resources’ (CSE:VR, FWB:VR61, OTC:VRCFF) Smokey lithium project is about 35 km west of Tonopah, Nevada, within the famous Big Smokey Valley that traverses three counties across the state.
Esmeralda County is one of the world’s most prolific regions for lithium clay deposits (Noram, Cypress, American Lithium, Spearmint, Enertopia, Jindalee). These deposits all have proven large tonnages with favorable lithium grades in excess of 900 ppm Li.
The Smokey lithium property lies approximately 35 km north of Clayton Valley, adjacent to and possibly on trend with the Clayton North project (930 ppm) held by Australia’s Jindalee Resources.
Farther away, Noram’s Zeus lithium project (900 ppm) is about 25 km to the southeast, while 35 km to the northeast is American Lithium’s flagship Tonopah Lithium Claims property (1,000 ppm).
In this prolific lithium region, Victory’s Smokey project totals 350 claims covering 7,000 acres with excellent access and relatively flat ground.
The property shares similar geological settings to the Clayton Valley and the many exploration projects nearby. It is located in the Walker Lane trend on the western margin of the Basin and Range provinces.
The property’s geology consists of Miocene – Pliocene tuff deposits, claystones and siliciclastic beds (Esmeralda Formation) with overlying younger alluvium deposits and desert pavement formation. The claystone, which can carry high lithium concentrations, is observed as highly weathered light grey to tan mounds of unconsolidated clay from 0.10m to 1.50m thick.
The flat-lying nature of the claystones, together with the frequent occurrence of transported cover, requires drilling to fully assess the Smokey project’s lithium potential as indicated by last summer’s surface sampling, which returned values up to 630 ppm Li.
Victory’s exploration team has identified several drill targets that will determine whether there is a relationship between its project and the adjacent Jindalee property.
After obtaining a drill permit in December, the company embarked on a 15-hole drill program, with the initial three holes aimed at testing along the Jindalee boundary margins, nearest to the fault line.
The remaining 12 holes will be utilized for locating extensions of the clay mineralization, testing depths of clays and overburden, and ultimately, providing data for resource modeling and follow-up drilling.
The first hole was completed to a depth of 417 feet, and upon visual results, supported management’s theory that the down-dropped clay presents an opportunity to locate the lithium clays “buried at depth”.
These deep deposits are thought to be preserved from surface erosion, which helps to maintain grade and thickness, Victory says.
This week, Victory announced positive results from phase one drilling at Smokey, the highlight being hole 9, which returned up to 1,270 ppm, and key lithium-bearing sections averaging up to 857 ppm.
The company said the drilling also provided valuable information for locating the extent of the deeply buried lithium clays, and has guided additional staking efforts, based on its geological model of the deposit.
“The Victory exploration team has advanced the Smokey Lithium property substantially through the analysis of lab results, and upon those strong results through the additional staking which was conducted for competitive reasons to protect the Company’s interests,” said Victory’s President and CEO Mark Ireton, in the May 31 news release. He added:
“The Company’s exploration team has advanced this property based on its theory that a significant lithium deposit is buried at depth along the adjacent Jindalee boundary margins nearest to the fault line. We want our shareholders to understand that of the three holes, one had impressive lithium values, and the other two provided important information as to the potential location and boundaries of a Li deposit. In total, the drill results from all three holes guided the additional staking so that the Company can continue to define what it believes is a significant lithium deposit buried at depth.”
According to Victory, the initial drill program was designed to look at a wider area of the property, measure the fault’s displacement, and prove lithium deposits in the subsurface.
As mentioned, the best results came from hole 9, which ended in mineralization at 417 feet. You can see from the table below that the grades get better with depth.
Between 325 and 417 feet, lithium values ranged from 240 to 1,270 ppm, and averaged 640 ppm. From 373 to 409 feet, the average lithium value was 857 ppm. The highest sample interval, @ 1,270 ppm, was found at an interval between 377 and 381 feet.
Hole 5 did not encounter significantly enriched lithium, however the hole was still valuable in that it was drilled on the dropped-down side of the northeast-southwest striking fault, which is thought to have displaced the lithium-bearing section deeper than hole 5 reached.
Hole 15 intersected 312 feet of poorly consolidated sands and sandy conglomerates. The hole failed to reach the target zone, which is now believed to occur at deeper levels, again due to the down-dropping nature of the fault.
Beyond the Smokey lithium project, Victory Resources in April acquired the Saguenay nickel project in Quebec, with historical grab samples up to to 3.41% Ni, 1.14% Cu, 1.2 ppm Ag and 0.13% Co. The Saguenay Gneiss Complex has abundant mafic and ultramafic rocks and anorthosites, that are commonly associated with Ni-Cu-PGE sulfide deposits (e.g. Voisey’s Bay, Labrador; Thompson, Manitoba). The presence of ore-grade Ni-Cu samples at surface and in drill core, and the absence of modern exploration, is highly encouraging, states VR.
This was followed on May 3 by the announced acquisition of the Georgia Bay lithium project in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The under-explored property is adjacent to Rock Tech’s Georgia Lake lithium deposit. The surrounding Georgia Lithium District has a proven track record of economic lithium deposits dating back to the 1950’s. Rock Tech is reportedly building a lithium processing facility in Thunder Bay, to be online in early 2024, which with Ontario government help will support mineral processing from other nearby lithium mines.
“Noting the growing global demand for Lithium, and other batter metals, Victory’s exploration team has been actively looking for an Ontario based Lithium property within proven Lithium regions,” CEO Mark Ireton said in the news release. “Georgia Lake Lithium represents such a property, and with the renewed focus from the Government of Ontario, the development of infrastructure is being supported in this prolific Lithium region, allowing us to realize the full potential of any commercially viable deposits within the project.”
Despite covid-related supply chain issues in China, global lithium demand is expected to be resilient this year and beyond. When measured against a tight lithium market, the outlook for the lightweight metal is good, with prices forecast to keep rising.
Nevada and Canada-focused Victory Resources is our top pick in the lithium space.
With well over $600,000 in the bank, Victory has enough to work up its Smokey, Georgia Bay and Saguenay properties — in addition to its Mal-Wen, Lac Simard and Black Diablo projects. Stay tuned for more news.
Victory Resources Corp.
CSE:VR, FWB:VR61, OTC:VRCFF
Shares Outstanding 110.2m
Market cap Cdn$4.4m
Richard (Rick) Mills
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