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Podcast: Aldo Boitano, CEO of CleanTech Lithium

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This week we speak to Aldo Boitano, CEO of CleanTech Lithium [LON:CTL], about his company’s rapidly evolving lithium project in Chile. This is a company we have been following for some time now, as we are interested in a market which is seeing growing demand for its end product, but where the number of robust suppliers is fairly limited.

Lithium is one of the few areas of the mining industry this year which has been creating a growing sense of excitement among investors. Lithium prices charted a new all-time high of close to $75,000 a tonne last month, according to Benchmark Intelligence. This reflects the real squeeze in lithium which EV makers are facing right now. This also places a considerable premium on new lithium projects.

Shares in CleanTech Lithium are up over 90% on where they were six months ago. This comes as the company continues to expand on its estimates as to the size of the lithium resource it has in Chile.

The company had to issue a number of price monitoring extensions as the shares soared following its revised estimates. Its two main projects are both looking much more lucrative than they were even six months ago.

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CleanTech Lithium upgraded its JORC resource estimate of 1.51 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent at its Laguna Verde site in September. This was at a grade of 206mg/L lithium, with the majority of the resource upgraded from Inferred to the higher confidence categories of Measured and Indicated.

Laguna Verde and Francisco Basin

The upgraded resource estimate provides the basis for undertaking a pre-feasibility study at Laguna Verde, planned to commence 4Q 2022, as the lithium miner continues to develop its projects towards producing carbon neutral lithium for the EV market (important as this sustains its appeal for EU auto makers). The PFS is expected to evaluate a base case production rate of 20,000 tonnes per annum of battery grade lithium, with the resource of 1.51 million tonnes LCE providing the basis for a >30-year operation.

But let’s not forget about the new Francisco Basin project, which is looking similarly exciting. This is a maiden resource lithium discovery which the company made in early October. The maiden JORC Inferred resource estimate was 0.53 million tonnes lithium carbonate equivalent at a grade of 305mg/L. CleanTech Lithium made the estimate based on the first well (FB01) completed before the Chilean winter break of a four well resource drill programme.

The FB01 drill encountered a brine aquifer from 99m to 311m, an aquifer thickness of 212m starting from relatively shallow depths. A total of 34 brine samples were collected from regular intervals with a peak lithium grade of 324 mg/L and an average grade of 305mg/L. Needless to say, this had a considerable impact on the share price and has sparked considerable interest in the investment community.

Aldo is an expert on Chile’s clean energy sector, having been one of the pioneers in the country’s solar industry, with over 800 MW worth of solar projects under his belt. This is especially important when it comes to CleanTech Lithium, as the company is relying on solar power as part of its sustainable lithium generation plans.

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This article does not constitute investment advice. Do your own research or consult a professional advisor.

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