Imagine Lithium Inc. (TSXV:ILI) is focused on its 100-percent-owned Jackpot Lithium Project in Ontario. The Canadian-based junior explorer has a team assembled for an ongoing drill program on Jackpot.
Here to give us the details on its flagship project from its strategic location to its economic potential is JC St-Amour, president and CEO of Imagine Lithium.
The Market Herald: Located 150 kilometres from the port of Thunder Bay and in proximity to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway – talk about the strategic location and how that fits into your plan with Jackpot.
St-Amour: Jackpot is located about 40 kilometres north of the town of Nipigon in Ontario, right along Highway 11, which is the TransCanada highway in the area. We’re very close to infrastructure, we are within 12 kilometers of the paved highway. We can also drive right to the project with a pickup truck, so we have easy access to the project.
There is power nearby as well, power lines running right along Highway 11 and along a forestry road that comes even closer to the project. There’s a railroad going through to Nipigon along Highway 17 not far away. There is a port at Red Rock, which is about 60 kilometres away from the project, which is a Brownfield site that someone is looking to potentially put into operation again.
Then there’s the town of Thunder Bay that has a longstanding port from which we can ship to pretty much anywhere in the world. From an infrastructure perspective, everything you need is there and it’s close by. And unlike a lot of other lithium projects in Canada, it’s not going to cost us hundreds of millions of dollars just to access the project. It’s very good; the location provides better economics on a project, just given the fact that we don’t have to build as much for infrastructure.
TMH: What about the gigafactories planned for Southern Ontario and the possible lithium hydroxide plant?
St-Amour: I’m aware of at least a couple. There’s one planned for Windsor to be built by Stellantis and LG Energy Solutions. There is also another factory, a battery factory to be built by Volkswagen in St. Thomas, Ontario. These projects are going to need some feed and they’re going to be looking to Canada and Ontario specifically to help feed the plants. That means we might be able to, or we should be able to, produce and deliver lithium to these places without ever actually leaving the province.
This is actually all good news. The companies can have basically a supply chain all the way from mining to the car without ever leaving the province. From that perspective, I think everything you need is coming into place for operations within Canada and within Ontario specifically.
TMH: What is intriguing about the infrastructure of this project?
St-Amour: The fact that we’re close to the infrastructure and that it’s readily accessible. It means that our project can work even probably now. We’re still at the exploration phase and we’re still growing and trying to figure out how big the project is, but just given the size that we already know, we’re pretty confident that it is an economic project, partly because of the infrastructure being so close. We can make projects work that don’t have to be multiple tens of millions of tons like other projects in the province, or in Canada for that matter. We believe our project is already economic. It’s already sort of on the scale that is similar to, our neighbours that already have a positive economic study on their project, so we’re fairly confident that our location and the type of project we have is going to be an economic one and one that can go into production in the coming years.
TMH: You have assembled a team of people – what is the biggest asset they will bring to the project?
St-Amour: Right now, the team is focused on exploring. We’re conducting a drill program at this time. We have two drills on the Jackpot main zone right now. We’re also testing other exploration targets in proximity to the Jackpot main zone. Then we have multiple teams of geologists actually doing some prospecting and sampling on the broader property. That is to basically identify other targets beyond the Jackpot main zone that could come into the overall project, with multiple deposits all feeding one central operation, for example.
We have a very large land area on that project and so we’re trying to cover as much of it as we can this summer and get as many drill targets as we can so that we can drill those from now until next year, basically nonstop. That is the plan, and our plan is to basically continue to explore and find more deposits as we go from here.
TMH: Let’s do a quick dive into the history of drill programs … starting in 2018 to your summer 2023 program – what are you finding and how is that informing your next steps and bottom line?
St-Amour: The 2018 program was the first one since the 1950s and 1960s. That’s when the historical resource of 2 million tons was identified and the 2018 program basically proved that it exists and it is there. Last year’s program expanded upon that. We expanded the strike length of the deposit by at least 400 metres, which effectively doubled the size of it and this year we’re planning on doing more of the same.
We’re going to continue to drill towards the east, where the limits haven’t been found yet. There is potential to expand in the west as well and also down dip. The Jackpot main zone is still growing and we’re showing that as we drill and then we’re also going to be drilling these other targets as I mentioned. We’ve drilled some already and we’re expecting some results in the coming weeks. Between the exploration that we’re doing at the prospecting levels, target identification level and drilling, we will be testing multiple targets here to see if we can find other or any potentially even bigger deposits on the property
TMH: From your forecasting and findings, what is the economic potential of Jackpot? Is it a “jackpot”?
St-Amour: The infrastructure being where it is and the size of the project and the fact that the project is near surface, which can be mined as an open pit, I think all of these things combined show that this project can be economic and actually probably is economic. I know our neighbors have put out a positive economic study, and so we know that that project can work. I believe that we have the same size potential and potentially even bigger size potential in terms of our project and we also are closer to surface than they are in many cases. I think we can have better economics on our projects. I think as we drill here over the next year or so, we’re going to be expanding what we already have. We’re going to be moving towards economic studies and we’ll be showing that a much larger resource exists than what we see historically with positive economic results at the same time.
TMH: What are your next steps and what would you like investors to know about Imagine Lithium?
St-Amour: We’re working hard. There’s a lot of drilling happening right now and exploration. Look out for news in the coming weeks and months on some drill results on the targets that we’re going after and I think overall the market that we’re in, we’re potentially also a target for other companies as well. There’s multiple ways again, to create value on this company and we’ll be looking at all avenues, on ways to create value for our shareholders.
For more information on Imagine Lithium visit imaginelithium.com.
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