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Si6 expands Brazilian lithium, rare earths portfolio

Updated: Apr 18

Si6 Metals has entered Brazil’s “Lithium Valley”. Credit: File

Perth-based explorer Si6 Metals has moved to acquire about 178 square kilometres of tier-one Brazilian rare earths and lithium ground in the Jequitinhonha Valley – which is fast becoming known as “Lithium Valley”.

The company has completed its due diligence on the proposal and says it will proceed with the acquisition of a portfolio of 10 tenements in partnership with the ground’s owner, Foxfire Metals, subject to shareholder approval and independent expert review.

Within the next fortnight, Si6 and Melbourne-based Foxfire will negotiate and document the formal terms of their joint venture. Si6 says it will hold a general meeting to seek shareholder approval for the deal, in addition to kicking off the independent expert review.

The newly-acquired tenements make up four project areas stretching across three Brazilian States known globally as being prospective for lithium, rare earths, gold, base metals and platinum group elements.

"This portfolio of tenements enhances Si6’s portfolio of supply-critical metals which now encompasses Lithium, REE’s, Nickel, Copper, Cobalt as well as gold across Brazil, Botswana and Australia. We believe that we are focused on the right commodities in the right places in the green tech/ electric vehicle (EV) industry. Our geographical diversity has landed us in some of the most in-demand jurisdictions in the world and decreases our project risk to provide us with a strong chance of success. By partnering up with Foxfire, Si6 will also inherit an experienced and skilled team that has been in Brazil for over 10 years and brings significant on-ground experience and expertise". Si6 Metals executive director Jim Malone

The Brazilian State of Minas Gerais contains the biggest lithium reserves in that county, mostly within the Jequitinhonha Valley area where Si6 will establish a stronghold. Four of Si6’s new tenements will sit in the valley, within the eastern Brazilian pegmatite province.

Significant lithium discoveries have been made in the area, including Canadian company Sigma Lithium’s massive Grota do Cirilo lithium project, reported to contain a mineral resource of 85.6 million tonnes at 1.43 per cent lithium oxide. Grota do Cirilo is believed to be among the biggest and highest-grade hard rock lithium deposits on the planet, with excellent metallurgy and low impurities.

Upon full production, Sigma has modelled a 766,000 tonnes per year output, which will place it among the top five lithium producers in the world. It shipped its first battery-grade lithium concentrate from Grota do Cirilo to the market in May.

United States-based Atlas Lithium is also active in the area, with its flagship project within 57 mineral rights spread over 238sq km. Atlas continues to actively explore the area and says it has seen drill intercepts as high as 4.4 per cent lithium oxide over 0.55m from 60m. Composite grade from Atlas’ drilling efforts was 1.53 per cent lithium oxide, occurring mainly as spodumene.

Latin Resources is another company exploring the area, with eight rigs drilling 65km of hole in work aimed at increasing the company’s indicated mineral resource at its Colina deposit, which currently stands at 13.2 million tonnes at 1.20 per cent lithium oxide.

In June last year, Lithium Ionic revealed a maiden inferred mineral resource estimate on its Itinga lithium project in Minas Gerais of 11.86 million tonnes grading 1.44 per cent lithium oxide.

Two of Si6’s newly-acquired tenements will sit in the South Minas Gerais Caldera area neighbouring Meteoric Resources’ recently-announced mineral resource estimate of 409 million tonnes going 2626 parts per million total rare earths oxide (TREO) at a 1000ppm cut off. It is referred to as “the world’s highest-grade ionic adsorption clay rare earths discovery”.

The Meteoric deposit sits along the structural contact zone of the Caldera intrusive, which may facilitate the migration of rare earths–bearing fluids and is a high-priority regional follow-up area, suggesting it may house more paydirt.

Another two of the Si6 tenements will be to the north–east in the Ceará Pedra Brancha in the Borborema Structural Province in Ceará State. The project areas sit adjacent to ValOre Metals’ inferred mineral resource estimate of 2.2 million ounces of palladium, in addition to platinum and gold in 63.6 million tonnes of ore grading 1.08g/t.

Several of the mineralised zones remain wide open for expansion in future drill programs and the company has more than 20 exploration targets and several additional untested anomalies throughout the district.

One piece of Si6 ground will be in a vastly underexplored 40-sq-km patch of the Southern Amazon, near the town of Apuí – known locally for historical gold mining and the site of a gold rush on the Juma River in 2007. A reverse-circulation (RC) test hole drilled there by Foxfire to 88m returned anomalous rare earths mineralisation from surface to the end-of-hole.

Although reasonably unexplored, the Amazon tenement is only about 15km from Apuí, where excellent infrastructure can support operations including direct access to the highway, a commercial airport and a river port.

Brazil overhauled its lithium industry last year, with former president Jair Bolsonaro’s government making it more attractive to foreign investors, notably by lifting export restrictions.

His successor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has not broken with that policy to date. In fact, his administration sent the Governor of Minas Gerais and the country’s Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy to the NASDAQ opening bell ceremony in New York in May this year to celebrate the launch of “Lithium Valley Brazil”.

While Si6 has been busy posturing to try and bolster its exploration portfolio in Brazil, the company already has two major projects on its books – one nickel–sulphide deposit in Botswana and one in Western Australia.

The company’s Maibele project in Botswana has an inferred resource of 2.38 million tonnes going 0.72 per cent nickel and 0.21 per cent copper, with 0.10g/t gold, 0.08g/t platinum, 0.36g/t palladium, 0.04g/t rhodium and 0.05g/t ruthenium.

The company’s wholly–owned Monument project near Laverton in WA’s Goldfields region contains 3.3 million tonnes grading 1.40g/t gold for a 154,000-ounce resource.

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