Echo Resources and the Julius Gold Project
Echo Resources Limited, the Western Australian exploration company, has announced that it has been granted a mining lease for its Julius Gold Deposit from the Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP).
The lease comes following the completion of a number of requirements from Echo, including the signing of Land Access Native Title Agreement and State Deed with Tarlka Matua Piarku (Aboriginal Corporation) on behalf of the Wiluna Native Title Holders and Echo in Wiluna in December 2016.
But what do we know about Echo Resources and the Julius Gold Project?
The Julius Gold Project
Part of the Yandal Gold Project, which is located in the northern part of the Eastern Goldfields and consists of the Julius Gold Project and the Zaphid Prospect.
The main focus of the overall Yandal Gold Project, is on progressing the Julius Gold Project towards near term production and is actively working towards completing a Bankable Feasibility Study by the end of 2016.
Echo’s Julius Gold Discovery (Julius) is a virgin find under unmineralised cover, located in one of Australia’s most significant gold exploration and mining regions.
It is located near the town of Wiluna.
Julius hosts a gold resource of 197,621 ounces grading 2.08g/t Au.
Echo anticipates potential first production from Julius commencing in mid-2017, with the a Bankable Feasibility Study nearing completion and expected to be released in the coming weeks.
Echo Resources is a gold exploration business with a large and highly prospective ground position in the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia.
The company is headed up by Barry Bolitho (Chairman), Simon Coxhell (Managing Director & CE) and Anthony Mcintosh (Non-Executive Director). Between them they have over 40 years’ worth of mining experience in commissioning and management of a number of mining operations, both in WA and internationally.
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British Lithium Pressured Due To Calls for Electric Cars
The British demand for lithium is set to reach 75,000 tonnes by 2035 as the government works towards their ban on the sale of high-polluting diesel and petrol vehicles within the UK. This comes as automakers worldwide continue to insist on the benefits electric vehicles will have on slowing the rate of climate change.
It is estimated that the UK will require 50,000-60,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year by 2035 for battery production to satisfy government needs. This is assuming production remains at 1.2 million vehicles per year, and the amount of lithium required does not increase.
British Lithium, which hopes to begin constructing a quarry to produce 20,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year in a $400 million investment, are not without competitors, both within the UK and abroad.
Competition For Lithium Rises In Europe
After only five years after its initial launch, Cornish Lithium is setting its sights on becoming a UK powerhouse in mining lithium, aiming to begin commercial production in under four years. Jeremy Wrathall, a former investment banker and current managing director of Cornish Lithium, had the future in mind when founding the company.
“In 2016, I started to think about the electric vehicle revolution and what that would mean for metal demand, and I started to think about lithium,” he said in an interview with AFP. “A friend of mine mentioned lithium being identified in Cornwall, and I just wondered if that was a sort of unrecognised thing in the UK.”
Lithium was first discovered in Cornwall around 1864 and has not been mined again since 1914 when it was produced as an ingredient in fireworks. Now, however, Cornish Lithium is reportedly in the testing stage to see if the metal can be produced commercially to meet the growing demand required for the electric car sector.
Despite Cornwall’s close historic ties to mining lithium, Wrathall insists that the project is purely commercial.
Cornish Mining Revival For Lithium Production
“It’s not a mission that drives me to the point of being emotional or romantic,” he says. “It’s vitally important that we do get this technology otherwise Europe has got no lithium supply.”
The European Commission has also stated their goal to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035 to aid the environment. That being said, the majority of lithium extraction currently relies on power provided by environmentally damaging fossil fuels─a slight contradiction.
Alex Keynes, from the Brussels-based lobby group Transport & Environment, is adamant that mining for lithium should be done sustainably.
“Our view is that medium-to-long term, the majority of materials including lithium should come from efficient and clean recycling.
“Europe from a strategic point of view should be looking at securing its own supply of lithium.”
Despite growing competition from abroad, British Lithium Chairman, Roderick Smith, continues to place importance on the mining of lithium within the UK.
“Imagine what the UK economy would look like if we lost our automotive industry,” Smith says. “The stakes are high for the UK.”
Smith expects the UK to compete with other European countries to secure a lithium battery plant in the near future.