Ortac Resources Begins Gold Mining at Slovakia Site after 20-Year Break
UK-listed exploration and development company Ortac Resources has commenced underground gold mining at its Šturec deposit in Slovakia after a 20-year period of dormancy at the site.
Extracted ore will be used for further test work, which will help determine the longer term development of the mine, located in the Kremnicko region in the centre of the country.
The deposit is said to contain ore reserves of 1.32 million ounces (oz) of gold equivalent, with a feasibility study estimating 787 koz of recoverable gold at an annual production rate of 70,000 oz costing $600 per ounce.
Vassilios Carellas, Ortac CEO, said: "The recommencement of mining at Šturec is an important milestone in the development of the project. Having satisfied the technical and legal requirements of the mining license area, we will continue to focus on the engagement process.
"Throughout this process we will work towards the development of win-win solutions connected with the resources at Šturec.
"We are confident that the sustainable development of Šturec can exceed the highest applicable standards and has the potential of achieving successful outcomes for Ortac and the Kremnicko region. We believe that this project will act as a beacon for the development of natural resources projects elsewhere."
The project area is easily accessed from the international airports at Vienna and Bratislava by driving northeast along the newly constructed highway between Bratislava and Banská Bystrica. The Šturec Project comprises two licence areas: the Kremnica Mining Licence, with an area of 11.8km2, and the Lutila Exploration Licence with an area of 63.2km2.
For more information on please see: http://www.ortacresources.com/operations-detail/660443-turec-project
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.