Lithium is essential for producing lithium-ion batteries — and therefore essential to electrification. Moreover, the battery metal plays a key role in multiple technologies central to sustainability. Analyst expectations indicate that by 2040, we could see lithium demand grow more than 40 times what it is today, especially driven by new legislation intended to increase the supply of critical minerals, such as the Inflation Reduction Act in the United States.
Current lithium production cannot keep pace with this increasing demand. In the near-term, we’re very likely to see a growing lithium deficit, one which may elevate the resource’s price to untold levels. Lithium could prove to be a significant roadblock on the path to a more sustainable future. On the one hand, this is good news for mining companies and the problem is not insurmountable.
In the United States, roughly 87 percent of lithium is sourced from Australia, Chile and China — despite an estimated 7.9 million tons of the battery metal in the US. There is currently only one large-scale lithium mine in the country, and the United States needs more domestic lithium projects to produce batteries and clean technology at scale.
Another challenge not often discussed with regards to lithium supply is sustainability.
It’s all well and good to talk about how lithium will power our transition to a cleaner future, but what of the processes by which it is extracted and refined? Traditional lithium mining typically requires immense volumes of energy and generates considerable waste. Even lithium brine extraction, typically viewed as the more sustainable option, has the potential to cause environmental harm.
The standard approach for lithium brine extraction involves pumping the brine out of the ground then waiting for it to evaporate. Purification requires harsh chemicals and produces waste which may potentially leach into and pollute groundwater. In other words, if we are to truly realize the potential of lithium without causing further harm to the environment, it needs to be both extracted and processed sustainably.
Enter Lancaster Resources (CSE:LCR, OTC:LANRF), a dynamic, small-scale exploration company focused on developing lithium assets in North America, intends to be one of the region’s first climate-positive lithium producers. To achieve this, the company plans to implement a number of innovative technologies and practices, including leveraging solar energy in its production and developing a carbon sequestration process for its operations.
Lancaster will also make full use of direct lithium extraction technology, allowing it to recover the majority of lithium from brine deposits with minimal environmental impact.
Lancaster Resources currently has an option to acquire a 100-percent interest in the Alkali Flat Lithium Project, which will become its flagship. The closed-brine deposit is situated in New Mexico, which many believe is the next frontier for lithium. Notably, Alkali Flat also displays very similar geology to Clayton Valley in Nevada, currently the site of the only producing lithium mine in the country.
This promising initial project is not the only reason to keep an eye on Lancaster Resources — the company also employs a highly experienced and highly respected technical team. Exploration consultant Rodney Blakestad is a geologist with over forty years of experience in mineral exploration, having discovered multiple high-value deposits throughout his career. The esteemed Gary Lohman also sits on the company’s advisory board, providing extensive expertise in geological, geochemical and geophysical exploration techniques.
Lancaster Resources currently plans to acquire a 100-percent interest in Alkali Flat, a lithium brine project which will serve as the company’s flagship. Located in the Animas Valley near the town of Lordsburg, the 233-claim property is also transected by Interstate 10. Historic research and geochemical data indicates the presence of anomalous levels of lithium.
Lancaster plans to evaluate potential direct lithium extraction partners once it has taken and assessed brine samples from the site.
- Promising Geology: Hidalgo County, the region in which Alkali Flat is situated, displays geology nearly identical to Clayton Valley in Nevada, itself a hotbed of lithium mining and exploration.
- Highly Prospective Resource: Recent data on the site shows a range in lithium concentration of 69.6 to 147.8 parts per million in 51 playa sediment samples. Additionally, Arizona Lithium, a major Australian mining company, has staked property immediately north of Alkali Flat. Exploration data released by Arizona Lithium indicates a chargeability anomaly low in the lower right section of its claim.
- Current Exploration Plans: Lancaster intends to define a closed basin brine with a commercially viable lithium deposit. In the near future, it will initiate a drilling program to collect samples of lithium brine throughout the project area.
- Promising at the Outset: Alkali Flat was initially discovered by esteemed geologist Rodney Blakestad, who has an established history of identifying highly prospective lithium targets.
- Favorable Legislation: In addition to being situated in a mining-friendly jurisdiction, Alkali Flat will benefit from the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act. The tax incentives the act provides is set to considerably increase demand for domestically-sourced lithium.
Rodney Blakestad., J.D., C.P.G. — Exploration Consultant
Rodney Blakestad is a highly experienced consulting geologist with a successful career spanning over 40 years. Throughout his career, Blakestad has been involved in the discovery of numerous commercial-grade deposits, including the bulk-tonnage potential of the largest operating gold mine in Alaska (Fort Knox, now at 10M ounces), the first leached-cap porphyry systems discovered in Alaska (Taurus-Bluff and others), Cerro Caliche bulk-tonnage gold discovery near Cucurpe, Sonora, Mexico, the Anderson Mountain and Red Mountain VMS deposits in the Alaska range, USA and numerous volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits (VMS) in the Delta District, Alaska, USA. He has also discovered several gold placers in Alaska, USA.
Blakestad’s expertise in minerals exploration was developed through his university education at the University of Alaska, where he studied advanced geochemistry, with special topical studies on gold geochemistry, the origin and transport of large gold particles and leached outcrop interpretation. Additionally, he has traveled throughout western Canada, the US and Mexico studying alteration facies and leached cap rocks of porphyry systems and some gold deposits to distinguish between barren deposits and mineralized systems.
In addition to his geological expertise, Blakestad has a Juris Doctor from the University of Denver Law School, where he studied natural resources and environmental law. This background has led him to focus on brine lithium deposits that can be processed with minimal surface degradation, water consumption, and use alternatives to fossil fuels for the entire recovery process. Blakestad is a Certified Professional Geologist with the American Institute of Professional Geologists and a registered Professional Geologist in the State of Alaska. He has also been a Board of Director and/or Vice President of Exploration for several publicly traded companies.
Daniel Card, P. GEO, RPGEO — Technical Committee
Danial Card, P.Geo, RPGeo, a professional Geophysicist, holds a BSc. Hons degree from the University of Manitoba and is currently registered in Canada and Australia. His career started with Xstrata (now Glencore) where he worked his way up to Project Geophysicist at Raglan Mine in northern Quebec then went on to serve at Xstrata’s Western Australian operations Cosmos and Sinclair in the Leinstern-Wiluna nickel camp, where he played a key role in the discovery and definition of the 9 MT Odysseus Nickel Sulphide Deposit.
Following his tenure at Xstrata, Card went on to work as Senior Geophysicist for Southern Geoscience Consultants in Perth, WA, where he served as the staff electromagnetics specialist. He also served as the technical lead on many mineral exploration projects. Card continued as a senior technical consultant to Abitibi Geophysics and an expert peer reviewer for the journal “Exploration Geophysics”. He then founded EarthEx, a company specialized in geophysical prospecting, data interpretation, 3D modeling and target definition,
Gary Lohman B.Sc., P. Geo, — Qualified Persons and Advisor
Gary Lohman is one of the founding members of and currently serves as the chief operating officer for both Royal Stewart Resources Corp and Thistle Resources Corp. He also holds the position of vice-president at Nine Mile Metals. With four decades of management experience, Lohman brings a wealth of knowledge in precious and base metal exploration both inside and outside the mining industry.
A graduate of the esteemed Geology Programme at the University of Toronto in 1981, Lohman’s proficiency spans various geological, geochemical and geophysical exploration techniques. He has applied these skills in numerous geological contexts, including Volcanogenic Massive Sulphides (VMS), Porphyry Copper / Molybdenum and Iron Oxide Copper Gold (IOCG) style deposits. His expansive experience extends to conducting evaluations and research on bonanza grade and bulk tonnage gold-silver properties located in Canada, Mexico, California, Ecuador and Chile.
Penny White BA, LLB — President and CEO
Penny White is an accomplished business leader with over 20 years of experience in the capital markets. As the President and CEO of Lancaster Lithium Inc., she brings a wealth of expertise and leadership to the company. White has a diverse background, with experience in sectors such as mining, pharmaceuticals and clean energy. She co-founded a pharmaceutical company that was later acquired for $342 million and was the Chairman of Highbury Energy for 10 years, overseeing the development of the company’s gasification technology and registration of a patent to create high-grade synthetic gas from biomass.
White has been recognized in PROFIT Magazine’s W100 list of top entrepreneurs and has raised over $50 million for companies she has founded. In addition to her Law Degree, Penny has completed the Oxford Leading Sustainable Corporations Programme and the Oxford Climate Emergency Programme from Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. She is deeply committed to fighting climate change and working towards a more sustainable future.
White believes that by taking care of our planet, we can create a better world for ourselves and future generations.
Patrick Cruickshank, MBA, CFA — Advisor
Patrick Cruickshank brings over 20 years of experience from the Wealth Management Sector working for Merrill Lynch, Legg Mason and Citigroup Capital Markets, where he focused on creating and protecting wealth while specializing in funding growth companies. Cruickshank was an NFLPA Advisor from 2000 to 2012, until transitioning into the Private Equity Sector. Since 2012, he has concentrated on acquiring, funding and growing companies in the Energy and Resource Sector.
Cruickshank is the current Chief Executive Officer and Director of Nine Mile Metals Limited. (CSE:NINE). He also serves on a number of private resource companies and is a frequent speaker/interviewee on the resource sector investment space, in Australia, Chile, Canada and the USA.
Cruickshank is a former Canadian Olympic/U23 soccer player, US NCAA Division 1 Collegiate player and coach. He received his MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University in 1989
Heather Williamson — Director, VP Corporate Finance and Corporate Secretary
Heather Williamson is a seasoned finance and legal professional with over 20 years of experience in the industry. She has worked as a paralegal and in corporate finance for several public companies, including Boston Pizza International Inc. and Angiotech Pharmaceuticals Inc. Williamson’s expertise in finance and the legal industry is demonstrated by her successful completion of over $10 million in financing for a public company, including spearheading all aspects of an initial public offering and successful listing on the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE).
She is well-versed in finance closings, IPOs and compliance with securities and stock exchange regulations. In addition to her extensive experience, Williamson is currently working towards her MBA at Royal Roads University. She currently serves as the Director and Vice President of Corporate Finance for Lancaster Lithium Inc., where she leads the company’s corporate and securities compliance strategy.
Andrew Watson – Vice-president of Engineering and Operations
Andrew Watson brings with him 21 years of rich technical leadership, operations, corporate strategy, and commercialization experience in lithium, hydrogen, and conventional oil and gas production. Watson’s experience includes working at Prism Diversified, as chief operating officer, to lead the technical development on two substantial battery metal critical mineral opportunities. While at Prism Diversified, Watson is spearheading the lithium brine development opportunities on over 850 square miles of highly prospective brine resource. His previous positions include VP engineering and operations at CleanInnoGen Energy, where he led the development of the world’s first-of-a-kind pilot project to capture industrial waste heat to produce on-site, low-cost, near-zero emission hydrogen and oxygen. Prior to this, as the VP of engineering and operations at Hyak Energy, he managed the operations of a 60MMbbl medium crude oil field in SW Saskatchewan, using an Alkali-Surfactant-Polymer chemical enhanced oil recovery scheme, increased production by over 250 percent, and spearheaded corporate sale leading to a successful divestment in January 2020.
William “Bill” Feyerabend – Advisor and Qualified Person
William Feyerabend brings with him a vast wealth of experience in the exploration and development of Lithium projects across the American West, Mexico, and South America. He has authored technical reports for claim blocks in Nevada’s Lithium development epi-center, including the Clayton and Fish Lake Valleys. His expertise in lithium exploration began in 2015, with a specific focus on Esmeralda County, NV and especially Clayton Valley. Notably, Feyerabend set the discovery well for Pure Energy.
Feyerabend has extensive experience in generating lithium brine targets, and serving as a Qualified Person for lithium projects in Nevada, California, Utah, and Argentina. He has had roles with major companies such as US Borax and Gold Fields Mining and played a part in the discovery and development of four significant mineral projects. His international exposure is equally extensive, having worked on projects in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, China, Colombia, Ghana, Guyana, Mexico, Peru, Saudi Arabia, United States, and Venezuela. This wealth of international experience will prove invaluable as Lancaster Resources continues to expand and enhance its operations.
Mohammad Asefi – Technical Committee
Mohammad Asefi received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in antennas and microwave engineering from the American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, in 2009 and 2011 respectively, and his PhD in electrical and computer engineering in 2016 from the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada. From 2016 to 2017 he was a postdoctoral fellow at the electromagnetic imaging laboratory at the University of Manitoba. He was the director of research at 151 Research Inc. between 2017 and 2020 with the focus on biomedical imaging, stored grain monitoring using electromagnetic waves, and development of electromagnetic imaging systems, and near-field measurements. He was the product development manager (Advanced Research) at Agco Winnipeg between 2020 and 2023 with the focus on the research and development of electromagnetic imaging systems/techniques for monitoring grain bins. And he is currently the CTO of EarthEx Geophysical Solutions where he works on cutting edge technologies for drone based magnetic and electromagnetic data acquisition and analysis systems.