- A new lithium exploration project in the Western United States could prove out one of the largest lithium aquifers globally according to recent expert comments. This region is already attracting bigger funders, and demand for lithium isn't going away.
- Exploratory drilling results from an up-and-coming company called Oroplata Resrouces (ORRP) in the coming months could prove whether this region is as big as some experts believe. With a $13 million market capitalization, ORRP could see a major move as these results approach, and 2018 could prove a breakout year for the small company.
NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / May 22, 2018 / LithiumOre, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Oroplata Resources, Inc. (ORRP), may have stumbled on one of the largest lithium deposits in the world according to the company's drilling and exploration partner.
Demand is increasing for lithium, thanks mostly to electric vehicles hitting the roads in larger numbers every year. The so-called ''Lithium Triangle'' in South America has for many years provided most of the lithium needed for battery production, but new sources are being sought. Tesla's (TSLA) Gigafactory is being constructed in Nevada, not far from the only operating lithium mine and reservoir in the United States at Clayton Valley.
But that could be about to change as a new reservoir may be discovered in the same state; Railroad Valley could be the next hotbed of lithium mining, and it could be one of the largest deposits globally.
In a recent video interview with Oroplata's (ORRP) drilling and exploration partner 3PL Operating, CEO Ramirez explained how this aquifer could prove to be the largest in the world based on old data from oil drilling. If that's the case, ''sitting on a lithium mine'' could be the new ''sitting on a gold mine'', and undiscovered ORRP could be poised for major gains as the first lithium exploration results from the company's first drilling efforts come out in the coming months.
Lithium Demand Continues Increasing, New Supply Will Get Snapped Up
Lithium is powering most batteries these days, a transition that occurred over the last 10-20 years as lithium is the lightest of all metals, giving it a portability advantage, and it has the highest electrochemical potential of all metals. In essence, it's the perfect mineral to fill the growing demand for portable energy in the form of batteries.
Global cell phone use is, of course, contributing to battery and lithium demand, but the real driver in the coming 5-10 years will be electric vehicles (EVs). According to a survey from the bank UBS last year, one in six cars sold in the world by 2025 will run on electricity, or 16% of all cars. Total new vehicle sales that year are projected to rise to 120 million. That could mean 19 to 30 million electric vehicles requiring huge batteries. In 2017, only 199,000 electric vehicles were sold in the United States according to InsideEVs.
This could mean a HUGE spike in battery and lithium demand is around the corner. UBS predicts lithium needs will triple by 2025 in parallel to EV production.
Oroplata's Railroad Valley Project Could Be Huge According To Exploration Expert
Most of the mineable lithium on earth today, nearly 90% according to the US Geological Survey, is found in salty brine lakes underground. The other 10% or so is contained in hard rock mineral deposits, which are hard and expensive to mine. Lithium brines, despite a long evaporation process, are by far the preferred method of lithium mining and refinement.
The largest lithium deposits are found in the Lithium Triangle of South America, where more than half of the lithium produced in 2015 originated. This region is controlled mostly by the governments of Chile, Argentina and Bolivia, and by three major lithium producers: Albemarle (ALB), Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (SQM) and FMC (FMC).
That could be changing. New potential lithium brine aquifers are being discovered, and one of the most promising locations is just being explored and mined in Nevada.
LithiumOre, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the public company Oroplata Resources, Inc. (ORRP), is about to begin drilling in the coveted Railroad Valley, a large topographically closed playa (a dry Salt Lake bed) basin located in East-Central Nevada. This region closely matches the geologic criteria for the United States Geological Survey deposit model for Clayton Valley, a region just over 100 miles away that's home to the first producing lithium mine in the U.S., the Silver Peak mine, owned by Albemarle (ALB).
Oroplata has rights to 260 accepted lithium mineral claims, totaling 5,200 acres, making them one of the larger operators in the region.
ORRP has partnered with the respected 3PL Group for initial exploratory drilling, and three drills sites will be underway before the end of June. Amazingly, a recent interview with the CEO of 3PL, which also has mining claims in the region, indicated that the existing exploration results from this region suggest that this could be even bigger than any other lithium aquifers in the world.
According to 3PL CEO Ramirez, old results from 300 oil drilling wells suggest this brine aquifer could be significantly bigger than that at Clayton Valley; both deeper and larger. Now, they just need to discern how much lithium is in this salty brine - throughout the world, salty brines contain lithium, the question is just how much.
ORRP Could Move Higher As Exploration Gets Underway
ORRP is getting increased investor attention as the Railroad Valley project gets underway, and the stock could see continued traction with drilling imminent. The drilling program is scheduled to initially drill three holes to a depth of 3,300 feet each, collecting brine samples at intervals along the way.
Oroplata is comparable to a junior miner, with major potential upside if the right lithium concentrations can be found, and with the right partnerships in place. But risks exist, and this is a micro-cap stock for a reason - it could also be worth nothing without proper execution and financing.
Small-cap energy equities are known for rapid moves, like those from Westmoreland Resource Partners, LP (WMLP) and VAALCO Energy, Inc. (EGY) recently. With mineral results in hand, ORRP could be on their way to some very compelling partnerships or commercial plans in the second half of 2018. This $13 million market capitalization may not last long, and ORRP could be set for new highs in 2018.
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