CALGARY, ALBERTA -- (Marketwire) -- 03/22/13 -- BACANORA MINERALS LTD. (TSX VENTURE: BCN) ("Bacanora" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that field work has commenced on the El Sauz and Fleur lithium concessions that form part of the Sonora Lithium Project in northern Mexico. The Company has provided Rare Earth Minerals PLC (AIM listed) with an option to earn up to a 49.9% interest in the two concessions by making cash payments to Bacanora and funding exploration (see news release dated February 14, 2013).
The first phase of exploration will consist of geological mapping and surface rock sampling focusing on the El Sauz concession, where sampling by Bacanora located lithium-bearing clays units that averaged 5,537 ppm Li (2.95% LCE(i)) over a true thickness of 4.5 metre sampled interval at one location. The objective of the program currently underway is to fully delineate the extent of the lithium-bearing sediments on the concessions and determine the lithium contents of exposed clay units. It is estimated that approximately 230 samples will be collected during this phase which will be completed by the end of March, with analytical results to follow in early April. The results of the program will be used to plan an extensive diamond drilling program to test the down dip potential of the lithium surface showings on the concessions. It is anticipated that drilling will commence in late April or early May. In conjunction with the drilling program geological mapping and rock sampling will be on going on the adjacent Fleur concession.
About the Sonora Lithium Project:
The Company's interests in El Sauz and Fleur concessions cover 3,411 hectares out of a total of 5,786 contiguous hectares that make up the Sonora Lithium Project owned by Bacanora.
Initial rock sampling and mapping of the Project by Bacanora located the lithium-bearing clay units within a sedimentary-volcanic sequence. Drilling by Bacanora in 2010 and 2011 located two lithium-bearing clay units (upper and lower) that average 41 and 22 m in thickness, respectively, and that are separated by an ignimbrite unit varying from 1 to 45 m in thickness. The sedimentary-volcanic sequence dips at approximately 20 degrees to the east and crops out along 3.5 km of strike length. The exposures are in erosional windows looking through overlying basalt that covers much of the area. The lithium-bearing clay minerals have been identified as hectorite and polylithionite.
Within the Project area on the La Ventana concession that is 100% owned by Bacanora and adjoins the ground under option to REM, NI 43-101 compliant inferred resources have been estimated for two clay units (referred to as the "La Ventana Lithium Deposit"). The inferred resources for the two clay units total 60 million tonnes averaging 3,000 ppm Li (equivalent to 1.6% lithium carbonate assuming 100% recovery and no process losses). Bacanora has used the inferred resources on La Ventana for a Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") of the concession (refer to Bacanora news release dated January 25, 2013). Highlights of the PEA for a potential lithium mining and production operation with an output of 35,000 tonnes battery grade lithium carbonate per annum over a 20 year open pit mine life suggest annual revenue of $US210 million for an Internal Rate of Return ("IRR") of 138%, with a 1.9 year pay back. Capital costs are estimated at $US114 million and average operating costs at $US1,958/tonne. Net present value ("NPV") of the Project, discounted at 8%, is $US848 million, assuming an average lithium carbonate price of $US6,000/tonne.
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