INFOGRAPHIC: A cost comparison – lithium brine vs. hard rock exploration

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist

Lithium brine exploration infographic presented by: Dajin Resources

Lithium brine exploration has several benefits associated with it from a cost perspective.

In this infographic, we compare it to hard rock exploration and highlight the major differences

Capital is limited in the current mining exploration environment, so investors are increasingly looking for companies that have lower costs of doing business. Over the last four years, we’ve seen large-scale, low-grade projects go out of favour and investor preferences resting with low-CAPEX, high-return projects.

However, it is not only the construction costs and scale of a mine with which companies can save money. It can also be in initial prospecting, exploration, and the development of a project. The key here is for a company to be doing this work in a location setting that is easy to work in from logistical and cost perspectives. If a project is in a remote area in mountainous wilderness that requires setup of a camp and bush planes in and out, the payoff has to be that much higher.

This is where lithium brine deposits come in. Typically, they are located in salars (salt flats) which are flat, arid, and barren areas. This makes the logistics of setting up shop for exploration relatively straightforward, and also removes most topographical challenges of exploration.

Further, there are some other major benefits of lithium brine exploration from a cost perspective that makes it favourable to many hard rock projects. Lithium brine deposits are considered placer deposits and are easier to permit. Brine is also a liquid which means that drilling to find it is more akin to drilling for water, and once it is found the continuity is more straightforward. It’s also typically not located relatively close to surface, which limits the amount of meters drilled.

Once a deposit is discovered, advanced exploration and development can also be at a discount. Drilling wells and testing recovery are more like shallow oil wells or drilling for water. Finally, permitting for construction and production is faster because of the placer classification.

Lithium brine exploration has benefits from the angle of cost that make it less expensive than most comparable hard rock projects. However, their potential also depends on the price of lithium – we cover all of the elements of supply and demand for the light metal in this infographic.