Shares in lithium exploration and development company Bacanora Minerals (TSX-V, LON:BCN) got a fresh boost Thursday after it announced it had secured access and surface rights for its flagship Sonora lithium project in Mexico.
The company said it entered into binding agreements to acquire the freehold to two parcels of land which, following completion of a feasibility study, will provide it with unrestricted access to develop the project and operate it for the initial life-of-mine.
Bacanora noted the move was in line with its strategy to build an open-pit mine and large-scale beneficiation processing facility at Sonora, which is one of the world’s largest lithium deposits.
A feasibility study for a 35,000 tonnes per annum lithium carbonate operation at Sonora is expected to be completed before year-end, it said.
Shares in the company climbed 3.47% at 1.49 pounds. Year-to-date the stock in up more than 20%.
Today’s news is just one of Bacanora’s latest milestone in the past two years. In 2015, the firm and its joint-venture partner Rare Earth Minerals (LON:REM) signed a conditional agreement with Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) to supply the electric cars and energy storage products company with lithium hydroxide from the Sonora project.
In May 2017, the company secured a $11 million investment from Blackrock. And earlier this year, it inked a long-term supply deal with Japan’s Hanwa Corporation, which will see the Tokyo-based trader acquire up to 100% of the output coming from Sonora.
Frequently referred to as “white petroleum,” lithium drives much of the modern world, as it has become an irreplaceable component of rechargeable batteries used in high tech devices and electric cars.
The lithium market, while still relatively small — worth about $1bn a year — is expected to triple in size by 2025, according to analysts at Goldman Sachs.
The commodity has attracted increasing interest from investors, not only in Latin America, where the world’s largest deposits are located, but also in other places such as the UK.