The project is vital to support the development of clean energy and provide future revenue to the Navajo Nation
Phoenix, AZ – Dec. 05, 2022 – Today, Arizona Lithium Limited (ASX: AZL, AZLO, AZLOA, OTC: AZLAF) and Navajo Transitional Energy Company (NTEC) announced a Strategic Alliance Term Sheet to support the development of the Big Sandy Lithium Project. The project, located between Phoenix and Las Vegas, consists of 331 Bureau of Land Management Claims on about 9.6 square miles of land, and is an exceptional and easily accessible location for lithium extraction – a key mineral for driving the energy transition.
As President Biden recently outlined in his infrastructure speech announcing the launch of the American Battery Materials Initiative, “[with] more electric vehicle sales, the demand for batteries and the critical minerals that go into those batteries has grown and is going to continue to grow. In fact, the demand for critical materials is set to skyrocket by 4 to 600 percent over the next several decades. The demand for minerals like lithium and graphite is expected to increase by as much as 4,000 percent.” That demand and lack of domestic supply are precisely why AZL and NTEC have decided to work together on lithium operations at Big Sandy.
“We see the Big Sandy project and this strategic alliance with AZL as an outstanding opportunity for Navajo Transitional Energy Company to expand its role in furthering the clean energy economy,” said Vern Lund, Chief Executive Officer of Navajo Transitional Energy Company, “and in a way that benefits all stakeholders, including native tribes.”
As part of its strategic alliance with AZL, NTEC has committed to lead the operational development of Big Sandy, which will include everything from Bureau of Land Management project permitting, mine design, drilling environmental assessments, construction, and contract mining operations. The agreement provides for ALZ and NTEC to commence work towards development of the Big Sandy project while at the same time continuing due diligence and negotiation of a definitive agreement.
NTEC is no stranger to mining operations and energy projects like Big Sandy. NTEC owns the Navajo Mine, currently holds a seven-percent interest in the Four Corners Power Plant, and also owns and operates mines in Montana and Wyoming.
Founded with the purpose of promoting the development of the Navajo Nation’s resources and new sources of energy, power, and transmission, NTEC has not wavered in its commitment to preserving the cultural and environmental well-being of the Navajo Nation. In fact, this year NTEC was the first company to have a single mine awarded both the “Sentinels of Safety” award from the National Mining Association for outstanding safety performance, and the National Award for Excellence in Surface Mining Reclamation from the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE). Both of these prestigious, national awards underscore NTEC’s commitment to the people and environment of the Navajo Nation, and to creating energy options that will provide sustainable resources for the community.
The new mining venture with AZL will help diversify the energy company’s portfolio, providing new future revenue possibilities and resources that can be channeled back to the Navajo Nation. As part of the Strategic Alliance Agreement, when NTEC meets certain mining development milestones with respect to the Big Sandy Lithium Project, it will receive remuneration in cash or AZL shares and options to purchase additional ordinary shares. Additionally, NTEC’s Chief Executive Officer, Vern Lund, will be appointed to the Board of AZL as part of the agreement, further strengthening the relationship.
“As experts in the mining industry, Navajo Transitional Energy Company is the perfect partner for this project,” said Arizona Lithium’s Managing Director, Paul Lloyd. “NTEC has a track record of excellence in safety and environmental stewardship that gives us confidence that every stage of the Big Sandy project will be handled with the utmost care.”
Both AZL and NTEC are eager to approach the project in a sustainable and equitable way, congruent with the grounding values of the Navajo Nation. Additionally, NTEC understands the cultural significance of the land near the mining site. The company plans to work with the Navajo Nation and other Indian Nations to ensure the development at Big Sandy prioritizes appropriate cultural and environmental safeguarding throughout the process.
The Big Sandy Lithium project is set to officially kick off in 2023 and is backed by shareholders of Arizona Lithium and the NTEC Board and partners.
About Big Sandy Lithium Project (Arizona)
The Big Sandy Project, as a very shallow, flat-lying mineralized sedimentary lithium resource and with excellent available infrastructure, has the potential to be developed with a very low environmental footprint.
Arizona Lithium’s successful 2019 drill program at Big Sandy resulted in the estimation of a total Indicated and Inferred JORC resource of 32.5 million tonnes grading 1,850 ppm Li for 320,800 tonnes Li2CO3. This represents 4% of the Big Sandy Project area that contains an estimated exploration target of between 271.1Mt to 483.15Mt at 1,000 – >2,000ppm Li.
Note that the potential quantity and grade of the estimated geological potential (Exploration Target) is conceptual in nature. There has been insufficient exploration to estimate a mineral resource and it is uncertain whether future exploration will result in the definition of a mineral resource. It has been estimated using a range of thicknesses for the mineralized sediments calculated from drill intercepts, surface sampling and geological mapping. The grade estimates a range of values demonstrated from drilling and surface sampling.
The Permit of Exploration (POE) that includes 145 exploration holes and a bulk sample at the Company’s Big Sandy Lithium project in Arizona is awaiting Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approval. Community involvement is welcomed to ensure mutually beneficial outcomes for all stakeholders and the Company is very confident that drilling program can be completed without environmental impact and to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.