A lot can change in two years — just look at Brazil.
Best described as a bit player in the lithium space only two years ago, the country has since become one of the premier destinations for lithium exploration and development. It all started with the runaway success of Sigma Lithium Corporation (NASDAQ:SGML, TSXV:SGML). Since then, multiple high-profile mining companies have established themselves in the country.
This growth is unlikely to stop anytime soon, particularly in light of recent investments into Brazil’s battery manufacturing sector by companies including BorgWarner and Inventus Power. Within the next several years, Brazil could become a major global supplier. That’s good news for the lithium market, as we are rapidly approaching the point at which demand will greatly outstrip supply.
Oceana Lithium (ASX:OCN) is well-positioned to get us past that point — and to tap into Brazil’s fast-growing lithium mining industry. An early-stage exploration company with significant opportunity for discovery across its three lithium projects, Oceana’s flagship Solonópole project displays considerable promise. The company also maintains highly prospective projects in both Australia and Canada.
Oceana’s acquisitions were no accident. The company’s well-informed exploration strategy stems from veteran geologists and mining professionals with decades of experience between them. It’s already identified multiple exploration targets across all three projects, all of which are highly prospective and known to contain lithium.
Oceana Lithium is an early-stage exploration company with significant discovery opportunities. The company maintains three strategic and highly prospective lithium projects in Australia, Canada and Brazil — all tier-one mining jurisdictions. Brazil in particular is an emerging international destination for lithium, with multiple promising discoveries in recent years.Recent investments in battery manufacturing within the country also present a huge opportunity for lithium exploration. Oceana’s well-informed exploration strategy is helmed by geologists with considerable experience, including James Abson, Uwe Naeher, and Renato Braz Sue.The company has committed to embracing Indigenous peoples and values within its project areas with the goal of sustainable critical minerals development that honours the lives, memories, sacred sites, traditions and hopes of landowners. The company is well-funded to advance exploration on all its projects, with $6 million in cash following a well-supported private placement in July 2023.. Investors can expect strong newsflow over the coming months, as drilling is underway in Brazil and on-ground exploration has commenced in Canada.
Solonópole Lithium Project
Located three hours by sealed road from the major port of Fortaleza, Oceana’s Solonópole project consists of eight permits covering 114 square kilometers of highly prospective ground. Detailed field mapping by Oceana’s Brazilian subsidiary Ceara Litio has identified a significant mineralized pegmatite corridor within the company’s claim. The permits also cover several historic artisanal mining sites previously tapped for lithium, tantalum, niobium and tin.
Currently, Oceana is awaiting results from its first phase of drilling which it will use to guide its phase two drill program. Other planned exploration activities include infill soil geochemistry selectively down to a 20 x 20 meter grid across identified lithium anomalies and trenching across both lithium anomalies and outcroppings.
A Historic Artisanal Hotbed: Oceana has identified more than twenty small-scale artisanal mines during field exploration. Mining at these sites only reached depths of a maximum of 10 meters due to the need to blast hard rock material. Mineralisation: Oceana has a body of data that suggests high-grade mineralization at Solonópole, including: A regional geological review completed in 2012 by the government Geological Survey DNPN confirmed spodumene, lepidolite, and amblygonite as the main lithium-containing minerals. A regional reconnaissance program completed by a previous explorer which collected 246 grab samples in 2016 and 2017 containing:Lithium oxide (Li2O): 9 percent.Tantalum (Ta): 1 percent. Niobium (Nb): 1 percent. Tin (Sn): 1,000 ppm. Beryllium (Be): 2.5 percent. First-pass soil geochemistry results highlighting the presence of residual soil anomalies. An Ideal Location: Solonópole is situated in one of Brazil’s two historic lithium mining regions, giving Oceana access to experienced labour and extensive pre-existing infrastructure. The project is also well-suited for exploration activities, as it is arid and sparsely-populated farmland. Experienced In-country Team: Oceana has invested heavily in developing an in-house exploration team headed by experienced resident geologist Renato Braz Sue and a strong corporate and legal management team based in Belo Horizonte headed by Cintia Maia and Carolina Carvalho who are both fluent in English.
Monaro Lithium Project
Regional players and greenstone locations in Monaro Project area.
Monaro is Oceana’s most recent acquisition, with the company having secured an exclusive six-month option to acquire 100 percent of the 104.4 square kilometer project in July 2023. Located in the Western portion of the Duhesme Lake metavolcanic-sedimentary greenstone belt in James Bay, Quebec; Monaro has historically been of interest for its gold potential. As a result, it has never been systematically explored for lithium.
Monaro’s 207 mineral claims include 40 kilometers of contiguous greenstones, known to be the most common host for LCT mineralization. Oceana has identified more than 60 targets for immediate follow-up, some of which contain outcroppings of up to 1.25 kilometers long and related to magnetic highs. Exploration is set to commence immediately.
Situated in a Bustling Lithium District: James Bay is home to multiple major lithium projects and discoveries, while Quebec itself ranks as the world’s 8th best mining jurisdiction overall. A Strategic Acquisition: Alongside Solonópole, Monaro allows Oceana to position itself to feed the growing US demand for lithium and other raw materials. Experienced Technical Team : The field program at Monaro will be helmed by Canada resident industry veteran Uwe Naeher and Oceana’s senior exploration manager James Abson who has deep experience with lithium exploration in various terranes from early stage exploration to mine development.Oceana has identified numerous geological features, magnetic structures and visual linear pegmatite targets from high resolution satellite imagery and remote sensing techniques (see ASX announcement 5 July 2023) which will be the immediate focus for the field team.Current Exploration Plans: Experienced Québec based contractor Explo-Logik mobilised at the Mirage Outfitter camp in mid-August 2023 to conduct an inaugural helicopter-supported field program over the Monaro project area under the guidance of James Abson and Uwe Naeher. Program highlights include: mapping, prospecting, rock, till and soil sampling with onsite XRF analyses for key LCT pegmatite pathfinder elements (Cs, Be, Nb, Sn, P, Rb, and Ta).Inspection of various identified high-priority targets with a focus on identifying spodumene bearing pegmatites.These targets include the two reported Québec Government SIGÉOM pegmatites; some 114 large linear structures with surface signs of pale outcrop, some up to 1.25 km in length identified from high resolution satellite imagery, as well as 26 spectral targets selected from Sentinel 2 remote sensing data.
Landing at Monaro project area with dedicated helicopter
1km pegmatite outcrop identified from Quebec Government (Sigeóm) survey
Simplified bedrock geology map of the James Bay district showing the location of the Monaro Lithium Project in relation to the CV5 discovery made by Patriot Battery Metalsand proximity to Winsome Resources’ Adina lithium prospect.
Napperby Lithium Project
A large-scale lithium project situated in Australia’s Northern Territory, Napperby covers 1,160 square kilometers. The 100 percent owned project is also located within the Northern Arunta pegmatite province, expected to soon become a hotbed of mining and exploration. It displays similar geology to the Pine Creek pegmatite province, which is itself the site of the Finniss Project, owned by Core Lithium (ASX:CXO).
Early-stage fieldwork at Napperby is ongoing.
Confirmed Pegmatites: Historical exploration of the region identified multiple pegmatite dykes with both tin and tantalum mineral occurrence. Additionally, a 2005 analysis by the Northern Territory Geological Survey confirmed these as LCT pegmatites. Oceana has completed a hyperspectral survey to acquire high-quality data over the project area.Soil geochemical program completed reveals several large linear lithium anomalies, some of which are on the strike extension of pegmatite outcrop.Significant Mineral Potential: Napperby has the potential to host several other rare and valuable resources alongside lithium, including rare earth elements, tantalum and uranium.
James Abson – Senior Exploration Manager
James Abson is a geologist with over 28 years of experience in multi-commodity mining and mineral exploration and has held various positions from public company vice-president of exploration to CEO. Abson has been involved in the exploration and technical and financial assessment of various lithium pegmatite projects globally, including the Arcadia lithium project in Zimbabwe (later sold in April 2022 to Chinese interests for an underlying value in excess of $530 million). His most recent position was chief geologist and exploration manager for Bikita Minerals’ lithium mine in Zimbabwe, where his primary responsibility was hard-rock resource exploration (spodumene, lepidolite, petalite, pollucite and tantalum) and in-pit reserve expansion.
Abson provides technical and strategic input to the company’s board of directors and technical oversight and leadership to the exploration team to establish and guide exploration targeting, program execution, project development strategy and evaluation and assessment of new project opportunities.
Renato Braz Sue – Exploration Manager, Brazil
Renato Braz Sue is a veteran geologist with over 25 years of exploration and project development experience in his native Brazil and internationally, having worked in numerous terranes and commodities including LCT minerals, copper-lead-zinc in VMS-style environments, gold, nickel, quartz and manganese. His experience includes planning and execution of exploration programs from early to advanced stage and mine expansion projects and providing technical leadership for project feasibility studies and evaluation.
Braz Sue has worked in senior roles in various states in Brazil for junior, mid-tier and major national and international partner companies including Yamana Gold, AngloGold Ashanti, Horizonte Minerals, CVRD/Phelps Dodge, Xstrata/Jaguar Mining, Eldorado Gold Corp and Cougar, Brazil. He brings to the Company deep local knowledge and established relationships with professional service providers as well as local landowners.
Uwe Naeher – Exploration Manager, Canada
Uwe Naeher has over 30 years’ experience in a wide range of terrains and deposit types in all aspects of exploration. He is an expert in granite-hosted ore deposits and mineralization in pegmatites, having worked for the past 15 years in the African Great Lakes region in the DRC, Rwanda and Burundi.
Jerome (Gino) Vitale – Executive Chairman
Jerome Vitale is a corporate executive and public company director with over 30 years experience in operational, investment banking and advisory roles in the mining and mineral resource sector both in Australia and Internationally.
Vitale is a chartered accountant, a senior fellow and former vice-president of Financial Services Institute of Australia (FINSIA) and member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. During the mid-2000’s he was invited onto the ASX Corporate Governance Review Committee and has a practical perspective on best practice governance compliance for small to mid-cap companies.
Dr. Qingtao Zeng – Non-executive Director
Doctor Qingtao Zeng has been extensively involved in the lithium exploration and development sector and is well-connected with potential off-take partners having acted as intermediary for the supply or purchase of spodumene concentrate for a number of producers. He has been engaged as a consulting geologist in a range of geological and commercial environments.
Dr. Zeng completed a PhD in geology at the Centre of Exploration Targeting (CET) of University of Western Australia in 2013. He has published several academic papers on structure control orogenic gold systems in different geological scales, and is a member of AUSIMM and Society of Economic Geologists (SEG). He is currently Managing Director of Australasian Metals Ltd, and a non-executive Director of Kodal Minerals plc, MetalsTech Ltd and Winsome Resources Ltd.
Simon Mottram – Non-executive Director
A resident of Brazil, Simon Mottram is a geologist with 28 years’ experience predominantly in base and precious metals. Mottram has held both executive and senior management positions with several successful mining companies in various countries. He has progressed multiple discoveries through to commercial production and has been responsible for several significant exploration successes.
Mottram is currently president of TSX-listed nickel and PGM explorer Bravo Mining Corp and previously an executive director of Avanco Resources, purchased on market by mid-tier Australian copper producer OZ Minerals for $440 million in 2018, and subsequently acquired by BHP. Mottram is an Australian and British national and a permanent resident of Brazil, where he has lived for the majority of the last 12 years and is fluent in Portuguese. He has previously acted as both CP or QP for various ASX and TSX listed companies, is a fellow of the AusIMM, and a graduate of Melbourne RMIT University.
Dan Smith – Company Secretary
Dan Smith has more than 15 years’ experience in financial markets, including 10 years experience with ASX Listing Rules compliance and corporate governance.
Smith is a fellow member of the Governance Institute of Australia and holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Curtin University. He acts as company secretary for numerous ASX, AIM and NSX-listed companies and is non-executive chairman of rare earths explorer DY6 Metals Ltd (ASX: DY6).
Cintia Maia – Company Administrator, Brazil
Cintia Maia is manager, corporate and director of the company’s Brazilian operating subsidiary, Ceará Litio Mineração Ltda. She is an experienced corporate manager and administrator and a qualified accountant with over 20 years’ experience.
Maia is familiar with reporting requirements for Australian public companies, having previously worked as CFO for GRD Minproc, AMEC Canada and a number of other mining and industrial companies. She brings a wealth of practical experience to her role as the Company’s senior corporate officer in Brazil.
Carolina Carvalho – Manager Corporate Affairs, Brazil
Carolina Carvalho is an experienced corporate lawyer, having spent more than 15 years working with medium and large multinationals operating in Brazil. She has worked in mergers and acquisitions, tax planning and strategic business development across a number of industries including mining.