SQM to join Talga in Swedish Lithium Project

  • Drilling and geophysics indicate the existence of a large brine basin at Liberty Lithium Brine Project USA, with brine intersected over 400 m vertically.
  • oGeological similarities confirmed with the nearby Silver Peak lithium brine producer Albemarle, in Clayton Valley Nevada, with encouraging initial lithium assay results, aquifers and salinity.
  • Lithium brine specialists have proposed additional drilling to intersect deep lithium brines in the centre of the basin, in a more favourable setting, further west of recent drilling.
  • Discussions continue with various USA based battery supply participants who are keen to work with potential new lithium developers within the USA, including with Stardust who aim to IPO in June.
  • QXR and IG Lithium Option Agreements are being amended to facilitate undertaking further drilling.
  • QXR aims to provide an update soon on progress with gold exploration in Queensland.

Porous conglomerates saturated with brines were intersected beneath fine grained lake sediments with sandy layers. The geology intersected is very encouraging as it is similar to the producing sequences of Clayton Valley Nevada, where Albemarle’s producing lithium brine deposit is located 1. Detailed downhole geophysics together with initial downhole brine sampling (packer sampling) shows increasing salinity with depth, together with large brine volumes, both encouraging for discovering a potentially economic lithium brine deposit in the properties.

Although the maximum lithium assay values were 50mg/l Li over 15 metres near the base of hole #2 (Table 2), the salinity and conductivity increased with depth, at levels similar to known producers. Ingress of fresh water into the aquifers may explain the lower lithium values in drill holes #1 and #2 being located close to a range front fault on the edge of the basin. These initial holes were located near the edge of the basin in part for logistics and access reasons as well as the surface lithium anomaly.


Hole #2 also intersected thick porous brine horizons – critical for future success- which is considered encouraging, together with the geological similarity to Clayton Valley NV (Albemarle’s Silver Peak mine). These similarities include basal porous conglomerate units containing brine beneath finer grained lake sediments. However, the best producing horizons at Clayton Valley are tuff units within the sediment package which have not been intersected in drillholes to date, but which outcrop 4km to the southwest of hole #2 (Figure 4).

Results were analysed by external lithium brine specialists to produce interpretations, including the globally recognised Hydrominex Geoscience Consulting. Lithium brine specialists have advised additional drilling is required to potentially intersect deep lithium brines in the centre of the basin, further west of drilling undertaken by QXR, based on lab results to date.

QXR Managing Director, Stephen Promnitz, said:“QXR has defined a new large scale brine basin, saturated with brines, at the Liberty Lithium Brine Project. A large near-surface brine field with lithium potential is rare to date in the USA. The geological setting, with conglomerates loaded with brines, is similar to Albemarle’s producing deposit. We are yet to find tuff horizons similar to Clayton Valley, which are the best brine aquifers – although they do outcrop nearby, suggesting they may exist within the basin. Surface and downhole geophysics make it compelling for further drilling to the west, in the centre of the basin under deeper sediments, which may intersect higher grade lithium brine, compared to the drilling to date.”

Next Steps

Applications for further drillholes were submitted some time ago. To provide operational flexibility, an amended drill program has been submitted to regulators for approval. Bulk volumes of brine will be submitted for testwork with selected direct lithium extraction (DLE) providers, as well as with lithium refiner Stardust Power Inc, with whom QXR holds at Letter of Intent (ASX announcement 29 Feb 2024). Stardust expects to list on NASDAQ in June via a c.US$490m deal and then plans to build a lithium refinery in Oklahoma.

Discussions continue with various USA based battery supply participants who are keen to work with potential new lithium developers within the USA.

QXR and IG Lithium are currently discussing amendments to the Option Agreements to facilitate the undertaking of further drilling.


The Liberty Lithium Brine Project, located in SaltFire Flat, California, covers contiguous claims over 102km2 (25,300 acres), being one of the largest single lithium brine projects in the USA (Figure 1). The Company entered an Option to Purchase Agreement and an Operating Agreement (Option Agreements) to earn a 75% interest in the large scale Liberty Lithium brine project in California, USA, from vendor IG Lithium LLC (ASX announcement 5 October 2023). Based on results received to date, the Company is currently in discussion with IG Lithium regarding potential renegotiation of the Option Agreements to allow a longer period of time to conduct additional drilling prior to any future commitments.

Two vertical diamond drill holes were completed (369m & 443 metres depth), spaced 4km apart (Figure 2, 3). Holes were centred over an extensive lithium brine surface anomaly and significant MT geophysical target, interpreted as a series of conductive brine bearing aquifers at depth. Brine horizons were intersected in both holes with numerous brine aquifers intersected in drillhole #2 (ASX announcement 8 Feb 2024).

QXR entered into a Letter of Intent with Stardust Power Inc., a development stage American manufacturer of battery-grade lithium products, to assess the lithium brines from the Liberty Lithium Brine Project. The parties intend to evaluate options to potentially supply Stardust Power with lithium brine products, dependent on results, on a non-exclusive basis for processing into battery-grade lithium materials for electric vehicles (ASX announcement 29 Feb 2024). The Company plans to share the results of the two hole drill program with Stardust as part of ongoing discussions.

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