As the lithium-ion battery touches every aspect of an electrified society, they are also prone to bursting into fire. Such fires burn at extremely high temperatures and take far more resources to extinguish than other types of fire.
One solution might be the solid-state, lithium-tellurium (LiTe) battery. They are far safer and do not catch fire. Such batteries are under development by the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO), First Tellurium (CSE: FTEL; OTC: FSTTF), and Fenix Advanced Materials, which specializes in ultra-high-purity metals in Trail, B.C.
Other advantages to LiTe batteries are their higher charging capacity, much smaller size, and up to four times the battery life of Li-ion batteries. Tellurium is key to these improvements.
First Tellurium has plans to develop its Deer Horn property in northwest British Columbia, only 36 km south of the Huckleberry copper-molybdenum mine. While the Deer Horn deposit is best known for its high-grade tellurium content, it contains silver and gold as well. It also contains copper porphyry and tungsten mineralization. It is also one of only a few significant tellurium discoveries outside Asia, says the company.
A preliminary economic assessment (PEA) was completed in 2018, based on a silver price of US$17/oz., gold at US$1,300/oz., and copper at US$3/lb. Current commodity prices may make the project more economic. The after-tax net present value (5% discount) was $36.5 million, and the post-tax internal rate of return was 42%. An initial capital expanse of $28.3 million and an after-tax payback of 1.6 years was estimated.
The resource noted in the PEA covers only 20% of the known showings on the property. The indicated resource includes 414,000 tonnes grading 160 ppm tellurium (containing 66,000 kg), 5.12 g/t gold (68,000 oz.), and 157.5 g/t silver (2.1 million oz.). The inferred resource is 197,000 tonnes at 137 ppm (containing 27,000 kg), 5.04 g/t gold (32,000 oz.), and 146.5 g/t silver (930,000 oz.) A cut-off of 1.0 g/t gold was used in all the calculations.
First Tellurium has announced plans to start with a small mining operation and expand it over time. Meanwhile, exploration drilling continues.
More information is posted on www.FirstTellurium.com.