Arizona Lithium has signed a binding mining services agreement with Navajo Transitional Energy (NTEC) for development and production at the Big Sandy Lithium Project in Arizona.

The collaboration leverages NTEC’s extensive mining and energy project experience.

The company will be tasked with management of permitting requirements, environmental assessments, exploration drilling, mine design and development, through to the launch of mining operations.

NTEC, owned by the Navajo Nation, has a notable presence in the mining sector, with operations in the Navajo Mine and involvement in the Four Corners Power Plant.

The company’s expertise spans various states including Montana and Wyoming, and it is committed to fostering the development of the Navajo Nation’s resources.

Additionally, as part of the latest agreement, NTEC CEO Vern Lund, with more than 25 years in the mining industry, will become a member of the Arizona Lithium board.

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Lund’s expertise encompasses operational management, business development and new project development, and promises to be a valuable asset to the Big Sandy Lithium Project.

In December 2022, Arizona Lithium announced the inception of this collaboration through a Strategic Alliance Term Sheet with NTEC.

The recent mining services agreement solidifies the terms initially set forth.

Arizona Lithium managing director Paul Lloyd said: “We are very pleased to have signed a Mining Services Agreement with NTEC, which formalises the terms initially agreed to under the Strategic Alliance Term Sheet announced in December 2022.

“NTEC is the ideal operating partner for Big Sandy and will take over the operational development of Big Sandy, being responsible for managing the permitting requirements, exploration drilling, mine design, environmental assessments and development through to commencement of mining operations for the project.

“Big Sandy represents a substantial development opportunity holding 320,800 tonnes of LCE, with only 4% of the project drilling, providing significant exploration upside once permitted.”

A very shallow, flat lying mineralised sedimentary lithium resource, Big Sandy Project has 32.5 million tonnes (mt) indicated and inferred JORC resource, grading 1,850 parts per million lithium for 320,800t Li2CO3 (lithium carbonate), as estimated after a 2019 drill programme.