FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / TheNewswire /Vancouver, British Columbia: Wealth Minerals Ltd. (the "Company" or "Wealth") - (TSXV: WML; OTCQB: WMLLF; SSE: WMLCL; Frankfurt: EJZN), reports that, in connection with the previously announced grant to Wealth of an option to acquire a 100% royalty-free interest in and to the Proyecto Atacama Lithium (the "Project"), it has filed on SEDAR a National Instrument 43-101 ("NI 43-101") technical report titled "NI 43-101 Technical Report on the Atacama Lithium Project El Loa Province Region II Republic of Chile" dated March 10, 2017 (the "Report").
"The Report filed today is an important development for Wealth and the Project. The Report provides an independent assessment of Wealth's lithium brine exploration model and comprehensive recommendations for upcoming exploration and Project evaluation," stated Henk van Alphen, Wealth's CEO. "The Salar de Atacama is the only salar in South America where lithium is recovered using conventional evaporation techniques and it hosts approximately 15% of global lithium resources. We are currently applying for permits to move forward with our exploration plans through the remainder of 2017."
"We encourage shareholders to review the content of this news release and the Report, which outlines the prospective nature of the Company's land position in the Salar de Atacama and the exploration steps necessary to test the model that lithium-bearing brines exist at depth," stated Tim McCutcheon, the Company's President. "Despite being contiguous with existing production facilities, the northern portion of the salar has never before been explored for lithium brine potential, despite the geology and hydrogeology being similar to producing areas."
Readers are cautioned that lithium production in the Salar de Atacama is from adjacent properties and that Wealth has no interest in or right to acquire any interest in those producing areas. Mineral deposits on adjacent or similar properties and any production thereon or economics with respect thereto are not in any way indicative of mineral deposits on the Project or the potential production from or economics of any future lithium extraction on the Project.
The Project consists of 144 exploration concessions comprising 46,200 hectares in the Salar de Atacama, 220 km east of the northern Chilean city of Antofagasta. The Project is located approximately 30km north of the Soquem Quimica y Minera de Chile ("SQM") potassium-lithium operation, and about 50km north of Rockwood Holdings Inc. ("Rockwood") (the Albermarle Corporation's business unit in Chile). Both SQM and Rockwood produce potassium and lithium from brines at depth in the Salar de Atacama (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Adjacent Landholdings
The Salar de Atacama is host to more than 15% of the world's known lithium reserves, and yet exploration and production of lithium has occurred only in the southern portion of the Salar. The proximity of the Project to existing producers strongly suggests that exploration potential is good for the discovery of brines in the northern portion of the Salar, underlying the Project.
The principal origin of lithium in the Salar de Atacama is interpreted to be the lithium-bearing geothermal waters from the El Tatio Geyser Field, located north of the salar. The geothermal fluids enter the northern part of the Salar de Atacama via surface and subsurface flow. Further, the chemistry of the salar brines is almost identical to the chemistry of the geothermal fluids of El Tatio, further strengthening the interpretation that the El Tatio geothermal fluids are the source of lithium and potassium in the Salar.
The geology of the Project is similar to the sedimentary settings of other salars such as Maricunga, La Isla, Olaroz, and Cauchari, where potentially economic lithium resources have been reported by other public and private lithium exploration companies. Regional studies of the Salar de Atacama's geology, hydrogeology, climate and other factors provide a high-level of understanding of the lithium brine processes in the region, lending credence to the exploration potential of the Project.
Wealth Minerals intends to evaluate the brine potential of the Project by utilizing geophysical methods to better evaluate basin configuration, geologic structure, and the hydrogeology of the concessions, followed by drill testing any targets developed by the initial work (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Schematic Cross Section and Brine Target Concept
In order to test the exploration potential for subsurface lithium-bearing brines at the Project, the Report recommends a comprehensive two-phase exploration program. Phase 1 includes geophysical testing, including time domain electromagnetic surveying and potentially gravity and magnetotelluric techniques, to better define the subsurface environment, including basin configuration, sedimentary regimes, and possible brine presence at depth. Contingent on positive results, Phase II is recommended to include drill testing and pump testing, metallurgical testing, permitting, engineering and design, pilot-plant testing and development for production. A Phase I budget of approximately US$550,000 is recommended, followed by the contingent Phase II budget of US$15,500,000.
Mr. John Hiner, a licenced geologist in the state of Washington and SME registered member, is the author of the Report and an independent Qualified Person as defined by NI 43-101. Mr. Hiner has reviewed the scientific and technical information from the Report that forms the basis of this news release and has approved the disclosure herein.
About Wealth Minerals Ltd.
Wealth is a mineral resource company with interests in Canada, Mexico, Peru and Chile. The Company's main focus is the acquisition of lithium projects in South America. To date, the Company has positioned itself to develop the Aguas Calientes Norte, Pujsa and Quisquiro Salars in Chile (the Trinity Project), as well as to work alongside existing producers in the prolific Atacama Salar, in addition to its recently announced Laguna Verde lithium project acquisition. The Company continues to aggressively pursue new acquisitions in the region. Lithium market dynamics and a rapidly increasing metal price are the result of profound structural issues with the industry meeting anticipated future demand. Wealth is positioning itself to be a major beneficiary of this future mismatch of supply and demand. The Company also maintains and continues to evaluate a portfolio of precious and base metal exploration-stage projects.
On Behalf of the Board of Directors of
WEALTH MINERALS LTD.
"Hendrik van Alphen"
Hendrik van Alphen
Chief Executive Officer
For further information, please contact: Marla Ritchie
Phone: 604-331-0096 Ext. 3886 or 604-638-3886
Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this news release.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This news release contains forward-looking statements and forward-looking information (collectively, "forward-looking statements") within the meaning of applicable Canadian and U.S. securities legislation, including the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, included herein including, without limitation, statements regarding the exercise of the Company's option to acquire the Project, the anticipated content, commencement, timing and costs of the recommended exploration program on the Project and exploration program results from same, the Company's expectation that it will be able to enter into agreements to acquire interests in additional mineral properties, the discovery and delineation of mineral deposits/resources/reserves on the Project, and the anticipated business plans and timing of future activities of the Company, are forward-looking statements. Although the Company believes that such statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. Forward-looking statements are typically identified by words such as: "believe", "expect", "anticipate", "intend", "estimate", "postulate" and similar expressions, or are those, which, by their nature, refer to future events. The Company cautions investors that any forward-looking statements by the Company are not guarantees of future results or performance, and that actual results may differ materially from those in forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including, operating and technical difficulties in connection with mineral exploration and development activities, actual results of exploration activities, the estimation or realization of mineral reserves and mineral resources, the timing and amount of estimated future production, the costs of production, capital expenditures, the costs and timing of the development of new deposits, requirements for additional capital, future prices of lithium, changes in general economic conditions, changes in the financial markets and in the demand and market price for commodities, accidents, labour disputes and other risks of the mining industry, delays in obtaining governmental approvals, permits or financing or in the completion of development or construction activities, changes in laws, regulations and policies affecting mining operations, title disputes, the inability of the Company to obtain any necessary permits, consents, approvals or authorizations, including acceptance by the TSX-V, as applicable, the timing and possible outcome of any pending litigation, environmental issues and liabilities, and risks related to joint venture operations, and other risks and uncertainties disclosed in the Company's latest interim Management Discussion and Analysis and filed with certain securities commissions in Canada. All of the Company's Canadian public disclosure filings may be accessed via www.sedar.com and readers are urged to review these materials, including the technical reports filed with respect to the Company's mineral properties.
Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. The Company undertakes no obligation to update any of the forward-looking statements in this news release or incorporated by reference herein, except as otherwise required by law.
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