THE Reung Kiet project in southern Thailand is the only lithium project in South East Asia outside China. Reung Kiet is held by Pan Asia Metals, a private Singapore company that plans to list on London’s AIM market in the first half of 2018.

Even though initially focusing on Reung Kiet, Pan Asia is also considering other projects, including the high-grade Khao Soon Tungsten Project in the country’s southeast.

Managing Director Paul Lock said, “We’ve been working in South East Asia for five years. Our key focus is to identify projects which are relatively advanced but pre-drill, and we like Thailand because of the low country costs in terms of labour, energy and infrastructure.”

The area in which Reung Kiet and Khao Soon are located is not unfamiliar with mining, as until the 1980s it was a major tin producing region. Work on Pan Asia’s prospects identified lithium mineralisation as long ago as the 1960s.

This mineralisation was initially mined for tin and was shown at the time to contain grades of between 3% and 4% lithium oxide in concentrate at a time when lithium grades were of less immediate significance.

50 years later, however, with lithium batteries becoming increasingly popular, these grades are being viewed in a new light.

“Our lithium occurs across more than 2.5km of strike,” Paul Lock told Proactive Investors. “We now have our own rock chip and channel samples that show grades averaging around 1.5% lithium oxide. And it’s in mica, not spodumene, which means that instead of roasting you can do an acid leach, which on the cost curve will be cheaper.”

Ahead of next year’s AIM listing, Pan Asia has embarked upon a US$1.5 million pre-IPO fundraise to get the drill rigs turning at Reung Kiet and at Khao Soon.

“With that US$1.5 million we can add a lot of value,” Paul Lock said. “We’re ready to drill as soon as we get the first US$500,000. The idea is to move both assets up to the status of strong exploration targets, and potentially with inferred resources by the time we get to IPO.”