JV Article: Argentina Lithium targets spring for first Rincon West useful resource

Argentina Lithium & Power (TSXV: LIT, US-OTC: PNXLF), a member of the Vancouver-based Grosso Group of firms, is aggressively assembling a portfolio of lithium properties in northwestern Argentina as demand for the battery mineral continues its upward trajectory. 

“The lithium market had a few false begins, however this time is completely different,” stated Nikolaos Cacos, the corporate’s president and CEO. The value of lithium carbonate has elevated dramatically, he famous, from US$2,000 to US$3,000 per tonne seven or eight years in the past to an all-time excessive of $84,000 in October. “So, it’s actually been stratospheric, and it continues to defy even analysts’ expectations.” 

A BloombergNEF research offered on the United Nations local weather talks in Egypt in mid-November estimated that 10.6 million electrical battery and plug-in hybrid passenger automobiles could be offered in 2022, a 61% enhance over the prior yr. And an estimated 56% of them could be offered in China, the worldwide chief in electrification. 

Argentina Lithium determined to make the most of the chance by way of the Covid-19 pandemic, buying 4 salt lake brine properties in Argentina’s portion of South America’s famed Lithium Triangle, which hosts 60% of the world’s lithium assets.  

Drilling at Argentina Lithium’s Rincon West challenge. Josefina Di Pietro photograph

“Argentina underwent a critical lockdown,” recalled Cacos. “You couldn’t journey between provinces. It was actually hardcore, however we have been lucky that we had lots of people on the bottom in these areas and there was no competitors due to the lockdown, so we may swoop in and choose up some actually selection properties.” 

The Grosso Group’s lengthy historical past in Argentina additionally helped. 

“Over the past 30 years, we’ve made 4 main discoveries within the nation,” Cacos stated. “Joe Grosso has been inducted into the Argentina Mining Corridor of Fame due to his pioneering efforts to assist the nation get going within the mining exploration business. It was our popularity for transparency and trustworthy enterprise practices that allowed us to make offers with the property homeowners.”

‘Off to the races’

Argentina Lithium didn’t waste any time exploring its flagship Rincon West property within the nation’s Salta province, spending near $3 million conducting geophysics and commencing a nine-hole reverse-circulation drill program at depths of as much as 400 metres by way of 2022. A transient electromagnetic survey indicated the potential for lithium brines underneath 60% of the property and early drill outcomes reported in October included lithium values of 334 to 382 mg per litre over a steady interval of 132 metres. 

The corporate holds a 100% curiosity in 4.6 sq. km at Rincon West and has an choice to earn a 100% curiosity in an extra 32.8 sq. km. 

“Argosy Minerals, an Australian firm with an $800-million market cap, has reported a 250-million-tonne lithium useful resource on the japanese facet of the identical salar and has plans to enter manufacturing subsequent yr,” Cacos stated. “And Rio Tinto spent US$825 million buying a property proper subsequent to us. 

“The outcomes from the primary 4 holes we drilled all affirm lithium grades and intersections in keeping with the type of numbers that each Rio Tinto and Argosy have revealed, so we really feel we’re off to the races.” 

Argentina Lithium has budgeted $10 million to proceed its drill program at Rincon West in 2023 and expects to publish a “vital useful resource” by April or Might. 

“Then we’ll transfer south to our Antofalla North property,” Cacos stated. “That’s a precedence for us as a result of the world’s largest lithium producer, Albemarle owns all the central part of the salar and we personal the northern part. They haven’t revealed what they’ve, however they’ve acknowledged that they’ve what they consider is the most important lithium useful resource in Argentina.” 

South America’s Lithium Triangle encompassing a part of southern Bolivia, japanese Chile and northwestern Argentina hosts an estimated 60% of the world’s lithium assets. Picture courtesy of Argentina Lithium

Antofalla North contains 150 sq. km of mining leases with 90.8 sq. km owned outright by Argentina Lithium and the rest underneath choice. 

Different properties within the firm’s portfolio embody Pocitos and Incahuasi. At Pocitos, it has a 100% curiosity in roughly 158.6 sq. km of claims in 11 steady mining concessions on the east facet of the salar, in addition to an extra 103.6 sq. km in three blocks to the east and south. At Incahuasi, one other salar, it has a 100% curiosity in 250 sq. km of floor. 

“The salars we’ve been focusing on will not be the actually high-grade ones with lithium concentrations of as much as 800 milligrams per litre,” stated Cacos. “They’re more durable to seek out and really costly. We’re focusing on mid-grade brines with 300 milligrams per litre lithium or higher and specializing in tasks in areas near infrastructure, together with railroad strains, roads and energy strains that supply higher economics.” 

Extracting lithium from mid-grade brines is lots simpler now with new direct lithium extraction applied sciences, defined Cacos. That wasn’t at all times the case. 

“A couple of years in the past, the one technique to get lithium out was to pump the brine to floor and lay it on these flat beds to evaporate it. That was a multi-year course of. You wanted very, very excessive grades of lithium with a purpose to make it work and also you needed to be involved about different minerals current within the brine contaminating the method. It was advanced, time consuming and costly,” he stated. 

“Direct lithium extraction applied sciences, against this, are in a position to take away the lithium ions from the brine very successfully even right down to extraordinarily low grades so even lithium deposits of 60 or 70 milligrams per litre will be financial. The method can also be agnostic to another minerals within the brine and is extra environmentally pleasant.” 

Argentina Lithium has no plans to take any of its 4 lithium tasks into manufacturing itself. “We acknowledge that we’re explorers and fairly good at it,” Cacos stated. “We’ve at all times seen manufacturing as a distinct enterprise. Our experience is paying a couple of million {dollars} and defining one thing that’s grassroots, then promoting it for $500 million or extra. By that time our traders will have already got seen a return on their funding, and we will move the challenge on to an skilled producer. We may promote out utterly or take a small portion as a carried curiosity or a royalty.” 

In late November, Argentina Lithium raised a little bit greater than $9 million in a non-brokered non-public placement to fund its 2023 exploration program after initially setting a goal of $6 million. “The investor curiosity was particularly gratifying given the present market surroundings,” Cacos stated. “For the reason that demand was there, we determined to fund the whole thing of the 2023 exploration funds. Actually, we ended up having to show traders away.” 

The previous Joint Enterprise Article is PROMOTED CONTENT sponsored by Argentina Lithium & Power. and produced in co-operation with The Northern Miner. Go to www.argentinalithium.com for extra data. 

Similar Articles



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here



Most Popular