Option to Acquire ~70,000 Hectares Of Leases in Catamarca Province
Significantly Increases Size in Argentina
- Option agreement signed over a large area (~70,000 Ha) of potential lithium bearing pegmatites in Catamarca Province, Argentina
- Optioned leases cover a large part of a newly recognised 100km long belt of pegmatite swarms - includes both exploration and mining leases and applications
- Highly attractive acquisition terms: Issue 5 million LKE shares for a 6-month option, with further 15 million LKE shares in two tranches if option is exercised
- LKE shareholders gain increased asset optionality with exposure to both prime lithium brine leases plus a new lithium pegmatite belt
- LKE emerges with a significantly larger size and asset base in Argentina with ~160,000 Ha of highly attractive ground prospective for lithium
A study of past lithium spodumene mining leases, satellite image interpretation together with field visits, led a local technical team to recognise that the spodumene bearing pegmatites in Ancasti were exposed as a large long belt of pegmatites. These areas were applied for as eight "cateos", with nearly half granted at present. A small number of mining leases are also under application. Lake has conducted initial field visits to assess the project.
The lease holders, under a local company Petra Energy S.A. (in formation) have been in discussion with a number of interested parties and Lake considers itself fortunate to convince the owners that the Company's active presence in Catamarca and prime brine leases would constitute a good active partner to review, explore and potentially develop the area.
Latin Resources (ASX:LRS) ("Latin") holds adjoining leases (~76,000 Ha) in the same pegmatite belt and recently announced the commencement of drilling four targets, with rock samples reported from 4.9% to 7.1% LiO2 (announced 14 June 2016). LRS and Lake, should it execute the option agreement, will most likely control most of the potential belt of pegmatites.
Lake Resources Managing Director, Stephen Promnitz, commented: "We have continued to review opportunistic growth opportunities to deliver increased scale and optionality to Lake's asset base."
"Given recent transaction values in Argentina on lithium assets, this represents an excellent low-cost, all scrip acquisition and delivers exploration leases, mining leases and applications over ground that has compelling geology, in the opinion of our technical team."
"The blend of the positive results from Lake's lithium brine leases in Catamarca, the unlocked potential of our leases in Jujuy, combined with the potential upside of a large lithium pegmatite target from these new assets, should deliver real value for shareholders through our aggressive exploration activity."
Option terms over Leaseholding
Lake has signed an option agreement with Petra Energy S.A. (in formation) under the following terms:
- 4 million LKE shares for a 4 month option period, with 1 million shares on signing and 3 million shares within 60 days, extendable to 6 months with a payment of a further 1 million LKE shares. (50% voluntarily escrowed for 6 months). Due diligence and initial exploration to be undertaken at LKE cost.
- 15 million LKE shares on execution of the option, paid in two tranches, with 7.5 million shares upon execution and 7.5 million shares once 65% of the areas are granted for exploration (which may be simultaneously). (50% voluntarily escrowed for 6 months)
Background on Lithium Pegmatite Belt
Lake and its subsidiaries have maintained an active watch over an area of lithium bearing spodumene pegmatites in the Ancasti Ranges of Catamarca province previously known for small scale lithium production.
Latin Resources (ASX:LRS) announced on 14 June 2016 results of 4.9% LiO2 to 7.1% LiO2 from samples of spodumene from old mine workings, as part of exploration applications over approximately 76,000 Ha. These exploration areas have been since granted and approved for drilling activities.
Separately, a local technical team had conducted a review of the Ancasti Ranges and considered that the belt was substantially larger than the areas held by Latin. Literature reviews, satellite image studies and field visits helped identify a series of pegmatite swarms with lithium bearing potential over a belt of approximately 100km. Eight cateos were applied for with a number now granted and others pending granting. A number of smaller mining leases are also under application.
Initial field visits by Lake personnel have demonstrated outcropping pegmatites with coarse grained spodumene crystals 30-70cm long in a number of locations. Although data is limited, an option agreement was considered a prudent way to further assess the potential.
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About Lake Resources NL
Lake Resources NL (ASX:LKE) is a lithium exploration and development company focused on developing its 3 lithium brine projects and 1 hard rock project in Argentina, all owned 100%. The leases are in a prime location among the lithium sector's largest players within the Lithium Triangle where half of the world's lithium is produced. Lake holds one of the largest lithium tenement packages in Argentina (~180,000Ha) secured in 2016 prior to a significant 'rush' by major companies. The large holdings provides the potential to provide security of supply demanded by battery and electric vehicle manufacturers located.
The three key brine projects, Olaroz/Cauchari, Paso and Kachi, are located adjacent to major world class brine projects either in production or being developed in the highly prospective Jujuy and Catamarca Provinces. The Olaroz-Cauchari project is located in the same basin as Orocobre's Olaroz lithium production and adjoins SQM/Lithium Americas Cauchari project, where high grade lithium (600 mg/L) with high flow rates have been drilled immediately across the lease boundary. The Kachi project covers 50,000 Ha over a salt lake south of FMC's lithium operation and near Albemarle's Antofalla project.
Drilling at Kachi has confirmed a large lithium brine bearing basin over 25km long and over 400m deep. Drilling over Kachi is aimed to produce a resource statement later in 2018. Drilling will commence in coming months at Olaroz-Cauchari now that tenure has been confirmed in a landmark agreement in March 2018. This will provide several catalysts for the company's growth. Scope exists to unlock considerable value through partnerships and corporate deals in the near-term.
Significant corporate transactions continue in adjacent leases with development of SQM/Lithium Americas Olaroz/Cauchari project with an equity/debt investment over $300 million and Advantage Lithium's equity transaction in some of Orocobre's leases. LSC Lithium has also raised over $60 million on a large lease package in similar areas as Lake's properties. Nearby projects of Lithium X were recently acquired via a takeover offer of C$265 million completed March 2018.
The demand for lithium continues to be strong for lithium ion batteries in electric vehicles, according to recent data from the leading independent battery minerals consultant - Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. Supply continues to be constrained suggesting good opportunities for upstream lithium companies for many years.
Latin Resources Limited
Lake Resources NL