Drilling continues at Kachi Lithium Project
- Drilling continues within lithium brines at Lake's 100%-owned Kachi Lithium Brine Project in Catamarca Province, Argentina.
- Thick porous sands, which are excellent horizons for brines, have proven challenging to drill with slow progress, delaying the delivery of sufficient brine samples for results.
- Another drill rig is being contracted for immediate commencement to advance drill progress.
- Drilling is targeting depth of 300 metres to intersect further horizons which may show significant grades as suggested by nearby third party drilling.
- Discussions are progressing well to grant access to areas in Jujuy Province adjacent to SQM/Lithium Americas' and Orocobre's respective projects in Jujuy.
Drilling has been slower than anticipated due to the challenging nature of the sandy horizons with drilling advancing 25m in January. This has delayed the anticipated brine samples for assay results. As a result, Lake has contracted a larger drilling rig for immediate commencement to advance drill progress. The rig that has been contracted is a rotary rig better suited for testing brines rather than geology.
Drilling is aimed at reaching a target depth of 300m to intersect further brine horizons which are anticipated at depth. These may show significant results as suggested by nearby third party drilling with results above 250 mg/L lithium below 170m depth.
Kachi Lithium Brine Project - Background
The Kachi Lithium Brine Project covers over 50,000 ha of mining leases owned 100% by Lake's Argentine subsidiary, Morena del Valle Minerals SA, over the centre of the known salt lakes in the deepest part of a large basin. Surface sampling has revealed positive lithium results and drilling has shown conductive brines in thick porous sands with the potential for a significant lithium brine basin.
The company has a focus on an inclusive approach with local communities together with appropriate environmental management. A Letter of Intent was signed with Catamarca Province to facilitate the project through various permitting stages from exploration to production which bodes well for the future.
Update on Olaroz Cauchari Project in Jujuy Province
Lake also advises shareholders that discussions are progressing well to grant exploration access to areas within Lake's ~19,000 hectare Olaroz Cauchari Project in Jujuy Province. The project is adjacent to SQM/Lithium Americas development project and Orocobre's lithium production and targets the same aquifers.
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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 provide the potential to provide security of supply demanded by battery makers and electric vehicle manufacturers.
The two flagship lithium brine projects are Kachi and Olaroz/Cauchari, 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/Gangfeng/Lithium Americas Cauchari project, with high grade lithium (600 mg/L) with high flow rates drilled immediately across the lease boundary. Drilling is planned to commence in early October 2018 Cauchari with a three hole programme to intersect and extend the same lithium brine aquifers identified in the adjoining world-class lithium resource. Lake Resources aims to repeat the same high grade lithium results in its leases as the recent geophysics shows the likely extension of the same horizon into Lake's leases. Drilling will follow later at Olaroz once the methodology is proven at Cauchari.
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 22km long and over 400m deep. Drilling over Kachi is aimed to produce a resource statement in 2018, anticipated in Oct 2018. A new direct extraction method is being tested in partnership with Lilac Solutions which promises far higher recoveries and in significantly shorter timelines, which will be trialled in tandem with conventional methods as part of a PFS after the resource statement. 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/Gangfeng/Lithium Americas Cauchari project. Gangfeng recently announced a US$237 million transaction to acquire 37% of the project from SQM, with a two year timeline to initial production. Projects nearby to Kachi and FMC's Hombre Muerto were recently acquired via a takeover offer of C$265 million for Lithium X, completed in March 2018, and the northern half of Galaxy's Sal de Vida resource, purchased for US$280 million by POSCO in June 2018. Major players in the lithium supply chain continue to secure prime projects in the best locations globally.
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.
Lake Resources NL