The salar that Lithium Power International intends to exploit lies at over 3,750 metres above sea level near to the Argentine border in the high Atacama desert, one of the driest places on the planet, with attendant advantages for evaporation rates, while enjoying the heightened confidence that investors have in the Chilean mining regime. The recent Chilean presidential elections also resulted in a swing towards a more business-friendly regime with a President with past connections to the mining sector having been elected.
The project had been long mired in the financial misfortunes of a TSX-listed entity called Li3 Energy which had lacked the funds to advance the project beyond some initial exploration that petered out several years ago. Meanwhile exploration of the rest of the salar was non-existent as it was held by the long disinterested majors, CODELCO and SQM. This has changed in recent times with CODELCO (the massive state-owned copper miner) having decided to energise interest in its holdings on the salar by putting them out to public tender.
LPI signed its JV earn-in agreements relatively recently (in the second half of 2016) and has since been in a frenzy of upgrading data and "mine"-planning that has taken it in just over year to the point where a production decision is within sight and the project is in a state that potential offtakers can have confidence that Maricunga is one of the real projects in a universe of over-promoted projects that have little prospect of coming to fruition.
In this review we shall go over the specifics of the project and the dynamics of Chile without reiterating the obvious on the current evolution of the Lithium demand space.
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About Lithium Power International Ltd
Lithium Power International Limited (ASX:LPI) (FRA:24L) is a pure-play lithium explorer and developer, focusing on developing and fast-tracking to production the high-grade Maricunga lithium brine project in Chile.
LPI has a well known performing technical team with the experience to take the Maricunga project all the way through the development stages to production.
The regions that LPI is currently focussed on are:
1. Maricunga JV (Chile) – On 13th September 2016, Lithium Power announced the creation of a new JV to develop the world-class Maricunga lithium brine deposit in northern Chile.
2. Pilbara (Western Australia) – LPI has one granted exploration tenement and two pending exploration applications covering 203km2 in the Pilbara region of northern Western Australia. The largest granted exploration tenement is at Pilgangoora-Houston Creek is 2-3km west of the Pilbara Minerals (PLS.ASX) and Altura Mining (AJM.ASX) lithium deposits.
3. Greenbushes (Western Australia) – LPI has two granted exploration tenements covering 400km2 in the Greenbushes area of southern Western Australia. The tenements are adjacent to the world’s largest hard rock lithium mine owned & operated by Tianqi/Talison.
4. Centenario (Argentina) –Through its Argentinian subsidiary, Lithium Power holds a total of 6 granted tenements in the Centenario lithium brine salar within the Salta province of the Puna Plateau. In total, the 6 granted tenements cover an area of 61.52km2. In addition, there is 1 further tenement in the grant review stage.
With the exception of the Maricunga JV, all tenements are 100% owned by LPI or LPSA (including rights to the Centenario tenement which is the subject of review by the Argentinian mining authorities).
ContactMartin C Holland - CEO
Lithium Power International
Lithium Power International Ltd (ASX:LPI) Update on Sale of the Centenario Lithium Project in Argentina