- Assay work underway to complete five-hole exploration project at Chile’s northeastern border
- Assay of first Lithium Chile exploratory hole has returned results rivaling other companies’ projects in neighboring Argentina
- Lithium Chile holds one of the largest lithium land holdings in a country that has about 50 percent of the world’s reserves
After securing one of the largest lithium land holdings in one of the largest lithium-producing nations on Earth, mineral explorer Lithium Chile Inc. (TSX.V: LITH) (OTCQB: LTMCF) is expecting good news resulting from its drilling program near Chile’s northeastern border with Bolivia.
The region known widely as the ‘Lithium Triangle’ has become renowned for exploration and extraction of the lightweight metal, which is much sought-after for its heat-resistant properties in computer-driving batteries — particularly the large ones in use in electric vehicle engines, as those EVs are gaining a pollution-fighting gravitas worldwide.
Lithium Chile’s current five-hole program at a dried salt lake bed near the village of Ollague is being assayed, with results from the first hole fueling hopes that the zone will become a significant mineralization site for the company.
A fifth drill site was added to the original four-hole project last month based on findings from the first hole that showed increasing grades of lithium as the drill reached lower depths. The drilling of the original holes was terminated at 250 meters in accordance with the surface rights contract negotiated with the community of Ollague, but the additional fifth hole was approved to go to 500 meters (http://ibn.fm/Pe3ia).
Assay results from the other four holes have not yet been released, but the company stated that the results from the first hole showed lithium concentrations on par with the average grades in Argentina, which shares the Lithium Triangle’s borders with Chile and Bolivia.
Chile is home to about half of the world’s identified reserves of lithium and has traditionally been the world’s largest producer, although Australia overtook Chile for the top producer spot last year, according to Mining.com (http://ibn.fm/zYcDi), amid debate in Chile over the cumulative impact of loosely measured water rights granted to copper and lithium miners in the world’s most arid desert, according to Reuters (http://ibn.fm/uij3R). New quota agreements finalized this year with the only two companies currently extracting lithium from the Salar de Atacama, the salt bed with 81 percent of the country’s reserves, are expected to boost Chile back into the top position, according to the report.
Lithium clearly has a key economic importance to Chile, and the government has been friendly to explorers, despite the concerns about water rights and additional concerns about how some of the salt brines are being processed. The country generally provides nearly 40 percent of the world’s supply of lithium and, by 2025, can expect to be producing about 45 percent of the predicted 484,000 tons per year of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) global demand, according to Leonidas Osses Sagredo, the president of the Commission on Lithium at Chile’s Institute of Mine Engineers (http://ibn.fm/Lkogm). That figure alone shows the rosy expectations for lithium demand, given that, in 2017, the worldwide market for lithium was estimated at 37,000 tons, which is equal to 197,000 tons of LCE, according to his report.
Lithium Chile’s portfolio covers 152,900 hectares (377,824 acres), where 14 dry salars and one wet laguna complex are located, including 6,600 hectares (16,309 acres) in the Salar de Atacama. The company has announced plans to conduct similar drill hole explorations at four of its advanced-stage projects once work is completed at the Salar de Ollague.
For more information, visit the company’s website at http://ibn.fm/LTMCF
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