Dark Horse Resources investors are all smiles following news the explorer has bought a swag of properties, begun exploring for lithium and has pulled out of its coal project.

Argentina-focused Dark Horse (ASX:DHR) climbed 17 per cent to 0.7c on Friday after confirming it has bought a portfolio of gold-prospective properties in Argentina and wrapped up its involvement in the Pico Quemado coal project.

The Brisbane company will pay around $106,300 in cash and scrip for the gold properties in the Santa Cruz and Rio Negro provinces.

A further 30 million Dark Horse shares will be issued in a year’s time plus a 2 per cent royalty on future sales.

The properties — all at a very early exploration stage — lie within the Deseado Massif, which covers a large region in Santa Cruz province of Argentina.

Santa Cruz is home to several gold mines including GoldCorp’s high-grade Cerro Negro mine and AngloGold Ashanti’s Cerro Vanguardua mine.

Dark Horse plans to begin exploration early in the new year.

Meantime, Dark Horse is focusing on its Pampa Litio lithium properties under lease in Argentina.

Pampa Litio consists of four licences in the San Luis province covering 34,000 hectares. It also features five mining licences and one exploration licence for the Las Tapias mine in Cordoba province.

It will take about two years for Dark Horse to undertake exploration and determine a resource estimate for the properties.

Previous geological work shows the properties have significant lithium potential.

Dark Horse has also terminated its involvement in the Pico Quemado coal project in Argentina where exploration and resource definition failed to live up to the company’s expectations.