IPO Watch: This ASX lithium newcomer’s exploration assets are in Argentina’s hottest addresses
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With Liontown Resources’ rejection of Albemarle’s record $5.2bn takeover offer and Pilbara Minerals approving an expansion to 1Mtpa bringing lithium back into view, Argentina-focused Patagonia Lithium appears to have picked just the right time to list on the ASX.
Following an $8.6m initial public offering priced at 20c per share, Patagonia will make its ASX debut on March 31, 2023 under the ticker code PL3, bringing its three Argentina lithium brine projects into sharp focus.
Its flagship Formentera project and the Cilon project cover 1,752 hectares and 199 hectares respectively in the Paso Salar, adjacent to Lake Resources’ Paso project, while the Tomas III project in the Incahuasi Salar covers 571.5 hectares of ground adjacent to projects operated by REMsA – the Salta Government’s minerals and energy division, Power Resources and others.
Formentera is located within one of the major prospective basins of the Puna Salar and is prospective for both lithium and boron based on past sampling by vendor Luis Party.
While this work was not JORC compliant, it nonetheless provided the company with valuable field data.
The concession area is dominated by clastic and saline sedimentation and is about 15km southwest of the Jama salar owned by Litica.
An application with an environmental baseline study has already been lodged for an exploration licence and drill program in the Susques department.
Planned exploration includes surface trenching and sampling, the acquisition of four geophysics lines, and SGS chemical analysis.
The company has flagged the potential to start drilling in July this year and potentially defined initial resources the following month.
Cilon was previously an operating boron mine located on the southern boundary of Formentera and like the larger project, is located in an area dominated by clastic and saline sedimentation.
Remnants of surface excavation can still be seen and sampling of brines sitting on the surface by Patagonia returned very positive results.
It is also the subject of an exploration application.
Executive chairman Phillip Thomas told Stockhead that the surface samples from the Formentera/Cilon projects were very high in lithium while the presence of borates also augers well.
He added the company also owns the entire salar which the two projects are located in, ensuring that it will not have interruptions from other parties pumping brines.
“The two projects are located 18km from Jama village, 3km from sealed highway and Cauchari is only 50km away,” he noted.
“Infrastructure is excellent and the elevation of 4,110m is reasonable and not too high to operate in.”
Meanwhile, Tomas III is located in an area dominated by volcanics and includes a mining licence application in the Tolar Grande department of the Salta Province.
Over here, planned exploration by Patagonia includes mapping, structural geology review, geophysics line and one drill hole when the drill permit is issued.
While the suite of projects located in some of the most prospective lithium areas in Argentina is attraction enough, it is enhanced further by the company’s leadership team, which has considerable experience in both mining and lithium brine.
Executive chairman Phillip Thomas has more than 20 years’ experience working in Argentina on Pocitos, Guayatayoc, Salinas, Grandes, Pozuelos, Rincon and Incahuasi salars.
He is also the president of Singapore-based resources and banking consultancy Panopus, which specialises in valuations and appraisals of mining projects, exploration programs for lithium, advisory, capital raising, and banking feasibility studies, the non-executive chairman of copper producer Austral Resources Australia (ASX:AR1) and a director of AIS Resources.
Meanwhile, non-executive director Gino D’Anna brings experience in Canadian Government and First Nations relations in the mining sector.
He has worked in numerous jurisdictions including Australia, Botswana, Namibia and Canada and has also been involved in the exploration and development of many projects including new discoveries and the continued development of existing discoveries.
D’Anna is currently an executive director of MetalsTech (ASX:MTC), which is developing the Sturec gold mine in Slovakia, and is a founding shareholder and director Askari Metals (ASX:AS2).
Fellow non-executive director Paul Boyatzis has more than 35 years’ experience in investment and equity markets, specifically within emerging growth companies in the resources and financial services sector in Australia and internationally.
He was instrumental in the formation of Nexus Minerals and played a pivotal role in its development as its founding chairman.