Lithium Energy’s ‘highest ever’ upper aquifer grades show previous resource assumptions were wrong … and that’s a good thing
Lithium Energy’s drilling has returned its highest lithium grade to date in the upper aquifer at its flagship Solaroz project in Argentina, indicating that a substantial resource upgrade might be on the cards.
The Solaroz project is located in the heart of Argentina’s ‘lithium triangle’ within the same Olaroz Salar basin that hosts $7.9bn market cap Allkem’s (ASX:AKE) Olaroz joint venture with Toyota Tsusho Corporation) and Lithium Americas’ Olaroz-Cauchari JV with Ganfeng Lithium.
While Solaroz is at a much early stage on the exploration/development timeline compared to its neighbours, exploration results to date have indicated that it has the potential to keep pace with them.
They are certainly enough for Lithium Energy (ASX:LEL) to define a maiden resource totalling 3.3Mt lithium carbonate equivalent and for the project to draw the attention of multiple, major third parties active in the EV battery sector.
In late August, the company added that the seventh hole in its current step-out drill program had returned assays of 386mg/l lithium from 209m to 233m in the undrilled Payo 1 concession, highlighting the potential for further expansion of lithium mineralisation at Solaroz.
The same hole has now returned the project’s top assay of 483mg/l lithium from a depth of 233m to 257m within the upper aquifer at Payo 1.
Continuous lithium brine mineralisation totalling 110m has now being intersected in the upper aquifer in hole SOZDD007.
Additionally, target depth of the hole has been increased to 750m as drilling continues at a current depth of 639m in a transition from halite to the Deep Sand Unit (the lower aquifer).
This has the potential to deliver even higher grades as the lithium grades encountered in the lower aquifer at Solaroz are typically higher than in the upper aquifer.
Continuity of lithium mineralisation is also likely as the lithology of SOZDD007 to date is comparable to that of Drillhole 3 (SOZDD003) about 6km to the south.
“We are extremely pleased to have encountered the highest grade of lithium to date in the upper aquifer at Solaroz, at drillhole 7 in the Payo 1 concession. This result confirms the potential for continuity of lithium grades to the north of the Solaroz concessions,” executive chairman William Johnson said.
He added that one of assumptions made in the maiden resource estimate was that in the absence of drill data in the northern part of Solaroz at that time, the lithium grades were expected to decline to the north.
“These initial results from drillhole 7 indicate that this may not be the case,” he explained.
“We keenly await the next assay results as drilling transitions into the Deep Sand Unit in Hole 7 as we test this target to a depth of 750 metres.”
Lithium Energy has commenced drilling at Hole 8 (SOZDD008) on the Chico 1 concession.
This hole is located along a 15km zone where previous drilling had returned massive intersections of lithium-rich brines in the upper and lower aquifers up to 489m thick and with grades of up to 594mg/l.
SOZDD008 is currently at a depth of 106m and is transitioning from brackish water to brine. It has a planned depth of 550m to test the extent of lithium mineralisation.
This article was developed in collaboration with Lithium Energy, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.