Perfect timing for Aussie to power ahead with Chile lithium mine
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ASX-listed Lithium Power International has sold its Argentinian lithium project right at a time when the metal is going gangbusters on the back of high demand from the rechargeable battery market.
The Sydney-based, pure-play lithium explorer (ASX:LPI) has offloaded the Centenario lithium project to private Aussie company Albertson Resources for $3.75 million.
Centenario consists of six tenements covering an area of 61.5 sq km in the pro-mining province of Salta in Argentina.
The project lies in the Centenario Salar which the company previously indicated was home to lithium brine salar deposits of confirmed economic interest. Only drilled to 150 metres previously, LPI saw potential of finding a second aquifer at depth, as has been the case in other nearby salars.
The salar, around 60 km long, lies in a good neighbourhood. There are a number of other lithium brine operators in the region including Orocobre, FMC, and Western Lithium.
Lithium brine deposits are found in salars – salt lakes – and play an important role in the world’s supply of lithium. In 2015, subsurface brines yielded about half of the world’s lithium production.
So why with all this potential has Lithium Power International divested this lithium project?
According to LPI’s CEO Martin Holland, the sale allows the company to focus all its efforts on the developing Chile’s next lithium mine.
“This sale allows the company to place all our attention on fast tracking the Maricunga lithium project in Chile to accelerate the feasibility study underway and to fast-track the development timeline,” he said.
Focus on Maricunga
As far as lithium brine deposits go, Maricunga is a stand-out.
The project is regarded by LPI management as one of the highest quality undeveloped pre-production lithium brine projects globally, with a very high lithium grade and strong flow rates.
The project lies within the “Lithium Triangle” in northern Chile, home to the largest and highest quality lithium brine deposits.
On top of this, it lies next to the international Chile-Argentina highway and around 170 kilometres northeast of the mining town of Copiapo.
LPI owns 50 per cent of Maricunga in joint venture with Minera Salar Blanco and Minera Li.
Since finalising the Maricunga JV in Sep 2016, LPI has grown the resource by 3.7 fold from the previous 2012 estimate.
Measured, indicated and inferred resources currently stand at 2.15 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent and 5.7Mt of potassium chloride to a depth of 200 metres. Measured and indicated resources make up 80% of the total.
Mineral resources are categorised in order of increasing geological confidence as inferred, indicated or measured.
A pre-feasibility study is underway with targeted release next quarter.
The company listed in June last year, raising $8 million in its IPO. Since then, the stock has traded as high as 47c and as low as 23c. Yesterday, the stock closed at xxxc, up xxx.
At end of July, IPL had $3.6 million cash in the bank. Currently it has a market cap of around $44 million.
Today’s news comes after Latin Resources announced it would focus its attention on its lithium projects in Argentina after selling its Peruvian copper assets.