Phase 3 extension on the cards as Latin’s Salinas resource vaults 56pc
Special Report: Latin Resources has reported a whopping 56% increase in the global resource at its Salinas lithium project in Brazil to 70.3Mt at 1.27% Li2O.
Smack bang in the lithium-rich Bananal Valley region of the pro mining state of Minas Gerais, Colina is a direct neighbour to Sigma Lithium’s (TSXV:SGML) 766,000tpa Grota do Cirilo project which entered production earlier this year.
Latin Resources (ASX:LRS) recently defined a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) for the project which proposes a 3.6Mtpa standalone mining and processing operation over two phases.
The PEA highlighted an after-tax NPV of A$3.6 billion (US$2.5 billion) and combined after-tax IRR of 132%.
A robust five-month program of resource expansion drilling at the flagship Colina deposit has now resulted in a resource jump from 45.2Mt at 1.32% Li2O back in June to 63.5Mt at 1.3% Li2O (1.73Mt at 1.47% Li2O measured and 39.29Mt at 1.36% Li2O indicated) and 22.47Mt at 1.21% Li2O inferred.
That’s a 41% increase, placing Colina amongst one of the largest scale Tier-One undeveloped lithium resources globally.
The maiden resource at Fog’s Block has also been reported at 6.8Mt at 0.9% Li2O inferred for a combined global mineral resource of now 70.3Mt at 1.27% of Li2O.
Not only has the Colina resource increased by around 41%, the contained Lithium Carbonate Equivalent (LCE) has increased from 1.47Mt to 2.05Mt.
It also represents a 65% increase into the measured and indicated categories – reflecting the high levels of confidence in both the geological continuity and grade of the Colina pegmatites – and an 11% increase in the grade of the resources from 1.34% to 1.47%, resulting from closer spaced infill drilling.
Along with a maiden resource, the company also identified significant upside growth potential identified at Fog’s Block, with SGS confirming an independently estimated Exploration Target Range (ETR) of 7-18Mt at grades ranging from 0.8-1.1% Li2O, displaying Salinas’ potential target of over 80Mt with further drilling.
“This project is fast becoming a Tier One lithium resource as we predicted,” LRS managing director Chris Gale said.
“We are also very encouraged by the consistent uplift in grade as we infill drill.
“This is a great sign of a quality mineral resource.
“The increase in size of the JORC resource will have an extremely positive impact on our DFS economics as the resource increase allows us to evaluate building phase 3 of the project lifting output significantly.
“The lithium market sentiment is low at the moment; however, no one can say Latin hasn’t delivered what it has promised over the last 2 years.”
An ongoing resource definition drilling program at Colina commenced in December 2023 and will continue into the first quarter of 2024, focused on infill and extensional drilling.
In addition, an ongoing exploration program at the Fog’s Block deposit and Fog’s East prospect will be undertaken in 2024 to test outcropping spodumene bearing pegmatites.
Then there’s the newly discovered Plan Alto prospect, where a discovery hole intersected pegmatites with approximately 45m of cumulative spodumene mineralisation, including one single spodumene rich pegmatite of over 18m.
The company has planned an extensive follow-up drilling program at Plan Alto with the aim of providing sufficient drill coverage to enable the calculation of a maiden resource for the area, with drilling scheduled to commence in early 2024.
A Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) is also in the works (due in mid-2024) with the substantial resource update expected to have a significant impact on the project economics.
The initial PEA mining plan for the project allowed for a Phase 1 production commencing in 2026 with Phase 2 average production of 525,000 tpa SC5.5 and 159,000 tpa SC3 commencing 2029.
The resource increase will now include a Phase 3 extension and expansion to production which will be evaluated in the DFS.
“It has been a busy 12 months on site at Salinas in 2023 to achieve this exceptional result, and the whole team is looking forward to continuing our efforts in 2024,” LRS vice president of operations – Americas, Tony Greenaway said.
“Our initial focus early in the new year will be to further upgrade the Colina deposit to enable the declaration of mineral reserves as part of the DFS process, after which we will eagerly resume our exploration focus specifically targeting the emerging Fog’s Block deposit, and our newly discovered Planalto prospect where our first hole has intersected a wide pegmatite system.”
This article was developed in collaboration with Latin Resources, 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.