Maricunga exploration drilling program ahead of schedule with three out of five core holes (S-25, S-26 and S27) completed to the target depth of 400m. and core hole #4 now passing 300m. Completion of final hole #5 is now expected by mid-May.
A total of 31 undisturbed core samples collected from core holes S-25 and S-26 have been sent to GeoSystems Analysis laboratory in the US for drainable porosity and other hydraulic parameters.
56 brine samples collected and sent to Andes Analytical Assay Labs for chemical analysis. Positive preliminary sample analyses indicate expected average lithium concentrations are above 1,000 ppm mg/l and positive relationships of lithium to calcium and magnesium.
Correlation between drill holes for resource expansion confirms the existing geological model below 200m, as well as the existing hydrogeological model characteristics of the area, confirming favourable specific yield and permeability characteristics between 200 and 400m.
Activities for the DFS update with engineering consultants Worley commenced during the first week of April. Several opportunities for improvement have been detected.
Optimisation of the production process continues with GEA Messo in Germany. Final tests for the solvent extraction (SX) removal plant and the Ion Exchange plant now finalised (Outotec and Eurodia respectively). Basic engineering has already commenced by GEA for the re-sizing of the plant.
LPI recommenced exploration in Greenbushes, Western Australia at the beginning of 2021, completing initial laterite and soil sampling.
Drilling program ahead of schedule with three exploration core holes (S-25, S-26 and S27) completed to the target depth of 400m and core hole #4 now passing 300m. Completion now expected by early May.
A total of 31 undisturbed core samples collected from core holes S-25 and S-26 have been sent to GeoSystems Labs in the US for drainable porosity and other hydraulic parameters.
56 brine samples collected and sent to Andes Analytical Assay Labs for chemical analysis. Positive preliminary sample analysis indicates average lithium concentrations above 1,000 ppm and positive lithium/calcium/magnesium ratio.
Activities for the DFS update with Worley commenced during the first week of April. Several opportunities for improvement have been detected.
Optimisation of the production process continues with GEA Messo in Germany. Final tests for the SX Removal plant and the Ion Exchange plant now finalized (Outotec and Eurodia respectively). Basic engineering already commenced by GEA for the re-sizing of the plant.
Two of five diamond core holes (S-25 and S-26) completed to the target depth of 400m ahead of schedule.
Undisturbed core samples collected between 200m and 400m depth and sent for analysis for laboratory measurement of drainable porosity and other hydraulic parameters.
Positive preliminary field analysis for resource expansion confirmed the expected geological structure for the interval, as well as the existing hydrogeological model of the area, all with favourable specific yield and permeability characteristics.
Positive brine density from the samples collected at 12m intervals during the drilling and preliminary measurements at the wellhead indicate high lithium concentrations, similar to the ones found on the 0 m to 200 m interval. Significant resource expansion is expected.
Holes S-25 and S-26 will be used as observation wells during the long-term pumping test planned in adjacent production well P-5, which is currently being drilled by Andinor with a 30% advance to date, also ahead of schedule.
Optimisation of the production process continues with GEA Messo in Germany, with basic engineering already commenced for the re-sizing of the plant.
Exploration has commenced to define drill targets within the previously identified arsenic lithium anomalies.
One important area, Balingup East, is a northern extension of the arsenic anomaly associated with the Giant LCT Pegmatite which is mined by Talison at their Greenbushes operation. Balingup East has strongly elevated arsenic in Iaterite > 500ppm along with elevated As, Sn, Cs, Bi, Nb, Rb and Sb.
Regional Iaterite and rock chip sampling is also commencing in areas that previously were not tested by LPI.
LPI’s Greenbushes tenements cover 39,800 ha north and south of the Greenbushes mine.
A staged development approach was announced for our flagship Maricunga Lithium Project in Chile, with Stage One to fast-track the properties known as “Old Code” concessions.
Stage One has a name plate capacity of 15,000 tonnes-per-year of very high purity lithium carbonate over a 20-year mine life. Significant expansion potential exists from subsequent stages.
LPI raised A$8.0 million in a placement to sophisticated and global institutional investors, with Directors participating for A$0.3 million in a second tranche of the placement.
Maricunga Stage One is now fully funded through the working program established for 2021 . Financing activities for off-take agreements and equity and debt funding are to be sped-up via our financial adviser, Treadstone Resource Partners, to ensure continuity in the fast-tracking of a sustainable and fully permitted project.
A work program involving a comprehensive internal review of the project’s technical and economic design is underway. It includes further drilling to expand resources, as well as an update of the existing Definitive Feasibility Study prepared by Worley and GEA Messo in accordance with JORC and NI 43-101 international standards.
An exploration plan has been finalised at the Greenbushes tenements in Western Australia, located adjacent to the world-scale Greenbushes Lithium mine, and activities are underway. The prime focus is on targets identified during prior field work. Completion is expected by the end of Q1 2020.
The 100 per cent-owned Greenbushes tenements cover 39,800 ha north and south of the Greenbushes mine owned and operated by major lithium producers Albemarle and Tianqi.
The northern tenement is immediately adjacent to the Greenbushes mine and has been the focus of most exploration activity by LPI in late 2019 and early 2020.
Exploration defined the 3 by 1 km Balingup East Target as a continuation of the large arsenic lithium halo around the nearby giant Greenbushes lithium mine. 201 Surface samples were taken over 60 km2, with further sampling planned to define drill targets.
LPl identified further drill targets in the East Kirup area to the north of Balingup, over 3 by 0.5 km, with pegmatite outcrop in the prospective amphibolite unit.
LPI has received drilling approval and will be conducting additional geochemical sampling before drilling commences.
In line with its commitment to generate value for its shareholders the Company has decided to advance the low cost Maricunga Lithium Brine Project in a number of stages by fast-tracking a first stage development. This development strategy will be undertaken as the company also continues to pursue the original and larger project.
Activities at Maricunga continue under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Chilean State-owned mining company, CODELCO, and the project’s joint venture company, Minera Salar Blanco S.A. (MSB). They are expected to be finalised in coming months.
The Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) bidding process for the Maricunga development has advanced. Two major global engineering groups, Worley Parsons and Bechtel, have each submitted comprehensive proposals and both are being evaluated by MSB, taking the COVID-19 situation into account.
Financial structuring for the Maricunga project continues, with Treadstone Resource Partners being appointed as LPI’s and MSB’s advisor. Discussions continue with parties on project funding - equity and debt - and also on off-take agreements. COVID-19, however, has presented challenges for the initial time schedule.
Reviews and cost reductions have been undertaken in all operations in light of COVID-19. The Company remains focused on minimising costs and preserving cash reserves during this challenging period.
In July 2020, the Company executed a Tenement Acquisition Agreement with ASX-listed company Carnaby Resources Limited (ASX:CNB) to sell the Strelley Exploration Licence for 1,250,000 fully paid ordinary Carnaby shares. LPI will receive a 1% Net Smelter Return royalty for all gold produced from the tenement and retain all mineral rights for lithium, caesium, tantalum and tin contained within the tenement.
Results of a drilling program and the additional mapping, sampling and re-analysis of data undertaken at the Pilgangoora tenement placed no exploitable value on this tenement. The company is now in the process of finalising the tenement’s sale.
Due diligence on the Maricunga lithium brine project continues under the Memorandum of Understanding (MCU) between the Chilean State-owned mining company, CODELCO, and the project’s joint venture company, Minera Salar Blanco S.A. (MSB). The Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) bidding process for Maricunga has advanced. Two major global engineering groups, Worley Parsons and Bechtel, each submitted comprehensive proposals for the project. Both are being evaluated by MSB and its owner’s engineering company. Financial structuring for the Maricunga project continues, with Treadstone Resource Partners being appointed as LPI and MSB’s advisor. Discussions continue with parties on project funding - equity and debt — and off-take agreements. COVID-19, however, has presented challenges with respect to the timings initially expected. The company remains confident that the process will have a positive conclusion within the next few months. Following field work conducted in Western Australia (WA) during the past three years, an assessment and rationalisation of the Company’s WA tenements has been completed. Future exploration is to be focused on the Greenbushes and Tabba Tabba tenements, and the Strelley and Pilgangoora tenements will be divested. The Company completed the sale of Strelley to Carnaby Resources Ltd (ASX: CRN) for 1,250,000 fully paid shares in CRN plus an NSR royalty of 1%, while retaining specific mineral rights over the tenement. A Program of Works for the exploration of the Greenbushes tenements in Western Australia has been approved by the WA Mining Department. It has been integrated with the Environmental and Conservation Management Plan previously approved, to allow the Greenbushes project to be "exploration ready". Reviews and cost reductions have been undertaken of all operational divisions in light of CCVID—19. The Company remains focused on minimising costs during this challenging period.