- Lithium Chile hits 180-meter brine-saturated zone on its first drill hole in Chile – home to the world’s highest-grade lithium brines
- Company is awaiting assays and is now onto its next drill hole at the Ollague project
- Prior sampling of lithium brines at project site range from 160 to 1,220 mg/l lithium
- Lithium demand from battery makers for electric vehicles, laptops and other digital devices expected to grow 650 percent during coming decade
Early results from an exploratory drilling program under way in Chile – part of the famed lithium triangle – is evidence of growing excitement in Lithium Chile Inc. (TSX.V: LITH) (OTCQB: LTMCF) and the potential of its Ollague property to help answer the world’s need for highly efficient batteries to power increasingly demanding technology.
The four-hole drilling program began in late June on a site that returned sampling of lithium brine assays between 160 and 1,220 milligrams per liter, according to a news release about the program (http://nnw.fm/50XQx). In other words, the company knows that there are brines containing high-grade lithium on the property.
The first hole has now been completed and, per the news release, field testing during drilling showed a 180-meter-deep brine-saturated zone of salt and sand. The company has sent the brine samples to one of Chile’s top accredited laboratories to get official assays, which are required to determine the quantity and quality of lithium that may be contained in that brine.
It’s worth noting that just one kilometer from that hole is a recently re-entered historic well. It’s located just outside the property border and was flushed, allowed to recharge and then sampled. The new brine samples contained 1,220 mg/l lithium. The news release states that these results suggest a significant concentration of the mineral in the area. As a comparison, Albemarle’s massive lithium brine mine in the United States has a concentration of lithium between 190 and 200 mg/l.
The Ollague salar covers 3,500 hectares (8,648.7 acres), a fraction of Lithium Chile’s 152,900-hectare (377,824.1-acre) portfolio comprising sections of 14 salars and one laguna complex in Chile. The drilling is prioritizing conductive targets identified in a transient electromagnetic survey (TEM) earlier this year (http://nnw.fm/cUgT5). The Ollague survey indicated that the conductive units are open-ended horizontal zones ranging from 20 to 200 meters in thickness encountered within 20 to 120 meters of the surface.
“After amassing one of the largest lithium land packages in Chile, we have now begun drilling on one of our more advanced projects which have had sampling and geophysics completed on them,” Lithium Chile President and CEO Steve Cochrane stated in a news release. “The new government has been clear in its support for the lithium sector and we are similarly encouraged by the strong community support we have received. This is an exciting new growth phase for the Company and our goal is to maximize our early-mover exploration advantage in Chile.”
The project is also close to the town of Ollague and existing infrastructure for production and transportation. The company will be reviewing data from the drills for lithology and depth-specific geochemicals. Once the initial four-hole drilling at Ollague is finished, Lithium Chile plans to undertake similar drilling programs at its four other advanced-stage projects in the region, working in quick succession so that drilling could potentially be concluded by late in the Q3 period.
Lithium has become a target of several junior miners amid global concerns about a supply/demand imbalance that has driven significant stock swings for the commodity. Demand from the companies that make batteries for electric cars, laptops and other tech devices is expected to increase 650 percent by 2027, with overall lithium demand predicted to triple during that period, according to the latest report by international metals and minerals research agency Roskill (http://nnw.fm/97IrO).
Lithium is the lightest metal in the periodic table and has the most electrochemical potential, which allows it to register very high energy and power densities. It has the highest specific heat capacity of any solid, coupled with a low density that makes it a preferred component of small, lightweight batteries.
Last year, the automotive industry became the biggest influencer on the lithium industry amid the increasing use of lithium-ion batteries for both hybrid and fully electric vehicle applications. Lithium demand from automotive applications reached over 34,000 lithium carbonate equivalents (LCEs) per ton during the year, and it is expected to more than double by the end of the decade, according to Roskill (http://nnw.fm/B4geg). The agency reported that rechargeable batteries accounted for over 43 percent of total lithium demand during 2017.
For more information, visit the company’s website at http://nnw.fm/LTMCF
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