- Lithium demand continues to grow, partly fueled by Chinese EV production
- Local community gives consent for drilling at 3,500 hectare Ollagüe Project
- Early assays at Ollagüe yield samples with significant lithium values
Recent news from the Lithium Triangle shows that Lithium Chile Inc. (TSX.V: LITH) (OTC: LTMCF) is advancing its efforts to produce the precious mineral, which continues to experience demand pressure. The Canadian mining company recently announced that it had received authorization from the Ollagüe (O-YA-GWAY) community to begin an exploration drilling program at its project there, which extends for 3,500 hectares on the Salar de Ollagüe. Early assays have been promising, yielding samples with significant lithium values. These findings boost Lithium Chile’s credentials as a future supplier. The company now owns 15 projects, encompassing 152,900 hectares on lithium-rich salars and lagunas in Chile. It is the owner of the largest privately owned portfolio of lithium claims in Chile.
Lithium continues its celebrity status as global electric vehicle (EV) adoption rises. In the world’s largest market, China, this embracement is supported by central and provincial governments, which are offering a range of subsidies to Chinese manufacturers. As a result, China’s electric car market is growing twice as fast as that of the U.S., according to a report in the South China Morning Post (http://nnw.fm/9z7YI). That rapid growth is likely to be maintained for quite a while. Motor vehicle market penetration in China, at present, is a paltry 154 units per 1,000 people; in the U.S., the comparable figure, 910, is almost six times as high. Moreover, at 1.4 billion, the Chinese population is about four times the size of the U.S. population. Together, these two factors suggest that China’s voracious appetite for lithium will continue to maintain a tight market, with lithium prices continuing at their exalted levels. Global lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) contract prices are around $16,000 per metric ton; they have risen about 20 percent over the past year.
Lithium Chile plans to be part of that supply chain. The company now has a lithium property portfolio consisting of 14 salars and one laguna complex in Chile. The properties include 64 square kilometers on the Salar de Atacama, which hosts the world’s highest concentration of lithium brine production and is currently the source of approximately 30 percent of the world’s lithium production. Lithium Chile’s extensive holdings are the largest held by any private pure play lithium operator. Extending over 152,900 hectares (590 square miles), the claims cover an area much larger than Hong Kong, at 424 square miles.
Lithium Chile Inc. has commenced a four-hole drill program at its Ollague project in Chile, where a recently completed sampling program encountered lithium brines assaying from 160 milligrams per liter to a high of 1,220 mg/L.
The Ollagüe Project, which covers some 3,500 hectares (13.5 square miles) on the Salar de Ollagüe, is close to the town of Ollagüe, which, surprisingly for its remote location, boasts a great deal of infrastructure. For example, since the late nineteenth century, a railway has joined Ollagüe to the Chilean port of Antofagasta, 3,696 miles away.
A comprehensive sampling program has encountered near-surface lithium brines assaying from 160 to 1,140 mg per liter of lithium, with good chemistries. In addition, recent old water well sampling has encountered sub-surface lithium bearing brines assaying 180 to 1,220 mg per liter of lithium.
A property-wide transient electromagnetic survey (TEM) has identified several large, high-priority target areas. The TEM, covering 25 square kilometers of the Ollagüe project, has indicated a number of continuous conductive units over much of the property (http://nnw.fm/3Ee9C). The TEM survey also indicated these conductive units to be open-ended horizontal zones varying from 20 to over 200 meters in thickness and within 20 to 120 meters of surface. Lithium Chile believes that the zones reflect saline aquifers, since, generally, they exhibit resistivity values of less than three ohms. Highly conductive readings have generally been found to indicate a high content of lithium brine in most other salar basins in the area. The presence of lithium lowers the resistivity of water to electricity, so heightened conductivity may indicate the presence of lithium
For more information, visit the company’s website at http://nnw.fm/LTMCF
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