- Lithium Chile on second stage of four-hole drill project in the world’s highest-grade lithium jurisdiction
- Company expects to complete additional projects for assay by end of Q3
- Lithium demand from computerized electronics industry expected to remain strong during coming decade, with 650 percent growth forecast
The team at Lithium Chile, Inc. (TSX.V: LITH) (OTCQB: LTMCF) is excited by drilling progress at the company’s Salar de Ollague project in Chile. The first core and liquid samples from a four-hole drilling program on the property are being assayed (tested) for their potential in meeting electronic device battery needs across the planet.
Preliminary results from the first drill hole, announced on July 23, 2018, showed salinity in a zone between 110 and 290 meters deep. That’s 180 meters of brine, and the assays will identify any lithium content and determine the amount and the grade. Salars are dried lake beds, and the underground reservoirs of salt-rich brines found below such old lake beds have become a favorite target for mineral exploration. This is because the cost of extracting dissolved salts like lithium, potassium and sodium from the brines is far less than the cost of the historically favored hard rock extraction efforts.
How strong does the lithium brine need to be? Well, lithium brine is typically measured in parts per million (“ppm”), and this can alternatively be expressed as milligrams per liter (mg/L). At Albemarle’s massive lithium brine mine in the United States (http://nnw.fm/FeS7P), a concentration of lithium between 190 and 200 ppm has been sufficient for production. However, the first of Lithium Chile’s four drill holes is located about a kilometer from a test well where new fluid samples were recently assayed at 1,220 mg/L of lithium, according to a company news release (http://nnw.fm/En7zx). That 600 percent higher than Albermarle’s U.S. operation.
The samples taken from the first hole are being assayed at internationally-accredited laboratory ALS Patagonia’s nearby facilities in northern Chile for a chemical analysis that determines the concentration of lithium in the brine. Drilling has begun at the second hole, two kilometers southwest of the first.
The Ollague salar is 3,500 hectares (8,648.7 acres) in size. Lithium Chile’s portfolio includes 14 salar explorations and one laguna (surface water) complex, which makes it the largest lithium resource property owner in Chile, outside of SQM and the government itself. Due to its high grades and the sheer size of its lithium reserves, Chile is the most important player in the famed Lithium Triangle of Chile, Bolivia and Argentina, where 75 percent of the world’s available lithium is located. When Lithium Chile completes the four-hole drilling project that began in June, it plans to start similar projects at four other advanced-stage sites, potentially wrapping up before the end of Q3.
Lithium’s critical importance to the low-heat, lightweight batteries that supply high-energy outputs to the computerized electronics industry make it an attractive commodity with a forecast demand-supply imbalance that gives it a likelihood of strong pricing for the next decade. International metals and minerals research agency Roskill predicts that overall lithium demand will triple by 2027, with demand specific to the electronics industry rising 650 percent (http://nnw.fm/2anrC).
This forecast reflects a change in consumption of the lightweight metal. While it has seen surging popularity in recent years for items such as mobile phones and laptop computers, global politics driving climate change policy are also creating a massive boom in electric vehicle and hybrid production and marketing. These regulatory shifts made the automotive industry the most influential entity affecting lithium industry forecasts last year, according to Roskill (http://nnw.fm/B4geg).
“The new government (of Chile) 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,” Lithium Chile President and CEO Steve Cochrane stated in a June news release (http://nnw.fm/GEm7j).
For more information, visit the company’s website at http://nnw.fm/LTMCF
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