Argosy Minerals (ASX: AGY) has reported it is on track for producing its first battery grade lithium carbonate equivalent product from its Rincon project by the end of March 2018.
Situated in Argentina’s lithium triangle, the Rincon project encompasses 2,345 hectares with mining titles in the Salta Province.
Stage two development at Rincon, which involves producing the battery grade lithium via its pilot plant developed during stage one, is nearing completion.
The pilot plant will be able to produce up to 500 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent annually for the battery market.
Stage two earthmoving at the evaporation ponds has finished with lining material installed across 75% of the area.
A production well has been drilled and will be used to pump the lithium brine into the ponds to undergo traditional solar evaporation. After evaporation has occurred, the resultant lithium brine concentrate will be processed further at the pilot plant to produce the battery grade lithium carbonate equivalent.
Despite a short delay in receiving requisite piping, pond work is expected to be completed by the end of this month. Once flow rates are determined from the production well, Argosy Minerals anticipates it will begin pumping lithium brine into the stage two ponds – also at the end of the month.
Under stage one, Argosy Minerals created a little over 1 hectare of evaporation ponds, which have been concentrating lithium brine since April.
Combined with stage two, Argosy Minerals will have more than 11 hectares of evaporation ponds concentrating the lithium brine during the project’s 2017 to 2018 peak solar evaporating season.
The lithium brine concentrate is anticipated to be available for processing by the end of March 2018 to produce the battery grade product.
In addition to fast-tracking development at Rincon, the company is carrying out resource drilling to develop a JORC-compliant estimate in early 2018, with assays from two holes pending.
Upon completion of stage two works, Argosy Minerals’ stake in the project will increase to 77.5%.
Full scale commercial production is targeted through stage three development which will boost Argosy Minerals’ holding in the project to 90%.
Argosy Minerals managing director Jerko Zuvela said the company was also reviewing and assessing other mining concessions to increase the Rincon project’s potential.
Shares in the company were up more than 8% in early afternoon trade.