Lithium brine explorer Dempsey Minerals (ASX: DMI) will expand its landholding in the Catamarca Province of Argentina’s prolific Hombre Muerto basin, with the pending acquisition of two new exploration tenements and an application for a new exploration licence.
The new tenements at Rana de Sal and Santa Barbara – together with the company’s recently-announced Candelas X application – will conservatively increase Dempsey’s area of interest for the exploration of lithium brines in Hombre Muerto by approximately 35% from 5000 hectares to 6900ha.
Dempsey has acquired 100% interest in Rana de Sal for US$25,000.
The Santa Barbara licences are held under an option agreement whereby Demspey can purchase 100% equity for US$300,000 within three years. Dempsey has already paid US$40,000 on signing of the agreement.
The new exploration licence at Pata Pila, to the south of Rana de Sal, covers a large area of alluvial fan believed to conceal the margin of the Hombre Muerto salar in the west.
Argentina’s lithium triangle
The Hombre Muerto basin is located within the “lithium triangle” between Argentina, Bolivia and Chile and is considered to be one of the world’s most important and prolific salt flats.
The basin has been in production for over 20 years and is known for having the highest grades and lowest impurity levels of any producing salar in Argentina.
Dempsey’s two regions of interest within Hombre Muerto – Candelas in the southeast and Catalina along the western margin – have direct access to the salar including areas of shallow cover by recent alluvium.
The company’s activities are adjacent to Galaxy Resources’ Sal de Vida deposit and the Fenix operation owned by FMC Lithium Corporation.
Dempsey’s acquisitions at Rana de Sal and Santa Barbara will be followed by geophysical work next month, including Controlled Source Audio-Frequency Magnetotellurics (CSAMT) resistivity and gravity surveys.
The work also aims to expand on recent studies at Candelas which defined substantial volumes of highly-conductive and shallow units compatible with units being saturated with brine which remain open largely to the west.
A booming lithium market
The price of lithium has increased significantly in the past two years, in line with worldwide demand for lithium batteries and electric vehicles.
As the demand continues to increase, further upward pressure is expected on lithium prices.
Lithium brine companies are among the mining world’s lowest cost and economic operators, with only a few process steps required between mining and the production of lithium carbonate.
At mid-morning, shares in Dempsey Minerals were up 9.09% to $0.36.