Exploration company Galan Lithium (ASX: GLN) has kicked off early foundation works for a feasibility study at its flagship Hombre Muerto West (HMW) project in Argentina’s famed “lithium triangle”.
The company has appointed WSP Consulting Chile and SRK Consulting (Australia) to source the geological data required to transform the project’s huge resource into reserves for the study.
WSP will provide support and design work, including production wells, for different aspects related to the hydrogeology of the seven HMW concessions, located in the Hombre Muerto Salar Basin.
Its team includes former employees of Chilean chemical company Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile who have a long history working with lithium brines.
SRK, in association with WSP, will review the current resource estimate and undertake reserve conversion work for the project.
Specialised lithium consultant Ad-Infinitum has been contracted to design the pilot lithium carbonate plant and provide a revised design of the project’s evaporation ponds system, which is expected to include the most favourable terrain at the Rana de Sal and Del Condor concessions.
In March 2020, a maiden resource estimate delivered 1.1 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent for Rana de Sal and the Pata Pila targets, which remain two of the project’s largest concessions.
That resource now sits at 2.3Mt LCE with exploration upside available for the remaining five concessions not included in the current indicated resource.
Accelerating the study
Galan managing director Juan Pablo Vargas de la Vega said the planned work program would be designed to accelerate the feasibility study.
“It is all hands-on deck [and] our commitment remains focused on getting HMW online as soon as possible,” he said.
“The work being undertaken by our consulting team of specialists will further strengthen the project by optimising our methods and increasing the confidence in our results to date.”
He said Galan was in advanced discussions with drilling and engineering firms to execute the works.
Drilling is scheduled to commence once design and location of the production well is confirmed.
Galan has also started work at the Greenbushes South joint venture lithium project, in which it holds a majority 80% interest alongside Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT).
The joint venture has been granted initial private access to parts of the relevant geological areas of interest to proceed with fieldwork including soil and rock chip sampling as well as mapping.
Desktop geological work has been planned for the recently-granted E70/4777 tenement, approximately 25km north of the world-class Greenbushes mine.
The mine has been managed since May 2014 by Talison Lithium Pty Ltd, which is an incorporated joint venture between Tianqi Lithium Corporation (51%) and Albemarle Corporation (49%).
In January, Galan acquired a stake in Greenbushes South through the issue of 1.22 million fully-paid ordinary shares to Lithium Australia.
Under the terms of the agreement, Galan will sole fund its joint venture exploration expenditure share until completion of a preliminary feasibility study.
Thereafter, the companies will contribute on a pro-rata basis or withdraw and retain a 2% net smelter royalty.