Galan Lithium (ASX: GLN) has begun a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) of its Hombre Muerto West (HMW) lithium brine project in Argentina.
Galan pointed out that it has come a long way in a short time. It has been less than 18 months since the company drilled its first hole in Argentina.
Worley Chile has been commissioned to carry out the PEA, which will evaluate the engineering, operating and capital costs required for a subsequent economic scoping study.
The scoping study will assess the production of battery grade and/or technical grade lithium carbonate from the project, which is located in the Salar de Hombre Muerto — itself within what is known as the lithium triangle in South America that includes sections of Argentina, Bolivia and Chile.
Managing director Juan Pablo Vargas de la Vega said Galan had already proven that its 2.1 million tonnes lithium carbonate equivalent combined resource has a substantial high grade and low impurity setting.
“Our next step is to mature the project by economically assessing the strength of HMW’s push towards the production of lithium carbonate,” he said.
“At the completion of the PEA, we aim to have a high-level blueprint to production from a company with one of the most experienced lithium brine project teams in the world.”
Galan believes project among best in world
In May, the company said completion of conceptual modelling at its Argentine project yielded competitive results, possibly ranking it among the best of the new lithium brine projects “in the world”.
That work showed that the Candelas deposit, located within the 25,000ha of its Hombre Muerto salar project, has high lithium recovery, low impurities and a smaller pond footprint.
This all pointed to low cost, profitable lithium production especially given the Hombre Muerto salar’s proven high grade/low impurities setting, the company said.
Candelas incorporates the Los Patos channel which feeds lithium laden waters into Hombre Muerto.
The modelling showed there was potential for optimised brine yielding up to 3.06% lithium making it suitable for the next processing step at the lithium carbonate plant.
Two salars produce vast amounts of world lithium
Galan Lithium’s share register includes a Luxembourg-based green energy fund, Thematica. The company’s management between them hold 25% of the register.
The lithium triangle has the world’s largest lithium reserves, with around 40% of global annual production coming from brines in the Atacama salar in Chile and the Hombre Muerto salar.
Other companies operating in Galan’s neighbourhood include New York-listed Livent Corporation which has been extracting lithium from the Hombre Muerto salar for 27 years and Australia’s Galaxy Resources (ASX: GXY) – the latter having sold part of its Sal de Vida project to South Korean giant POSCO for $280 million.