Galan Lithium (ASX: GLN) will now focus primarily on its Hombre Muerto West (HMW) lithium brine project in Argentina after modelling shows lithium grades 50% higher than the previous frontrunner.
In May, the company reported work showing the Candelas deposit, located within a 250sq km tenement package on the Hombre Muerto salar, has high lithium recovery, low impurities and a small pond footprint.
But the company’s focus is now shifting with HMW showing higher grades.
“Overall, HMW’s brine quality shows that it can be more than competitive for the potential production of battery grade lithium carbonate (LCE),” Galan stated.
“This can be achieved by using existing proven technologies based on the experience of the specialised lithium consultants.”
Completion of conceptual pond modelling at the HMW prospect show its “exceptional” potential, grading at 4.8% lithium compared with 3.1% at Candelas.
Galan said both projects show excellent capabilities, but the company’s board and project team are now focused primarily on developing the HMW project.
High grades raise possibility of lithium carbonate plant
“With optimised concentrated brine yielding up to 4.8% lithium (25.6% LCE), suitability for a world-class lithium carbonate plant arises,” Galan said.
Moreover, modelling results show HMW may have smaller pond and processing plant footprints, which would make capital and operating costs more competitive.
Galan’s projects lie in the “lithium triangle” which incorporates Argentina, Chile and Bolivia. About 80% of global annual production comes from brines in the Atacama salar in Chile and the Hombre Muertos salar in northwest Argentina.
The company believes, following the latest results from HMW, that this project’s high-grade/low-impurity settings rank it “very favourably” among new projects in the lithium triangle in terms of lithium recovery and pond size.
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), which sold part of its Sal de Vida project to South Korean giant POSCO for $280 million.
Brine samples have been extracted from HMW and these are ready to be despatched to a laboratory as soon as transport permits can be obtained.
Galan managing director Juan Pablo Vargas de la Vega said this is another exciting step for the company.
“We fully believe in our special project and are primarily focused on proving that HMW can, and will, be a future lithium producer,” he said.