Lake Resources achieves significant Kachi lithium JORC upgrade

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By Colin Hay - 

Lake Resources’ (ASX: LKE) multi-pillared clean lithium development strategy has received a further boost with the company releasing significant new resource estimates for its large Kachi lithium project in Argentina.

A new Kachi measured resource estimate has seen the project’s numbers increased to 2.9 million tonnes lithium carbonate equivalent, accompanied by a 5.2 million tonnes inferred resource.

Not only do those figures continue to highlight the development potential of the Kachi lithium mining project itself, but they add strength to Lake’s unique “clean” lithium processing strategy plans.

The latest resource support has been supported by Lake’s aggressive and ongoing drilling campaign at Kachi.

The company is already looking to add its rapidly growing resource estimates with multi drilling rigs currently on site in the Catamarca Province of Argentina.

The resource remains open to a depth of approximately 600m to 700m below ground surface and open laterally, where drilling is underway to better define the resource extent.

The company is now following up exploration of the millions of tonnes of inferred lithium carbonate equivalent resources contained in an area of 161 sq km surrounding the measured resource.

Investigating a growing footprint

Exploration work continues to expand the inferred resource footprint north and south through recent characterisation activities and transient electromagnetic geophysics.

The studies have indicated that the lithium brine at Kachi may extend significantly further indicating substantial additional exploration potential.

Transmission electron microscopy results have already indicated that there are highly conductive brines beneath the rocks of the extinct Kachi strata volcano and the resource may also extend further eastward.

The latest drilling activity includes testing production wells for pumping and reinjection aquifer testing as part of the project’s definitive feasibility study (DFS).

Michael Gabora, Lake’s Director of Geology and Hydrogeology, said current and future drilling is targeting additional step out holes and defining a deeper resource beyond 400m below ground surface.

“The ongoing hydrogeological characterisation activities started in March of last year have led to a significantly improved understanding of both the spatial and vertical extent of lithium brine but also the permeability of the reservoir materials,” Mr Gabora said.

“These studies demonstrate that the resource potential within the basin is much larger than the resource defined to date. These results will be incorporated into our ongoing DFS and support our vision for the potential scale of the project moving forward.

Flow and transport studies

Along with its drilling program, Lake is progressing flow and transport model studies to support the conversion of the lithium resource to reserve.

The models will be part of the optimisation of the production and reinjection wellfields being investigated within the DFS program and will help assess potential hydrologic impacts for ongoing environmental impact assessments.

The Kachi project is located in the Puna region of north-western Argentina in the Province of Catamarca, and within the world famous “lithium triangle”.

Lake Resources holds 52 properties (Minas) in the basin covering the surface of the salar and surrounds.

Clean lithium development milestone

In mid-April Lake and its direct lithium extraction technology partner, Lilac Solutions, achieved the production of 2,500kg of lithium carbonate equivalents at the Kachi lithium pilot plant in Argentina.

That success led to Lilac increasing its ownership of the Kachi project from 10% to 20%.

The companies are now progressing the project from its pilot phase into commercial-scale development.

That next phase will make Kachi the first lithium brine project in South America to produce lithium at commercial scale without the use of evaporation ponds for lithium concentration.

The pilot plant success was achieved via a number of breakthroughs including the first successful implementation of ion exchange for lithium production in South America.

When fully developed by Lake and Lilac, the Kachi project is expected to produce 50,000 tonnes per annum of battery-grade lithium products.