Lake Resources confirms key technical breakthroughs at Kachi lithium project

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By Colin Hay - 
Lake Resources ASX LKE Kachi lithium project extraction injection tests Argentina

Lake Resources (ASX: LKE) is celebrating a number of key technical breakthroughs with a program of successful production testing at its Kachi lithium brine project in Argentina.

A range of tests have confirmed that the company’s extraction and injection plans will enable it to produce high purity battery grade lithium carbonate.

Lake chief executive officer David Dickson said the successful Stage 1 campaign extraction and injection tests had demonstrated that Kachi has the right hydrogeologic conditions for brine extraction.

Highly favourable reservoir hydraulics

“The extraction and injection testing confirms highly favourable reservoir hydraulic properties and allows us to optimise the future wellfield,” Mr Dickson said.

“The tests represent a significant milestone for the project, as they provide important data and higher confidence for our modelling, which is essential for the completion of our DFS for Phase 1. The results are indicative of high-yield, production-scale, extraction wells in the core resource area.”

“Partners, offtakers and future buyers will demand sustainable lithium supply and Kachi is essential to meet this need.”

Tests provided many positives

Michael Gabora, Lake’s director of geology and hydrogeology, said the injection tests once again highlighted the suitability of the Kachi reservoir for injection, with the results even better than expected.

“The positive results of this testing now allow for design of scaled up production and injection wells for the next stage of testing and production wellfield design.”

Lake has been constantly successful in expanding the size of the Kachi Project in the lead-up to its potential development with its resource significantly upgraded in June of 2023 with more than 2.9 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent at the measured and indicated level and 5.3 million tonnes in the inferred category for a total resource estimate of more than 8.1 million tonnes.

Positive recoverability results

While the company is still investing in growing the Kachi resource, a growing focus is now aimed at testing to better assess the recoverability of the project’s extensive lithium brine resources.

This includes the latest extraction and injection tests, where the company was investigating three areas of importance.

This included studies to quantify the hydraulic properties of the Kachi reservoir and how to control well production and injection rates.

Lake was also testing the viability of injecting into the core resource area reservoir and developing a dataset to support hydrogeologic modelling that will be used for wellfield design and reserve estimation.

Two wells tested

The technical studies included pumping and re-injection tests in two wells, KB and KC, located in the central portion of the resource area.

These pumping tests were designed to provide key data for hydrogeological models which are used to model the extraction and injection wellfields for the commercial operation.

Testing resulted in more than 14-million litres injected at KC and over 19 million litres injected at KB for a total of over 33 million litres of water successfully injected during the testing period.

The results, believed to be the first successful salar injection test in Catamarca, confirmed the viability of injection in the core resource area and increased Lake’s confidence that injection is also possible in geologically more favourable areas outside of the salar core.

Lake is now using the test data to create a hydrogeologic model that will be applied to simulate and optimise the extraction and injection wellfields.

Reservoir looks highly productive

Lake also used the same wells to evaluate brine disposal.

The company says this will provide an indication for a cost-effective way of defining hydraulic parameters related to both pumping extraction and injection, allowing it to prove concepts around injection while providing additional data for ongoing technical design.