Lake Resources (ASX: LKE) has kicked-off its first drilling program at its Kachi lithium brine project in Argentina’s Catamarca Province, located in the world’s ‘Lithium Triangle’.
A diamond drill rig has been brought to the project site to undertake an initial 1,000m program, which will potentially be extended depending on assay results.
“This is an important milestone for the company and the local community with the drilling program a key catalyst to unlocking the burgeoning value in these well-located lithium assets,” Lake Resources managing director Steve Promnitz said.
He added the company “was eagerly anticipating” its first assay results from the program.
Lake Resources owns 100% of Kachi via its wholly owned subsidiary Morena del Valle Minerals SA. Kachi encompasses 50,000 hectares of mining leases over the salt lake centre, which is the deepest part of a large basin. Earlier surface sampling at the project returned lithium grading 322mg/L.
The company has the support of the local community which Mr Promnitz has claimed is keen to see the project progress. As well as local support, the Kachi project has Catamarca Government’s backing which signed a letter of intent with Lake Resources in September to accelerate the project through its permitting approvals.
South America’s Lithium Triangle
South American countries Bolivia, Argentina and Chile are believed to host more than half the world’s known lithium resources.
According to Lake Resources, its 170,000 hectare tenement package is one of Argentina’s largest landholding within the triangle and it is near lithium majors Orocobre (ASX: ORE) and Lithium Americas (TSXV: LAC).
Industry analyst Transparency Market Research forecasts the lithium market will be worth more than US$77 billion by 2024.
Lithium brine reserves account for more than 60% of the world’s known lithium. Compared to hard rock lithium deposits, lithium brine reserves are easier to explore and typically require less capital to develop, depending on proximity to infrastructure.
Additionally, lithium brine deposits usually require half the development time compared to hard rock lithium. For example, the Visual Capitalist estimates construction of a pilot plant for processing brine deposits will cost between US$150 million and US$300 million, while hard rock deposits may cost anywhere from US$250 million to US$2 billion.