Lake Resources confirms sizeable resource increase at Kachi lithium brine project
Clean lithium developer Lake Resources (ASX: LKE) has confirmed a 250% increase to the measured and indicated resource at its flagship Kachi project in Argentina’s famed lithium triangle.
The new figures sit at 7.3 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) – up from 2.9Mt and defined to a depth of 600 metres over 143.8 square kilometres.
The updated total resource estimate exceeds 10.6Mt LCE.
It incorporates “vertically-expansive” lithium intercepts from drilling over the last six months and “exceptional” lithology and lithium concentrations in the project’s southern sector.
Director of geology and hydrogeology Michael Gabora said the new estimate was based on continued studies following the confirmation of “highly favourable” sub-surface conditions for lithium extraction and injection in the area of the measured and indicated resources.
“Our expansive hydrogeological characterisation program over the last 18 months has led to significant improvements in our understanding of the geology, hydrogeology and geochemistry of the Carachi Pampa Basin [where Kachi is located],” he said.
“It will allow us to develop an optimal extraction and recovery strategy to allow for responsible development of clean lithium in the basin while minimising the consumption of water and related hydrologic impacts.”
Mr Gabora said the updated figures would be used for a maiden reserves estimate and would form the basis of a Phase 1 definitive feasibility study (DFS) expected by year end.
Surrounding the measured and indicated resources is an inferred amount of 3.3Mt LCE defined over 130.9sqkm.
Mr Gabora said transient electromagnetic (TEM) surveys across the salar and surrounding area showed the brine body to be much larger than initial estimates, continuing well beyond the current defined resource.
Historical drilling at Kachi has indicated that TEM surveys can be reliable indicators of the presence of lithium-bearing brines in the basin.
Increases in estimates
The large-scale Kachi project has shown continued resource increases since the maiden estimate of 4.4Mt of contained LCE (inferred and indicated) was announced in November 2018.
That figure was upgraded in January with a measured and indicated amount of 2.2Mt LCE and approximately 3.1Mt LCE inferred.
It was increased again in June with more than 2.9Mt LCE in the measured and indicated categories and approximately 5.2Mt LCE inferred, for a total resource estimate of more than 8.1Mt LCE.
Pumping and injection testing in August demonstrated the lithium reservoir in the resource area is permeable and that productive wells can be drilled and constructed for extraction and injection.
“The updated resource demonstrates how expansive the [Kachi] lithium brine resource is,” Mr Gabora said.
“When combined with our pumping and injection testing results — which yielded highly favourable sub-surface conditions for lithium extraction and injection — the true potential of this project is being realised.”