Ongoing exploration at Argosy Minerals’ (ASX: AGY) lithium brine Rincon project in Argentina’s Salta Province has returned lithium averaging between 400 milligrams per litre and close to 500mg/l, which Argosy managing director Jerko Zuvela claims “exceeds” the company’s expectations.
Three diamond drill holes were undertaken up to a 102.5 metre depth, with three lithium brine samples from the first hole averaging the 487mg/l lithium, 7,431mg/l potassium and a magnesium-lithium ratio of 4.3.
From 17 samples, the second drill hole returned the average 385mg/l lithium, 7,535mg/l potassium and a magnesium-lithium ratio of 7.6.
Samples were taken from the third hole and are currently awaiting analysis.
“The exploration diamond drilling program is exceeding our expectations with deeper drilling confirming greater brine bearing thickness than previously assumed,” Mr Zuvela said.
“Initial analytical results to-date confirm lithium brine grade varies in the general range of 400mg/l to near 500mg/l, with a magnesium-lithium ration lower than historical reference data,” he added.
Further diamond drilling is planned, with a JORC-compliant resource estimate scheduled for release in the first three months of 2018.
Despite the encouraging recent drill results, Argosy cautions quality assurance and quality control procedures were not in place for the initial sample batch. The company advised, in future sampling, blind duplicates and standards will be used for laboratory submissions.
Meanwhile, drilling of the company’s three production wells at Rincon is underway. The wells will be used for pumping lithium brine into the 11 hectares of evaporation ponds, which will be ready for the advancing summer’s peak solar evaporation season to produce the lithium brine concentrate.
The concentrate will then be put through the company’s 500 tonne per annum processing plant to produce a lithium carbonate equivalent for the lithium-ion battery market.
Earlier this month, Argosy secured a binding option agreement to acquire the Mina Tincal tenement which expands Rincon’s potential.
Due diligence was to be completed by 22 November 2017 and Argosy was to make an initial US$400,000 payment to the vendor Colorado SA.
When combined with the existing Rincon project area, if Argosy elects to proceed with the acquisition, its landholding in the region will be boosted to 2,561.9 hectares.
Mina Tincal includes 20 hectares of land near the Olacapto industrial site which is close to natural gas, electricity, rail and has existing approvals for drilling water.