Lake’s expansion strategy: To fast-track lithium projects in Argentina

Lake Resources NL (ASX: LKE; OTC:LLKKF) fast-track a $15m programme across its three projects: Olaroz, Cauchari, and Paso.

What are Lake Resources’ goals regarding their lithium projects?

  • Lake Resources (LR) initiates expansion and integration strategy to fast-track its portfolio of assets in Argentina;
  • TARGET 100 Programme has the goal of annually producing 100,000 tonnes of high purity lithium chemical to market by 2030;
  • Drilling and testing to commence across three new lithium projects;
  • TARGET 100 Programme brings forward the development of Lake’s 100 %-owned Olaroz, Cauchari and Paso lithium projects to ensure multi-asset lithium expansion to address the anticipated supply deficit of high purity lithium; and
  • Follows planned production at Lake’s flagship Kachi Lithium Brine Project being set at 50,000 tonnes/year (tpa) lithium carbonate in the Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS).

How do LR intend to do this?

The clean lithium developer intends to fast-track these projects into feasibility studies in the TARGET 100 Programme for drilling and brine testing.

A separate exploration and testing team will be employing the comprehensive data set developed during the Kachi project’s direct extraction processing test work, in order to contribute towards the rapid development of LR’s three brine projects in Argentina.

The drilling programme has started with the construction of the first rotary well, which is approximately a 4,000m 10-hole programme, located in the northern areas of the Olaroz leases. This region covers roughly 30km on the eastern side of established lithium producers.

The drill wells have been designed to quickly quantify the brines that are identified, develop the aquifers, and to conduct pumping tests that inevitably provide data for the initial feasibility studies.

Rotary wells will be followed later by diamond holes, and brines will be sampled and tested with an environmentally friendly direct lithium extraction method, which is similar to previous work conducted on Kachi project lithium brines.

“Direct lithium extraction, to be used on Lake’s multiple lithium projects, can deliver scalable projects faster to market and supply rapidly increasing demand,” explained Mr Steve Promnitz, Lake’s Managing Director.

The three projects are located in Jujuy province, which is in the north-west of Argentina, and close to the Allkem (Orocobre) Olaroz operation and the Lithium Americas: Ganfeng JV Cauchari project.

Mr Stu Crow, LR’s Chairman, said discussions are currently underway with potential partners, with the possibility of assistance being provided to fast-track these projects into production. This is also a part of LR’s continuing conversations with battery metals customers, as well as LR’s desire to become an integrated and valuable part of the global supply chains.

What are the four reasons responsible for the decision to expand the Kachi project?

Mr Crow has highlighted the four reasons responsible for making the formal decision to expand the Kachi project, which has also given the company confidence to fast-track expansion and integration of Lake’s other assets in Argentina:

  1. The increasing demand by prospective offtake partners for a secure supply chain of environmentally friendly high purity lithium carbonate;
  2. The indicative support to fund new projects by Export Credit Agencies and the international bank panel. The UK and Canada Export Credit Agencies have already indicated a willingness to project debt finance around 70 percent of the Kachi project’s capital requirements (ASX announcement 11 Aug 2021);
  3. The supportive investment policies of the Argentine Government who have announced a process to lower export taxes as part of the Strategic Plan for Mining Development; and
  4. The confidence of technology partner Lilac Solutions that its modular direct lithium extraction technology is scalable and cost effective.

“This, combined with increasing customer and consumer scrutiny around the environmental credentials of lithium production; and concerns about security of supply has given us the confidence to fast-track these developments,” Mr Crow concluded.

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