Exploring High-Grade Lithium in the Lithium Triangle
This profile is part of a paid investor education campaign.*
Lithium Chile Inc (TSXV:LITH, OTC:LTMCF) is a resource company currently exploring 15 wholly-owned lithium-rich properties in the Chilean portion of the lithium triangle. Located in Northern Chile, the Lithium Chile properties make up a collective 152,900 hectares, which include 14 salars and 1 laguna. The properties are all located within a 300-kilometer radius of the Atacama salar, which hosts the largest lithium from brine production in the world. Lithium Chile is currently conducting preliminary exploration activities on four of its properties.
The lithium triangle is a region that covers areas of Northern Chile, Northwestern Argentina and Southwestern Bolivia and includes the Atacama, Olaroz and Uyuni salt flats. Responsible for 54 percent of global lithium resources, it also represents three jurisdictions with contrasting approaches to lithium exploration. While Bolivia has barely scratched the surface of their lithium resource and Argentina has only recently ramped up exploration activities following the introduction of a more mining-friendly government, Chile has purveyed a strong lithium market for many years. Chile is also far ahead of both other countries when it comes to ease of doing business, levels of corruption, cost of production and facilitating entry for foreign companies.
Lithium Chile entered this lithium-rich region in 2015 with the staking of 11 of their 15 properties and immediately conducted a surface sampling program of which all samples ranged from 400 ppm lithium to 1,400 ppm lithium. With these results, the company established five target properties—Coipasa, Helados, Atacama, Talar and Turi—which have been undergoing geophysical surveys. Following this, an initial drilling program is targeted to start in April 2018 and Lithium Chile expects to release initial resource estimates over the course of the year.
The company announced the completion of its second tranche of private placement funding in March 2018, with total proceeds of approximately C$3.5 million between the first and second tranches.
Lithium Chile is led by a strong management team with over 100 years of experience between its members and unprecedented knowledge of the Chilean jurisdiction. Collectively, management also holds 63 percent of the company’s shares.
- 15 Chilean lithium-rich properties making up 152,900 hectares in the lithium triangle
- Near-surface lithium brines with highs of 525 mg/L to 1,410 mg/L on five properties
- Moderate magnesium to lithium ratios of 3.4 to 8.8
- Conducting geophysical surveys on the top five properties
- Plans for drilling to commence in April 2018
- Initial NI 43-101 resource estimates targeted for 2018
- Low valuation compared to peer group
- Experienced management team with over 100 years of experience and strong Chilean connections
- Tightly held share structure with 63 percent of shares held by management team
Property Portfolio in the Lithium Triangle
Since 2015, Lithium Chile has staked claims on 15 lithium properties totaling 152,900 hectares in Northern Chile, all within a 300-kilometer radius of the Atacama salar. The wholly-owned properties (Coipasa, Turi, Helados, Talar, Norte, Ollague, Carcote, Ascotan, Atacama, Los Morros, Mariposas, Aguilar and three additional properties purchased in November 2017) are high-value lithium prospects and some were previously held by Barrick (TSX:ABX,NYSE:ABX), Newmont (NYSE:NEM) and SQM (NYSE:SQM).
At only $3.00 per hectare, the staking costs of the properties totaled $162,000 and maintenance costs for all projects remain low. There are also no outstanding work commitments on any of the properties. Since the acquisition, Lithium Chile has conducted sampling on all the projects and this effort helped establish the target properties for geophysical surveys. While the geophysical analysis of these projects is underway, Lithium Chile is looking to commence drilling of up to 4,000 meters on their targets by April 2018, with initial NI 43-101 resource estimates expected within the same year.
Exploring the top priority properties
Coipasa is a 11,300-hectare property on an Andean salar belt and on the border of Northern Chile and Bolivia. Lithium Chile currently controls approximately 90 percent of this prospect. Preliminary exploration shows a range of results measuring 310 mg/L to 1,410 mg/L lithium.
The Helados project is made up of 22,700 hectares and sits on the border of Chile and the northwest corner of Argentina, on an Andean salar belt and less than 100 kilometers from the Atacama salar. Preliminary exploration has produced results ranging from 390 mg/L to 1,280 mg/L lithium. The property also hosts a lake where water samples tested 1,100 ppm lithium.
As part of the geophysical survey conducted across the top properties, Lithium Chile uncovered a 60-square-kilometer high-priority target area. The company has described this zone to be an open-ended, low resistivity area that sits within the northwest trending axis of the Salar Tara-Laguna Helada basin. The zone shows comparable characteristics to the main aquifers at the Salar de Atacama.
The Atacama project is a 5,600-hectare property which sits on the border of the Atacama salar, just over 30 kilometers away from the Chilean border with Argentina. Near-surface samples from recent exploration work on the property have shown samples of up to 1,330 mg/L lithium, grades that are comparable to production grades at SQM and Albemarle Salar de Atacama plants.
The geophysical survey on the Atacama project identified multiple open-ended horizontal zones that vary from 50 to 75 meters in thickness. The company believes that these zones host resistivity values of less than 3 ohms and has geophysical characteristics similar to the lithium-rich aquifers at the Salar de Atacama.
The same geophysical survey also uncovered multiple target areas within the 2,200-hectare Ollague project, which boasts chemistry ratios of 0.1 lithium to potassium and 7.1 magnesium to lithium. The uncovered regions included open-ended horizontal zones varying from 20 to 200 meters in thickness, within 20 to 120 meters from the surface.
Talar is a 3,500-hectare project that sits on an Andean salar belt, less than 40 kilometers away from the Chile and Argentina border. The project’s preliminary exploration results range from 290 mg/L to 740 mg/L lithium.
The Turi property is located on a pre-Andean salar belt, approximately 50 kilometers from the city of Calama and less than 40 kilometers from the Chilean border with Bolivia. Made up of 7,600 hectares, the property has shown preliminary exploration results of 260 mg/L to 525 mg/L lithium. Two hydrothermal springs are also located on the property with grades of 175 ppm lithium in the water.
Preliminary results have also shown promising salar chemistry with moderate magnesium to lithium ratios ranging between 3.4 and 8.8.
The goal of the program is to delineate NI 43-101 compliant lithium resource estimates for the projects within 2018, following an initial drill program on the company’s key properties. The estimated total cost of all proposed follow up exploration programs is US$1.87 million.
Steven Cochrane—President and CEO
Steven Cochrane has 36 years of investment industry experience during which he has participated in raising in excess of $500 million for a variety of small cap public companies in various businesses and industry sectors including mining. In addition to having been associated with numerous domestic transactions, he has also been involved with many international opportunities—primarily in China as well as in Cambodia.
Terry Walker—VP Exploration
Terry Walker is a highly-experienced geologist and a leading expert in hydrogeology. He has spent over 25 years in Chile’s mining industry and is well-connected throughout the sector.
Jose de Castro Alem—Director and Manager of Lithium Operations
Jose de Castro Alem is a recognized pioneer in lithium brine exploration, development and production in South America. He brings over 20 years of lithium brine experience, as well as a significant track record in the lithium triangle, to the Company’s management team.
Al Kroontje has more than 45 years’ experience in the natural resources sector, focused on the mining, oil and gas industries.
Andrew Bowering has over 28 years of experience in the mining sector, including operating in South America since 2007. He has founded and operated successful mineral exploration and development companies worldwide. He is a founder, director and significant shareholder of Millennial Lithium Corp, one of the leading Argentine lithium exploration companies. Millennial Lithium recently gained market attention through a 17 percent strategic investment by one of the world’s leading clean energy companies.
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