- Option to earn 100% interest in 20,500 hectares of the
- Additional +13,000 hectares staked or under application
- Located in the prolific “Lithium Triangle” of South America
- Prospective for quality lithium brines at depth
- Strategic location for infrastructure and logistics.
About the Project
Argentina Lithium has entered into an agreement to earn a 100% interest in 20,500 hectares in the central area of the Arizaro Salar. The Company has direct control of an additional +9,000 hectares, with more under staking application, bringing the total for the project to nearly 33,000 hectares. The Company believes Arizaro is underexplored, and in particular supports conditions for quality lithium brines at depth.
Location & Infrastructure
The Arizaro salar is located in the mining-friendly province of Salta in the high plateau (Puna) region of northwestern Argentina, at an average altitude of 3600 metres. The salar covers an area of 1600 km2 within a watershed of 6000 km2, making it the third largest salar in the "Lithium Triangle", after Uyuni in Bolivia and the Atacama in Chile. The salar is located in a hyper-arid region, receiving on average less than 30 millimetres of rain per year, a necessary condition for the creation of evaporative brines. There is adequate surface area within the project limits for future processing facilities, including the construction of evaporation ponds on the salar.
The development of brine projects on some other salars in the region has been hindered by a lack of fresh water for processing. At Arizaro, there is a known water recharge area, and the Company has made securing a water source a key component of the exploration program in order to prepare for a feasible mining project.
The project is situated in close proximity to several rail stations (Tolar Grande, Taca-Taca, Caipe, Vega de Arizaro) on the international railway that leads to the Chilean deep water port of Antofagasta approximately 450 kilometres to the west.
Several mining projects in the area are expected to bring additional infrastructure development to the area in the near future.
Arizaro shows a typical pattern of for these types of salars, with a prevalence of halite to the west and gypsum to the east. These evaporites are covered by surficial deposits along the eastern margin of the salar.
The Cenozoic volcanic activity that prevailed in the region created notable volcanos surrounding the salar, includng Volcano Guanaqueros to the north, Sierra de Taca Taca to the west and Sierra de Archibarca and Cerro Arita to the south. This magmatic activity resulted in formation of copper and gold deposits that are at different stages of exploration (Taca Taca, Lindero, Rio Grande, Samenta). It is this volcanic and associated hydrothermal activity that is believed to be the main source of lithium and other solutes to the basin. This is verified by the deposits of travertine and occurrences of ulexite that have been found, as well as the presence of lithium bearing clay (hectorite), and lithium mica (lepidolite), in the surrounding areas of the basin. The generation of salt deposits has occurred in stages over time; early-deposited halite and gypsum layers that have been deformed by Andean tectonic activity are found on the eastern side of the salar.
Except for a limited number of boreholes on the body of salt along the western edge of the salar, linked to the exploration of the Taca Taca copper project, the salar is virtually unexplored at depth.
Exploration History & Potential
Drill holes of approximately 100 metres depth into the salar detected interbedded volcanic material, reflecting the volcanic activity that accompanied the evaporite sedimentation. The presence of geological structures such as faults and flow channels solutions were also detected.
To date sampling of brines from the subsurface (approximately 2 metres depth) by previous workers has returned lithium values, up to 160 mg/L, confirming the presence of lithium in the basin (USGS, 1987. “Geology and Resources of Salars in the Central Andes).
The terms of the option agreement include $6M in staged payments and $4.2M in expenditures over a four year period. Additionally, the Company must issue 2.5M common shares with certain resale restrictions.