Higher Lithium Grades Wider Interval at Cauchari
The higher results of 340m averaging 505 mg/L lithium, and up to 540 mg/L lithium, with a Li/Mg ratio of 2.9, compare favourably to similar results obtained from the adjoining major project advancing towards production. The Ganfeng/Lithium Americas (NYSE:LAC) Cauchari project has a Measured and Indicated Resource of 17.9Mt LCE at 581 mg/L lithium (Apr 2019 NI 43-101). The nearest drillhole of the Advantage Lithium (AAL)/ Orocobre joint venture averaged 198m at 450 mg/L lithium, within a Measured and Indicated Resource of 4.8Mt LCE at 476 mg/L lithium (Apr 2019 NI 43-101). These neighbouring results are not LKE's results and no inference is made as to the potential of Lake's project. The grades are shown to provide a relevant comparison as Lake's view is that these are similar lithium brines in the same basin.
Major Chinese producer Ganfeng Lithium has invested a combined US$397 million, including debt support, to acquire a 50% stake in its Cauchari project, demonstrating the value of such projects in the Lithium Triangle, home to half the world's lithium output at the lowest cost.
Lake's definitive results from detailed sampling at Cauchari, in comparison to earlier preliminary results, vindicate the decision to extend drilling to approximately 600m depth, currently at 540m, following a brief pause at 460 metres depth.
Lake's Managing Director Steve Promnitz said: "Lake is drilling next door to the largest defined lithium brine resource on the planet and our assay results mirror the grades of this project. These latest results have only further strengthened our recognition of the Cauchari project as a major discovery adding value for shareholders, given the prices paid for investment in nearby projects. In addition, this is now a wider pay zone of lithium brines than at the adjoining project. To use an analogy, we are in the same swimming pool, filled with sand, clay and lithium brines, and we still have more to come."
"While Cauchari is a potential company-maker for Lake, we are determined to fully exploit the value of our project pipeline. Following Cauchari, we are planning a new drilling program at our 100% owned Olaroz Lithium Brine Project, to test the same basin that also hosts current production. This has potential to be another standalone project to add to our exciting discovery at Cauchari and confirmed deposit at Kachi.
"Analysts continue to upgrade their forecasts for the lithium market, with Benchmark Mineral Intelligence and Wood Mackenzie both pointing to a major supply deficit by the early-to-mid 2020s and Macquarie analysts turning bullish as a result of automakers' expansion plans for electric vehicles.
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About Lake Resources NL
Lake Resources NL (ASX:LKE) is a lithium exploration and development company focused on developing its three lithium brine projects and hard rock project in Argentina, all owned 100%. The leases are in a prime location among the lithium sector's largest players within the Lithium Triangle, where half of the world's lithium is produced. Lake holds one of the largest lithium tenement packages in Argentina (~200,000Ha) secured in 2016 prior to a significant 'rush' by major companies. The large holdings provide the potential to provide consistent security of supply demanded by battery makers and electric vehicle manufacturers.
The Kachi project covers 69,000 ha over a salt lake south of FMC's lithium operation and near Albemarle's Antofalla project in Catamarca Province. Drilling at Kachi has confirmed a large lithium brine bearing basin over 20km long, 15km wide and 400m to 800m deep. Drilling over Kachi (currently 16 drill holes, 3100m) has produced a maiden indicated and inferred resource of 4.4 Mt LCE (Indicated 1.0Mt and Inferred 3.4Mt) within a 8-17 Mt LCE exploration target (refer ASX announcement 27 November 2018).
A direct extraction technique is being tested in partnership with Lilac Solutions, which has shown 80-90% recoveries and lithium brine concentrations in excess of 3000 mg/L lithium and is planned to be trialled on site in tandem with conventional methods as part of a PFS to follow the resource statement. Scope exists to unlock considerable value through partnerships and corporate deals in the near term.
The Olaroz-Cauchari and Paso brine projects are located adjacent to major world class brine projects either in production or being developed in the highly prospective Jujuy Province. The Olaroz-Cauchari project is located in the same basin as Orocobre's Olaroz lithium production and adjoins Ganfeng Lithium/Lithium Americas Cauchari project, with high grade lithium (600 mg/L) with high flow rates drilled immediately across the lease boundary.
Two drill rigs are currently drilling at Cauchari with results anticipated to extend the proven resources in adjoining properties into LKE's area with results anticipated from November into December 2018. This will be followed by drilling extensions to the Olaroz area in LKE's 100% owned Olaroz leases.
Significant corporate transactions continue in adjacent leases with development of Ganfeng Lithium/Lithium Americas Cauchari project with Ganfeng announcing a US$237 million for 37% of the Cauchari project previously held by SQM. Nearby projects of Lithium X were acquired via a takeover offer of C$265 million completed March 2018. The northern half of Galaxy's Sal de Vida resource was purchased for US$280 million by POSCO in June 2018. These transactions imply an acquisition cost of US$55-110 million per 1 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) in resources.
The demand for lithium continues to be strong for lithium ion batteries in electric vehicles, according to recent data from the leading independent battery minerals consultant, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. Supply continues to be constrained suggesting good opportunities for upstream lithium companies.
Lithium Americas Corp
Lake Resources NL
Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium Co Ltd
Advantage Lithium Corp