Australia-based Galan Lithium (ASX: GLN) has had the most busy and dynamic month of July 2019 as the exploration company aggressively progresses towards unlocking the potential at its Hombre Muerto Lithium Brine Project in Argentina located within South America’s highly proliferous lithium triangle. Of late, consistent milestones have been achieved by the company with respect to its endeavours at Hombre Muerto, demonstrating perseverance as an aspiring lithium miner.
Source: Company’s 11th Lithium Supply & Markets Conference, Santiago, Chile- Presentation
On 24 July 2019, Galan updated the stakeholders that it had received the much-awaited permits from the Secretaria de Estado de Minería – Gobierno de Catamarca (the authority that approves drilling permits in Catamarca, Argentina) to conduct a maiden drill programme over its Western Basin Projects located on the Hombre Muerto Salar. The permits have been granted to undertake drilling on a total of 14 drillholes plus five (5) water bores within 18 months.
Following this development, the company has already launched preparatory works to enable access for drilling, which will commence shortly. Initially, the exploratory drilling is planned to target the Pata Pila and Rana del Sal Project areas. Within these targets, the drilling will primarily analyse the highly conductive anomalies recorded from the previously completed first ever CSAMT (Controlled Source Audio-frequency Magnetotellurics) surveys over the project areas, in late September 2018.
Western Basin Projects
The Western Basin encompasses three other prospective project areas namely El Deceo, Santa Barbara and Catalina. All the five tenements (including Pata Pila and Rana del Sal) straddle the border between Catamarca and Salta provinces in Argentina on the periphery of the main Salar de Hombre Muerto.
Source: Company’s announcement dated 24 July 2019
Along the western margin of the Salar, Pata Pila covers a large alluvial fan with the geophysical profile showing an upper, horizontal conductive layer over ~2 km being compatible with geological units read to contain brines (see Figure below ).
Pata Pila – Interpreted CSAMT model showing lowly resistive brine saturated materials (in purple/blue)
Rana del Sal
The Rana de Sal profile covers an alluvial fan area interpreted to overlie the Salar. The geophysical profile of the prospect demonstrates a highly conductive response over ~1.5 km that are compatible with units interpreted to contain brines (see figure below).
Rana del Sal – Interpreted CSAMT model showing lowly resistive brine saturated materials
The readers of our report are also aware that Galan Lithium has recently closed its initial resource drilling phase over the Candelas Project located in the south-east region at Hombre Muerto.
Overview of Drilling at Candelas
The Candelas Lithium Brine Project, located in the Catamarca Province in the Northern part of Argentina on the Salar De Hombre Muerto, underwent an extensive maiden diamond drilling programme that comprised of two stages.
Stage I –
- Permits received in December 2018 followed by commencement of drilling in January 2019.
- Comprised a total of four drillholes (C-01-19, C-02-19, C-03-19 and C-04-19).
- Outstanding assay and lab results indicated good lithium grades from all drillholes with exceptional low level of impurities and high conductivities.
More on Stage I drilling can be READ here.
Stage II –
- Stage II drilling commenced after permits were received in May 2019 without a pause and covered another four drillholes (C-05-19, C-06-19, C-07-19 and C-08-19).
- Confirmed further high-grade results.
Interestingly, the Stage II data confirmed a minimum 3.5-km strike extent of heavy brines at the northern portion of Candelas, where the drillholes one, three, five and six all demonstrated potential lithium grades > 500 mg/l Li ranging from 510 – 802 mg/l Li.
The summary for the entire drilling campaign results is tabulated as follows-
Source; Company’s announcement dated 22 July 2019
With a fuller picture of the Candelas Project in place and adequate information, the company is now on track to deliver a JORC complaint Maiden Resource Estimate for the same by Q3 CY2019.
Latest Updates –
On 22 July 2019, Galan reported positive lab results for drillhole eight (C-08-19), which indicated a 70.4 m interval grading 744 mg/l Li with low impurities and a brine density of 1.80, which was revealed by a comprehensive 72-hour pumping test, with both conductivities remaining >200 mS/cm.
In addition, pumping tests continue to be carried out at the remaining holes at Candelas to ensure quality control over previous samples. The company is simultaneously preparing for a Pre-Feasibility Study into the potential development of the project, that would begin immediately post the resource definition.
Moreover, a preliminary investigation into ion exchange technologies is also underway (as announced July 2019) for processing lithium brines from the project. The results of the same would be utilised into the PFS. More on the same can be READ here.
Electric Vehicle Revolution
Lithium -ion batteries (LIBs) find a wide application in millions of rechargeable consumer electronic devices as well as electric vehicles (EVs), that are on the edge of large-scale global commercialisation as the clean energy rationale penetrates deeper into the society and global giants like Tesla, Nissan, General Motors, Ford, and Toyota continue to promote the manufacturing and adoption of EVs.
With that backdrop, it is no wonder that numerous exploration companies are turning towards the vast Lithium Triangle covering Argentina, Chile and Bolivia to capitalise on the amazing opportunity and the knowledge that the global Lithium demand is expected to witness an upsurge in the next couple of years.
Galan’s market capitalisation stands at around AUD 24.57 million with ~ 129.33 million shares outstanding. On 24 July 2019, the GLN stock price settled the day’s trading at AUD 0.175, delivering a five-day return yield of 15.15%.
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