Lithium explorer and developer Lake Resources NL (ASX: LKE) has witnessed significant advancement in the projects and capital budgeting. In the milieu of which LKE has announced its half-yearly report on 17 March 2020 for the period ended December 2019.
Lake Resources holds projects in Argentina's Lithium Triangle, hosting ~40% of world low-cost lithium sources. The Company wholly owns Kachi and Olaroz/Cauchari & Paso Lithium Brine Projects, along with Catamarca Pegmatite Project in Argentina. It also holds 27.5% Chagai Copper and Gold Project in Pakistan.
Kachi Lithium Brine Project, Catamarca Province: During the half year, a pilot plant was being constructed at California using a new, disruptive, direct extraction process using ion exchange. The pilot plant has been developed and tested, with the plan to transport it to Kachi for operation.
LKE’s plans to bring the project in pre-production phase by 2020 is on track with 20,000 litres of brines from Kachi already been sent to its technology provider Lilac Solutions direct extraction technology in California.
Kachi project is highly attractive not only because of its apt location but also the technology it will process. The Lilac’s technology is globally acclaimed as is it supported by the Bill Gates led Breakthrough Energy fund.
The lab test of Kachi demonstrated higher recovery of ~80-90% in a few hours than the conventional method of 50% or below recovery in 9 to 18 months.
The battery-grade product, along with sustainable and environmentally friendly lithium, gives a sense of ethical investing among the investors. It is, hence, is likely to be preferable and drive premium to the product.
The pre-feasibility study (PFS) of the project is anticipated to be completed soon, and it is expected to fall in the lower quartile of lithium production globally.
The project has a combined resource of 4.4 million tonnes lithium carbonate (LCE) within consolidated mining leases of 70,000 hectares. With this, the project ranks in the top 10 lithium brine resources globally.
The project is anticipated to start producing by 2023, starting with 10ktpa of its approved process capacity of 25ktpa of LCE.
It is also worth mentioning that the Lake Resources has been further boosted by the recent vote of confidence from authorities in Argentina. The meetings held with regulators and provincial governors has confirmed their support to the Company and the development of Kachi Project. Also, Morena del Valle S.A, Lake’s local subsidiary for the Kachi Project in Catamarca employs primarily local people gaining community support.
Click To Read More About The Kachi Project: Evaluating Requisites for LKE’s Future Production
Olaroz/Cauchari & Paso Lithium Brine Projects, Jujuy Province, Argentina: Maiden drilling that started in early 2019 on Cauchari Lithium Brine Project demonstrated multiple high-grade lithium brines over 506m interval in late August 2019.
It is also worth mentioning that the lithium brines extending from the adjoining Ganfeng/ Lithium Americas Cauchari project (NYSE: LAC) possess similar grade to the Lake's property where it has delivered high optimism as the LAC project is advancing progressively toward the production of 40,000tpa lithium carbonate (LCE) by late 2020.
Whereas, Olaroz, which is situated north of Cauchari, is anticipated to start drilling post the planned holes approval.
Interested in Lake’s Projects? Do Read: Project Portfolio Of Lake Resources.
Pegmatite Project, Catamarca Province, Argentina: Lake Resources has lithium prospects in ~80,000 hectares of outcropping pegmatites lease situated in Catamarca Province of Northwest Argentina. The project is wholly owned by Petra Energy SA, 100% owned local subsidiary of Company.
Pegmatite is an early-stage exploration project with the previous history of small-scale production. The project extends over the belt of 150 km holding significant mineralisation of lithium spodumene present in large pegmatite swarms. It also offers good year-round access since the pegmatite swarms outcrop at relatively low altitudes which include lithium pegmatites.
Chagai Project: Chagai is a copper and gold project located in the Tethyan magmatic arc of Pakistan, which houses number of world-class copper-gold deposits such as Saindak copper-gold mine and the colossal Reko Diq copper-gold deposits.
During the 2H2019, not much exploration activities took place having a future planned discussion in place.
The Company’s primary focus remains the development of Lithium Projects in Argentina, starting with Kachi Lithium Brine Project. For the same, LKE has also raised capital funds to support the commercialisation of the project.
Capital Raising Programme
On 28 February 2019, Lake Resources joined SBI Investments (PR) LLC for convertible securities funding facility for its Kachi project advancement. However, the Company lately agreed with SBI Investments to close out the Convertible Securities funding facility. Under the agreement, LKE made a cash payment of A$1,959,615 and issued 11,558,021 ordinary shares to the SBI on or before 14 and 11 February 2020 respectively.
Click Here to Read More on Reason for Buoyant Investors’ Confidence.
Lake Resources initiated Private Placement (PP) in January which was later increased to A$3.68 million in March 2020 for the issue of ~91.4 million shares with an issue price of A$0.04 to the sophisticated and professional investors.
Apart from PP, Share Purchase Plan (SPP) was also announced on 10 February 2020 to the eligible shareholders at an issue price of A$0.04. It was initially planned to raise A$1.5 million but later upsized to A$2.55 million due to the overwhelming demand by the shareholders. The outcome of SPP is expected to be declared on 18 March 2020 after the market closure.
Latest on PP and SPP, Do Read: Lake Resources Issued 7M Final Tranche of PP.
LKE stock was suspended from official quotation on 16 March 2020 awaiting lodging of the periodic report. The stock last traded on 13 March 2020 at A$0.031.