Latin Resources Ltd's (ASX:LRS) (FRA:XL5) Argentinian achievements include advancing lithium opportunities in San Luis to permitting stage, exploring at Catamarca and finishing the latest stage of pilot plant testing of a spodumene-to-lithium-carbonate process.
The Western Australian company's agreement with two San Louis communities will allow it to approach the San Luis provincial government for exploration and drilling permits, and other mining-related concessions.
LRS has been on the hunt for tenure in areas prospective for lithium and cobalt as it executes a long-term strategy to explore for minerals in South America.
The two provincial communities with which Latin Resources reached social and environmental agreement are San Francisco and Rio Gomez.
A community peace treaty acknowledged San Francisco and Rio Gomez’s interest in LRS’ Geminis and Don Gregorio, and Maria Del Huerto projects as well as other mining concessions in San Luis province.
Latin Resources’ lithium and cobalt projects in north-western and central Argentina
LRS managing director Chris Gale said, “We are extremely pleased by the signing of the agreement between the Province of San Luis and the communities.
“It is an important milestone which will enable us at last to commence work on our lithium projects.”
LRS’ treaty achievement allows it to enter into memorandum of understanding discussions with San Luis government to lay down a criteria for developing a lithium and battery manufacturing industry in the province.
Permits and concessions could then be granted with the MOU.
LRS plans to drill selected drill targets at projects within San Luis province once permits are received.
The Estanzuela spodumene pegmatite in San Luis province
San Luis province projects
The company has flagged its Geminis and Don Gregorio project is its exploration team’s focus in the province.
This project has known spodumene mineralisation, with spodumene being a luminosilicate mineral that is a source of lithium.
The company reported in a projects update that contractors had been invited to quote on upgrading and constructing a surveyed access road to the project from the town of La Carolina.
LRS wrote on November 30, “Once permits have been received the exploration strategy will include a first-pass exploration drilling program to be conducted at the Geminis pegmatite.
Latin America’s Las Cuevas lithium mine and concessions in Argentina
LRS’ tenement package in San Luis province also includes the Estanzuela, Maria Del Huerto and the Trapiche pegmatites.
The company secured 100% ownership of the Las Cuevas mine and four extra concessions in the province in April 2018.
Las Cuevas mine, 133 kilometres from the San Luis provincial capital, has been intermittently operated since its debut in 1952.
The mine has been one of Argentina’s largest producers of spodumene, beryl and tantalite.
Felspar and quartz are other recent outputs of the mine.
The mine concession contains a number of exposed pegmatites, with the main pegmatite being the focus of historical mining.
It has an exposed strike length of more than 400 metres, thickness of about 70 metres in the central zone and a central dip west of 30 degrees.
LRS believes it is a good target for drilling and, potentially, low-strip quarrying.
The company believes potential strike extensions to the north and south require further drilling.
NW Alto’s location in LRS’ Catamarca province tenement package
Catamarca province projects
LRS has reported its focus in the Catamarca region has shifted from known small spodumene occurrences to large pegmatite swarms found in NW Alto.
It said, “In mid-May the LRS geological team began the systematic mapping and sampling of these extensive (pegmatite) swarms.
“Since then the exploration team has continued to improve their understanding of the area and remain optimistic that with further work they can identify valuable drill targets.”
As previously highlighted by the company, a rock chip from the Buena Estrella small mine that had been exploited for beryl had returned 1.219% lithium oxide.
LRS wrote on November 30, “The sample was not of any traditional lithium ore mineral, however, the exploration team is encouraged by the presence of lithium in the NW Alto and will continue to progress its understanding here.”
The geographical formation where NW Alto’s .219% lithium rock chip was found in Catamarca province
The company also holds a cobalt project in the central north Argentinian province of La Rioja.
Latin’s three exploration licences at La Rioja cover the 22,563 hectares that surround the historical King Tut high-grade cobalt-gold mine.
The main activity in the region was in the early 1900s with a recorded production of between 60 and 80 tonnes of cobalt ore with an average grade of 1.3% cobalt.
Sources dating back to 1984 suggest King Tut mine usually has grades between 0.2% and 2.45% cobalt.
Rock chip sample results from Cecilia concession at Latin Resources’ La Rioja Cobalt Project
Process plant work
The National University of Cuyo (UnCuyo) in Argentina has completed the second phase of test work on its lithium carbonate process pilot plant in Mendoza, issuing a technical report.
An advance technical report details partial results from experimental tests to come up with optimal recovery conditions.
The next steps for the research will involve the team “determining the best way to extract lithium carbonate from the spodumene concentrate produced in the pilot plant”.
Latin Resources’ granted concessions at La Rioja Cobalt Project in Argentina
Latin American ground
LRS has ambitions to build its presence in the lithium and cobalt space, with good acreage to work with in Latin America.
The company has more than 263,000 hectares of lithium exploration concessions in Argentina and 22,563 hectares of cobalt exploration ground at La Rioja.
LRS is also willing to explore opportunities to pick up projects, having a particular focus on battery metals projects in Argentina and Latin America.
The company is undertaking joint venture and offtake agreement discussions with parties interested in partnerships on permitted Argentinian lithium assets.