LPI has entered into a 50% JV with Minera Salar Blanco and Li3 Energy to explore and develop the high-grade Maricunga lithium brine project in Chile. Maricunga is regarded as the highest quality pre-production lithium project in Chile, with characteristics comparable to the world-leading Atacama lithium brine deposit. The salar is located 170km north-east of the mining town of Copiapo and 250km from the Chilean coast. In addition, it is adjacent to International Highway 31, which connects northern Chile and Argentina.
The Maricunga project lies to the south of the Atacama Salar, which contains two lithium brine operations controlled by SQM and Albemarle, which together sit at the bottom of the global lithium cost curve, given their high grade.
LPI exploration tenements cover 203km² across the Pilbara region of northern Western Australia. The Pilgangoora-Houston Creek Project is the largest of the three Pilbara tenements. Historically, the Pilgangoora area has been recognised for tin, tantalum, and gold mining.
However, more recently, Pilbara Minerals (PLS.ASX) project contains one of the world’s largest spodumene (lithium pyroxene) resources and one of the largest tantalite resources. This globally significant project is set to become a low-cost supplier of lithium and tantalum. In addition, Altura Mining (AJM.ASX) have also defined a significant rare metal pegmatite resource in the Pilgangoora area. These two deposits lie just 2.5km and 3.5km east from LPI’s Pilgangoora-Houston Creek tenement. LPI’s exploration tenements are 100% owned by Lithium Power. LPI aims to commence a 3000m RC drilling program in the first half of 2017 on its Pilgangoora tenement.
Lithium Power holds granted exploration tenements extending over 400km2 in the Greenbushes region of southern Western Australia. They are adjacent to the world’s largest hard rock lithium mine, owned and operated by Tianqi/Talison. The Greenbushes area was first discovered as a resource of alluvial tin in the late 19th century. Subsequently, the source of the tin was recognized to be a series of pegmatites, which also contain tantalite and spodumene (lithium). The Talison hard rock mine was established in 1983, initially focused on tantalum production, however the primary product is now lithium. The most recent public lithium resource for the Talison mine was 119.4 Mt @ 2.42% Li2O as at 30 September 2013. Talison was taken over by Chinese lithium producer Chengdu Tianqi in 2012.
Our tenement portfolio at Greenbushes comprises the Balingup project, a large tenement extending north and west of Talison’s mine and the Brockman Highway project, which is south of Talison’s mine and divided by the Brockman Highway. These granted exploration tenements are 100% owned by Lithium Power.
Through its Argentinian subsidiary, Lithium Power holds a total of 6 granted tenements in the Centenario lithium brine salar within the Salta province of the Puna Plateau. In total, the 6 granted tenements cover an area of 61.52km2. In addition, there is 1 further tenement in the grant review stage. The majority of the other tenements in the Centenario salar are owned by Eramat, a public French mining & chemical company.
The site is approximately 165km west of the city of Salta, the provincial capital, and 180km east of the Chilean border. The Centenario salar is approximately 60km in length, with its long axis trending approximately north-south. The salar is in the same province as other lithium brine operators such as Orocobre, FMC, and Western Lithium.