Amid strong demand, clean lithium developer Lake Resources (ASX: LKE) will expand a drilling and testing program beyond what is required for definitive feasibility study (DFS) work on its flagship Kachi lithium brine project in Argentina.
The new program aims to improve Kachi’s total resources by 4.4 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent and accelerate the conversion of inferred resources into measured and indicated categories.
It will also allow expansion beyond the current production of 25,500 t per year of lithium carbonate described in the pre-feasibility studies.
Managing Director Steve Promnitz said the change in strategy comes amid strong demand for the high purity concentrate produced sustainably by Lake.
“This drilling program will support current production and allow further expansion of Kachi’s resources, making it a project of global significance in terms of the production of high purity lithium carbonate,” he said.
“If we can increase production to double the pre-feasibility volume of 25,500 tpa or more, we will quickly become one of the largest producers of high purity, battery grade lithium carbonate at a time when the gap between l supply and demand is growing rapidly. . “
Electric vehicle manufacturers around the world are leading the way in lithium consumption, Volkswagen’s new battery giga-factories are expected to consume 66% of current production by 2030.
“There is no doubt that the billions of dollars invested in the global clean energy campaign require an increased supply of sustainably sourced battery materials,” said Mr. Promnitz.
“This is exactly what [we] intend to deliver and, above all, our projects are highly scalable.
Drilling and sampling
The expanded work program at Kachi will include diamond drilling of four wells from four platforms over 1,600m, as well as brine and sediment sampling and pumping tests to refine its resource estimates.
Infill drilling will facilitate the conversion of resources to a higher grade after collection of the new data and the drilling of four additional production wells has also been planned.
Work is scheduled to start before the end of the month.
Salt lake location
The Kachi lithium brine project covers 740 square kilometers of concessions above a salt lake just south of the large Salar del Hombre Muerto lithium mine owned by the US-based Livent Corporation.
In March, Lake raised the estimated net present value of the project to US $ 1.6 billion based on production of 25,000 tpa and revised lithium price estimates in an updated pre-feasibility study.
The new price forecast of US $ 15,500 / t for high purity battery grade lithium carbonate demonstrated a stronger financial result for the project than the initial conservative assumption of US $ 11,000 / t.
Lake is looking to further increase its reserve base in a portfolio of projects in Argentina’s famed Lithium Triangle in response to projections of a growing supply gap from 2024.