Clean lithium developer Lake Resources (ASX: LKE) has embarked on a major expansion and integration strategy with the aim of accelerating its three wholly-owned lithium projects in Argentina into feasibility studies.
The company today announced that it is advancing its TARGET 100 program, which aims to deliver 100,000 tonnes per year of high-purity lithium to market by 2030.
Lake said the US$15 million (A$21 million) program will accelerate development of its wholly owned Olaroz, Cauchari and Paso lithium projects to “ensure the expansion of multi- assets to address the projected supply shortfall of high-purity lithium.
This follows planned production from the company’s Kachi lithium brine project, set at 50,000 tpy of lithium carbonate in its definitive feasibility study.
TARGET 100 program
The drilling program began with the first rotary well of a 10-hole, 4,000 meter program in the northern areas of the Olaroz concessions, which cover a 30 km long area on the east side of established lithium producers, including Allkem and Lithium Americas and joint venture Ganfeng.
The boreholes are designed to quickly quantify identified brines, develop aquifers and perform pumping tests and provide data for early feasibility studies.
Diamond holes should follow the rotary wells.
The brines will be sampled and tested with a direct lithium extraction method similar to previous work conducted on lithium brines from the Kachi project.
According to Lake’s general manager, Steve Promnitz, this mining method can deliver scalable projects to market faster to meet rapidly increasing demand.
Accelerated development support
Lake Chairman Stu Crow added that the decision to accelerate the production of these assets can be attributed to the company’s ongoing discussions with battery metal customers and its ambition to become an integrated and valuable in the global supply chain.
He said the company’s rationale for accelerating the expansion and integration of these assets is the same as Lake’s rationale for expanding its Kachi project.
These reasons include: growing demand from potential supply partners for a secure supply chain of environmentally friendly high-purity lithium carbonate; indicative support for the financing of new projects by export credit agencies and the international banking panel; favorable investment policies of the Argentine government; and the confidence of Lake’s technology partner, Lilac Solutions, that its modular direct lithium extraction technology is “scalable” and “cost effective.”
“This, combined with growing customer and consumer scrutiny of the environmental credentials of lithium production, and concerns about security of supply, has given us the confidence to accelerate these developments,” Mr. Crow.
A separate exploration and test team will focus on the rapid development of Lake’s other three brine projects in Argentina using the comprehensive data set developed during direct mining processing test work at the Kachi project.