Orocobre (ASX: ORE, TSX: ORL) is a minerals exploration company focusing on lithium-potassium brine at the Olaroz Project in Argentina. Through its 85%-owned subsidiary, South American Salar Minerals Pty Ltd, the company also has interests in a pipeline of other salar (salt), lithium and potash projects in Argentina.
Orocobre (ASX: ORE, TSX: ORL) has commenced an initial drilling program at its Salinas Grandes Lithium-Potash Project in North West Argentina to assess the sub-surface geology and hydrogeology, with the objective of estimating an inferred resource in the first quarter of 2011.
There is potential for greater Potash focus at Salinas Grandes than other Argentine salars due to very low sulphate levels and unusually high potassium grades.
The project is located in the Salta and Jujuy Provinces in north-west Argentina less than 70 kilometres from Orocobre’s flagship Olaroz Lithium Project (Olaroz) which provides the potential for operational synergies.
Orocobre and JV partner Toyota Tsushu are on track to deliver the flagship Olaroz Lithium Project Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) in the first quarter of 2011.
Olaroz is widely recognized as the world’s next large scale, low cost lithium-potash brine resource.
Richard Seville, Orocobre Managing Director, said “results from the previous pit sampling at Salinas Grandes are believed to show the highest average lithium and potassium grade results from any sampling program undertaken in Argentina and are comparable with the brine grades reported at Atacama in Chile.”
“The strategic and economic significance of potash has been highlighted by recent corporate activity and we continue to be confident in the outlook for lithium. In fact, at current growth rates, a new project the size of Olaroz will be needed every two to three years just to keep up with demand,” he added.
Previous pit sampling at Salinas Grandes shows very high Lithium and Potassium grades with the nucleus of the salar covering an area of approximately 60 km2, with lithium concentrations over 2000 mg/l, reaching a maximum of 3117 mg/l.
In addition potassium values of >20,000 mg /l occur over an area of approximately 40 km2, and boron values >500 mg/l occur over more than 50 km2.
The drilling program comprises 1,200 metres of drilling and all holes will be followed up with down hole geophysical surveys. Samples will be taken for hydro-geological test work.
With such quality assets Orocobre is poised to become a major new force in the growing lithium market.