Latin Resources Ltd (ASX:LRS) has signed a social and environmental agreement with two communities in Argentina’s San Luis province where the lithium explorer is developing several hard rock lithium projects.
The company can now enter discussions with the San Luis government for a memorandum of understanding which will include the issue of exploration and drill permits, as well as certain concessions.
Metallurgical work has progressed and the company has received an advanced technical report with second-stage results from spodumene to lithium carbonate process test work undertaken by UnCuyo University.
LRS is also in preliminary discussions with several different parties for potential joint venture or offtake agreements in respect to its Argentinian lithium assets.
Latin Resources managing director Chris Gale said the company was extremely pleased with the signing of the agreement.
Gale said: “It is an important milestone which will enable us at last to commence work on our lithium projects.
“The discussions with the government of San Luis province will now commence to establish a framework to develop a lithium industry after the exploration phase is completed by Latin Resources.
“Following the approval of the drilling permits for our San Luis projects the company will move forward with our objective of developing our maiden JORC resource.”
The Geminis pegmatite
The social and environmental agreement also referred to as a community peace treaty, confirms the communities’ interest in actively participating in and supporting the development of a sustainable local mining industry.
It also obligates LRS to conduct educational and technical talks in relation to its projects; provide mining intellectual property and expertise in developing hard rock lithium pegmatites; provide free public courses presented by expert mining professionals; provide training and support to generate local jobs; and promote and sponsor community recreational activities.
The resulting MoU will outline the criteria for developing a lithium industry in San Luis and will also cover the potential manufacture of batteries and other associated products.
The focus of exploration in San Luis is the Geminis mine and the surrounding Don Gregorio exploration concession.
Project tenements contain numerous large under-explored pegmatites with known spodumene mineralisation.
LRS is working on a detailed approach to systematically map and sample the pegmatite field to identify the potential for further lithium mineralisation in the area.
Once permits have been received the exploration strategy will include a first-pass drilling program to be conducted at the Geminis pegmatite.
The objective of the short program will be to ensure the pegmatite is extensive along strike and thick and well-mineralised throughout.
Other pre-drilling activities completed include surveying a proposed access route; receiving contractor quotes to upgrade and construct the access road; and engagement of a remote drilling specialist to provide options for early drill-testing.
Location of NW Alto in LRS' Catamarca tenement package
The company has also shifted its focus in the Catamarca region from known small-scale occurrences to large pegmatite swarms in the Northwest Alto.
The NW Alto hosts hundreds of under-explored pegmatites outcropping over several square kilometres, with no modern exploration being conducted in the area.
Since May LRS’ geological team has been mapping and sampling the extensive swarms in NW Alto and remains optimistic that further work will identify drill targets.
A rock chip sample of 1.219% lithium was previously identified from within one of the only small mines in the region which had previously been exploited for beryl.
The sample was not of any traditional lithium ore mineral, however, the team is encouraged by the presence of lithium.
Location of the 1.219% lithium sample in the NW Alto
The technical report completed by UnCuyo University in Mendoza outlined results from the university’s second-stage test work on the spodumene to lithium carbonate process pilot plant.
The report presents partial results of experimental tests aimed at determining the best recovery conditions, by chemical precipitation, of the by-products of leaching spodumene with hydrofluoric acid.
The next stage will involve determining the best way to extract lithium carbonate from the spodumene concentrate produced in the pilot plant.