CleanTech Lithium PLC (CTL), an exploration and development company, advancing the next generation of sustainable lithium projects in Chile, has announced an operations and corporate update, following its recent admission to AIM, in line with its stated strategy to produce low or zero emissions lithium, a critical advantage in the fast-growing EU market, by 2H24.
- Resource drilling at its two projects Laguna Verde and Francisco Basin, located in the lithium triangle – the world’s centre for battery grade lithium production, is progressing well and as planned.
- Drilling has confirmed the presence of sub-surface brine aquifers in both projects.
- Brine analysis results from six holes of an eight-hole programme (four holes at Laguna Verde and two holes at Francisco Basin) expected in 2Q22.
- An upgraded JORC compliant resource estimate for Laguna Verde and a maiden resource estimate for Francisco Basin targeted for 2Q22.
- Updated JORC compliant resource estimate at Laguna Verde to provide basis for pre-feasibility study.
- Admitted as a new member of the National Mining Society in Chile – SONAMI, a Chilean trade association that represents and supports the advancement of mining activity in Chile.
- CEOL application for production licence to be re-submitted in line with new government and administration process.
Aldo Boitano, CEO, of CleanTech Lithium PLC, said: “As outlined in our recent admission to AIM announcement, it is our intention to produce low or zero emissions lithium, a critical advantage in the fast-growing EU market, by 2H24. The resource drilling programmes at Laguna Verde and Francisco Basin are an important step of this journey.
“The resource drilling programmes, which commenced in January 2022 at Laguna Verde and in March 2022 at Francisco Basin, are progressing well and importantly, in line with management’s expectations, confirming the presence of sub-surface brine aquifers at both projects. Brine sampling is underway with assay results due in 2Q22. These results are also expected to provide the basis for an upgraded resource estimate at Laguna Verde, and a maiden resource estimate at Francisco Basin in 2Q22. We look forward to updating the market on our assay results and full results of our resource drilling programmes in due course.”
Resource drilling programme
The company is undertaking an eight-hole drilling programme at its two projects Laguna Verde (four holes) and Francisco Basin (four holes), located in the lithium triangle of Chile with a total licence area of >175k m2. Both projects are situated within basins entirely controlled by CleanTech Lithium, which affords significant potential development and operational advantages. The projects have direct access to excellent infrastructure and renewable power.
Laguna Verde Resource drilling programme progress update
The resource drilling programme at Laguna Verde, which commenced in January 2022, is aimed at upgrading the sub-surface resource from inferred to measured and indicated in accordance with the JORC Code. This will provide the basis for undertaking a pre-feasibility study on the project.
The Laguna Verde project has an existing JORC compliant resource estimate of 77 834 t of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) in the measured category, which comprises the surface resource, and 1.16 million t LCE in the inferred category, which comprises the sub-surface resource.
The current drilling programme comprises four drill holes. LV01 was drilled to a depth of 474 m, having encountered a brine aquifer thickness of 348 m. LV02 was completed at 339 m and recorded an aquifer thickness of 282 m.
Both holes have been cased to a depth of 320 m, with slotted casing used from the aquifer starting depth. At LV02 a total of 25 brine samples were collected from the aquifer. Sampling is proceeding at LV01. The drill rig is currently positioned at hole LV03 where drilling has reached a depth of 364 m.
Drill hole locations were selected to minimise any potential environmental impacts, with each hole located at least 200 m from the margin of the surface lake and at a significantly higher elevation. Each hole drilled during the current programme can be converted into a production or hydrogeological monitoring bore. The location of any future production bores will also be selectively located to minimise impacts.
A geophysics programme based on a transient electromagnetic (TEM) survey was also completed in March 2022 by Geodatos. The programme supported the relocation of hole LV04 to the east side of the lake, due to accessibility problems relating to the initial location. It also tested deeper aquifer target zones on the eastern area of the licenses, to generate potential additional drilling targets.
Francisco Basin drill programme progress update
A resource drilling programme, consisting of four wells in total, at Francisco Basin is aimed at producing a maiden resource estimate. Two drill holes are planned in the current drill season, which ends in mid- May due to the onset of winter, and two further wells are planned for the next season, starting in October 2022.
The two wells drilled this season will form the basis for a JORC Inferred resource estimate, based on a 2.5 km radius around each of the drill holes. The two wells next season are expected to provide the basis for upgrading the resource to the measured and indicated category.
The drill rig is currently positioned at hole FB01 where drilling has reached a depth of 224 m. Drilling encountered the target brine aquifer at approximately 100 m, and then encountered a confined aquifer at 185 m with high pressure and brine flow rates. On completion the drill hole will be cased, developed, and sampled.
Sampling and resource estimation update
Brine sampling at holes LV01 and LV02, on Laguna Verde, will be completed this week and submitted for laboratory analysis. Results for this first batch of brine samples is expected in early 2Q22 which will be announced to the market. Brine samples from remaining holes drilled at both projects in the current season will be received over the course of 2Q22 and further announced to the market. Based on completion of the four-hole drill programme at Laguna Verde and two holes at Francisco Basin, an upgraded resource estimate for Laguna Verde and a maiden resource estimate for Francisco Basin is also expected to be completed in 2Q22.
As part of the change of Administration in Chile, the company was informed in the last week that the process of awarding special lithium operation contracts (CEOL) has been suspended and, as a result, CTL will be resubmitting the applications for its two projects. The CEOL licences are not required until the production phase of the projects, with first production anticipated in 2H24, and so the company has considerable latitude in the timing of resubmitting the applications, but nonetheless expects to do so in the coming weeks and will update the market accordingly.
It has been confirmed that the previous applications submitted by the company’s subsidiaries were well received and CTL has been encouraged to resubmit the applications. The company’s senior management has had regular and positive discussions with representatives of the new administration, including at senior level, and is confident in the new applications. Recent public statements made by the current administration indicating their support for lithium project developments using clean technology further adds to that confidence.
Read the article online at: https://www.globalminingreview.com/exploration-development/04042022/cleantech-lithium-plc-provides-operations-and-corporate-update/