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Marifil Mines begins lithium exploration campaign

Published by , Assistant Editor
Global Mining Review,

Marifil Mines Ltd (Marifil) has launched its lithium exploration programme with the acquisition of two brine properties in the Province of Catamarca, Argentina, which is located within the famed "Lithium Triangle".

The properties total 6528 ha, covering portions of alkali flats ("salars" or "salt lakes") on the Puna plateau, a high elevation basin-like plain on the eastern slope of the Andes Mountains. The tenements, or claims, have potential not only for lithium salts, but also for potash and borates. The project area is approximately 100 km south of FMC's Hombre Muerto lithium brine production operation.

Marfil’s President and CEO, Robert Abenante, commented: "The acquisition of these exciting lithium claims marks the beginning of our aggressive lithium property acquisition and exploration campaign." 

"Obtaining the rights to these significant lithium properties, in the heart of Argentina's Lithium Triangle, displays our company's ability to leverage its respected and experienced team in Argentina," added Abenante. "We continue negotiations to obtain additional lithium prospects for our lithium portfolio all within Argentina's world-renowned Lithium Triangle."

Lithium is derived from hot waters of volcanic origin, which leach it from surrounding volcanic rocks, and is concentrated by evaporation in salars that have no outlet except for evaporation. Hydrothermal solutions emanating from regional faults may also be a secondary source of lithium and borates.

The tenements constituting the properties are referred to as the "cateos", which in Argentina translates to "exploration concessions". The cateos, Fraile (5678 ha) and Ratones (850 ha), are controlled 100% by Marifil. According to the company, the properties are not subject to surface owner obligations, as both of the cateos are located on government lands.

The Ratones cateo is located on the Ratones salar, approximately 50 km southwest of the town of Antofagasta de la Sierra, and is accessible by dirt road. The crescent shaped Ratones salar is approximately 1.5 km wide and 15 km long. The company's claim covers the prospective heart of the southern portion of the salar.

Marifil has taken eight reconnaissance surface water samples on the Ratones salar. Geochemically anomalous levels of boron were found, but without anomalous lithium. These brine samples are believed to have been diluted by fresh water run-off and the results represent only the top of the water column where samples may not be representative of denser brines that exist further down in the water column. Lithium brine-bearing aquifers below the glistening salt crust are of low resistivity with high conductivity. Such horizons can be detected by a Transient Electromagnetic Method (TEM) geophysical survey, which is intended to be the next step in the company's exploration of the Ratones salar.

The Fraile cateo is located on the Fraile salar, approximately 60 km west of the town of Antofagasta de la Sierra, and is accessible by dirt road. It covers the northeast rim of the large salar that is largely concealed by alluvial fans. Reconnaissance exploration pit sampling is planned.

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