Argosy Minerals Limited (ASX: AGY) says it is on target to produce its first product from the Rincon Lithium Project – located in the “Lithium Triangle” in Salta Province, Argentina – by the end of Q1 2018.
The company reports that Stage 2 evaporation pond construction works have been completed at the project, coinciding with completion of the first production well, which is currently undergoing pump testing in preparation for imminent lithium brine pumping into the Stage 2 evaporation ponds.
The fully constructed initial Stage 2 evaporation ponds cover an area of ~10 hectares, which increases the company’s capacity for traditional solar evaporation processing of lithium brine to produce lithium brine concentrate for further processing into targeted battery grade LCE product.
Combined with the Stage 1 evaporation ponds already constructed – that have been continuously concentrating lithium brine since April – the company now has ~11 hectares of full constructed evaporation ponds to concentrate lithium brine during the 2017/18 summer peak solar evaporation season.
The first lithium brine concentrate produced is expected to be available for processing through the Stage 1 plant, and targeted to produce first product by the end of the March 2018 Quarter.
The company is conducting two concurrent phases of drilling operations – production well drilling with a rotary drill rig for pumping of lithium brine into the Stage 2 evaporation ponds, and Resource exploration drilling with a diamond drill rig.
The first production well was recently completed to a depth of 108 metres, with a pump installed and is now undergoing pump test-works to determine flow rates for on-going lithium brine pumping into the Stage 2 evaporation ponds.
Preliminary flow rate testing has indicated very positive results.
The company expects to commence lithium brine pumping from the production well into the initial Stage 2 evaporation ponds imminently, with the company currently installing piping for this.
Resource exploration diamond drilling works are continuing, with a total of eight diamond drill-holes planned – with an aim to delineate a JORC-compliant Resource estimate in early 2018.
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Current status of these works comprises completion of four diamond drill-holes (R1 to R4) to a depth of 102.5m – greater than the company’s original target depth of 50m, given lithium brine continuation below that depth.
The company is awaiting the full set of laboratory analysis results for the two most recent drill-holes (R3 and R4).
Argosy Managing Director Jerko Zuvela said the company continues to accomplish significant development milestones to continue its aggressive development strategy to fast-track toward production of LCE product.
“The company is confident that the Rincon Lithium JV Project has a clear conceptual pathway to lithium production, with historical results and Mr Alurralde’s previous operating and production experience from the Project area and over the broader Salar del Rincon justifying the fast-track approach.
“All mining titles within Argosy’s Rincon Lithium Project are either owned 100% by Puna Mining S.A. – our local joint venture entity, or Argosy has legal, secure, binding and exclusive option rights to fulfil the conditions and complete the 100% acquisitions of the properties,” Mr Zuvela said.