Latin Resources unveils Brazilian lithium strategy
Latin Resources Ltd (ASX:LRS) has provided an update on its lithium projects and ongoing exploration activities in South America, highlighting its intention to commence significant exploration work on the group’s lithium projects held by its 100% owned Brazilian subsidiary, Mineração Ferro Nordeste.
The projects are located in the Jequitinhonha valley region of Minas Gerais, host to the Eastern Brazilian pegmatite province and home to Sigma Lithium and lithium producer Companhia Brasileira de Lítio (CBL).
As indicated below, the assets collectively represent eleven tenements named the Salinas Lithium Project that host several mapped pegmatites and spodumene occurrences.
The Jequitinhonha valley is a highly underexplored region that currently contains 100% of the official lithium reserves of Brazil.
Latin Resources has appointed local geologists to carry out field work to define drill targets on the Salinas tenements with the company having completed significant field work on the tenements in 2019, locating several occurrences of spodumene never previously known or reported.
The focus will now turn to the well-advanced spodumene tenure which will allow the rapid drill testing of any potential lithium deposit, enabling management to quickly advance to JORC compliance.
The company’s in-country resources will be directed to the Brazilian lithium projects where Latin Resources believe it can effectively and expeditiously execute exploration programs to deliver positive news and results to its shareholders.
Identifying relationships with main Salinas pegmatite
Exploration carried out by Latin Resources in 2019 showed numerous pegmatites were located hosted in schist and showed homogenous spodumene mineralisation.
During this exploration program, the largest exposure of pegmatite visited on the tenement displayed 12 metres of outcrop width, and the visual estimation of spodumene mineralisation was 25%.
The discovery of spodumene mineralisation in what could be associated pegmatites appears to bode well for the future.
The pegmatites cross-cut the rivers with exposure in a general north north-west trend, continuing into the neighbouring tenement to the south.
Further work on the pegmatites will now be followed up to determine their relationship to the Salinas main pegmatite which is 1.5 kilometres north-east.
Management views the 600 metre distance between points in the west and points in the east that show spodumene mineralisation as a good sign for a potential continuous pegmatite field below surface.
Sigma an emerging lithium hydroxide producer in a world class province
Investors looking for other projects in the region that could provide a guide as to what may lie ahead for Latin Resources could find Sigma Lithium (TSXV: SGMA) a useful point of reference.
Sigma is the most active lithium explorer in the region with a world-class lithium resource base which currently stands at 45.7 million tonnes at 1.38% Li2O.
The company is focused on 10 high-grade hard-rock lithium pegmatites, nine of which were past-producing lithium mines, yet have reported over 200 pegmatites within their tenure.
Sigma is in now in pre-construction of its large-scale lithium concentration commercial production plant in Minas Gerais.
Based on the Feasibility Study Report, the Commercial Production Plant will contemplate a capacity of 220,000 tonnes annually of battery-grade “green” lithium concentrate and Sigma will be amongst the lowest-cost producers of lithium concentrate globally.
In relatively close proximity, Companhia Brasileira de Lítio (CBL) is actively mining spodumene pegmatites, producing a spodumene concentrate which is then transferred to a chemical plant in Divisa Alegre, Minas Gerais.
The concentrate is then transformed into industrial-grade lithium hydroxide, a commodity that is forecast to grow in demand given it possesses the qualities required for battery production.
This is a market where Latin Resources sees immense opportunities, particularly given there are limited global supplies of lithium hydroxide.
Indeed, CBL is one of the few companies worldwide with the integrated lithium ore-concentrate-compound technology.
Part of CBL’s underground spodumene mining operation can be seen on the left, while the picture on the right shows an overhead view of the lithium hydroxide facility.
Latin and Integra Capital joint venture starting exploration in June quarter
The joint venture between Latin Resources and Integra Capital is progressing well and exploration work will commence in the next quarter now that COVID restrictions are being lifted in the Province of Catamarca.
Integra will spend up to US$1 million (AU$1.4 million) under the Joint Venture which will underpin an aggressive exploration program on the Catamarca concessions, with the initial aim of delivering a Maiden JORC Resource.
Following the release of a Maiden JORC Resource on the projects, the joint venture focus will turn to project development, including feasibility, engineering and metallurgy studies to produce a lithium spodumene concentrate.
Latin has already developed a high-level scoping study with consulting engineers Primero Group for the Argentinian lithium assets.
Under the JV, Latin will be free-carried through initial exploration with financing for the construction of the processing plant to be in line with percentage ownership between Integra and Latin of the project partnership at the time of the Final Investment Decision.
Commenting on the upcoming work program and the company’s broader strategy in Brazil, executive director Chris Gale said, “We are extremely pleased to start work again on our very exciting Brazilian lithium projects.
"The work carried out in 2019 by our technical team has uncovered some wonderful opportunities in Brazil.
"The more we investigate Minas Gerais, the more we get excited about the huge potential this under-explored region holds.
"This significant time and investment into Brazil marks the start of the company’s lithium strategy to develop valuable lithium projects in a fantastic mining province.
"I am very confident that the company can quickly and effectively execute exploration programs in Brazil which we hope will deliver positive news to its shareholders in a very timely fashion.”