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Argentinian lithium brine resource “world class”: Galan

Galan Lithium’s ever expanding Hombre Muerto West project in Argentina. Credit: File

Galan Lithium has labelled its beefed-up resource “world class”, with 6.6 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent at 880 milligrams per litre lithium at its Hombre Muerto West project in Argentina.

Notably, management says it is the third significant resource upgrade for the project in three years and that 72 per cent of the new figure sits in the higher “measured” category, representing 4.7 million tonnes grading 873 mg/l lithium.

The company’s fresh numbers underline the consistent high-grade with low impurities that it has been turning up since it kicked off with the project and importantly, there has been no cut-off grade applied to the resource.

The initial HMW resource in March 2020 was 1.08Mt LCE @ 946Mg/L Li. This now sits at a world class size of 6.6Mt contained LCE at 880mg/l Li. Coupled with our Candelas resource, Galan has a very solid foundation, and more importantly confidence, that its Hombre Muerto Salar resources fully support its four-stage lithium production target of up to 60ktpa LCE. Galan Lithium managing director Juan Pablo Vargas de la Vega​

Galan is proposing a 20,000-tonne per annum lithium carbonate production facility with a mine life of more than 40 years and management argues its latest resource upgrade is a shot in the arm for its ambition to start commercial production in the shortest possible time. Studies have pegged an EBITDA of US$287 million (AU$432.2 million) per annum when full production is achieved in 2025.

The company is currently constructing a 4000-tonne per annum lithium carbonate pilot plant facility to guide its wider project parameters.

Galan believes its HMW project and its nearby Candelas lithium brine project are both accurately described as world-class lithium brine projects. Its South American flagship HMW is proven to host lithium brine deposition of the highest grade and lowest impurity levels within Argentina. The Hombre Muerto region is also home to established lithium brine operations at Livent Corporation’s El Fenix, Allkem’s Sal de Vida and POSCO’s Sal de Oro.

Next cab off the rank for Galan is more exploration in a bid to consolidate all of its expansion tenements and potentially boost its numbers even further. New production wells are expected to be wrapped up by this year’s final quarter.

Recent softness in global lithium prices has been attributed to a variety of factors, including heavy discounting on fossil fuel-powered vehicles and an end to electric vehicle subsidies in China.

However, the long-term outlook remains bullish with United States battery chemical giant Albemarle’s $5.5 billion bid for Liontown Resources and a string of big investments by car makers showing any talk of the demise of the electric vehicle market may be premature.

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