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New Chilean ground bolsters Pan Asia Metals lithium play

A view of the Pampa del Tamarugal Basin located within the Atacama Desert where Pan Asia Metals is hunting for lithium.

Pan Asia Metals (ASX: PAM) has secured an extra 303 square kilometres of exploration concessions under option agreements for its ambitious Tama Atacama lithium project in northern Chile, stretching the company’s total landholding at the site out to a searching 1235km sq.

The move anchors Pan Asia’s presence in one of South America’s biggest and most strategically-important lithium brine regions.

The company had previously entered into an option agreement for a 1036sq km plot in the northern project area, in addition to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for 400sq km in the southern region. Today’s granting of concessions marks the successful conclusion of a fifth round of exploration grants this year.

Given that it is subject to a judicial process in Chile, the granting of the concessions provides management with a high degree of confidence in its security of tenure.

About 13sq km of the newly-granted concessions are within the 400sq km under the MOU. Known as the southern project area, it is close to the company’s Ramatidas and Powerline prospects.

Once the total southern area is granted, the new ground will be integrated into the overall project. To date, 263sq km of the total 400sq km under the MOU have been granted.

At PAM, we are keeping the big picture in mind, building out our brine holdings in Chile, the lowest-cost lithium producing country in the world. Strategic positioning is paramount to achieving low-cost, long-term lithium production, and low cost is important because if you are in the bottom third of the cost curve, you will typically make good margins regardless of the underlying price cycle.
Pan Asia Metals Chairman and Managing Director Paul Lock

Last December, the Chilean Congress made a significant move by passing “Law No.21420″, which ushered in important changes to the Chilean Mining Code. Among the standout modifications was the extension of the term for exploration concessions to four years, with the potential for an additional four-year renewal – replacing the old two-plus-two-year licensing system. Consequently, the two newly-granted exploration concessions will now remain valid until 2027 and 2028, respectively, providing a longer horizon for development and exploration.

Situated at an altitude of between 800m and 1100m, the Tama Atacama project benefits from an environment with extremely high evaporation rates, which is ideal for lithium extraction.

The project area covers six key prospects extending 290km north-to-south and is strategically located close to essential infrastructure – including being just 75km from the coastal city of Iquique. The city is equipped with a deep-water bulk and container port, facilitating efficient export operations.

Additionally, the project lies north of Chile’s lithium chemical refining hub in Antofagasta, with access to rail and road helping to enhance Pan Asia’s logistical picture.

The company’s preliminary reconnaissance on its Tama Atacama project has indicated a geological environment akin to the better-known Salar de Atacama that lies 600km south of the project area. Geochemical analyses have uncovered extensive lithium surface anomalies and historical geophysical data has revealed a deep basin reaching depths of up to 600m, suggesting the potential for substantial lithium yields.

Assay results highlight lithium concentrations peaking at 2200 parts per million, with an average of 700ppm across sampled locations signalling the possibility of high-grade mineralisation.

With lithium projects in both Thailand and Chile, Pan Asia appears primed to broaden its global footprint. The company’s focus on integrating supply chains could ensure the delivery of cost-effective and highly sought-after battery materials, positioning it as a serious contender in the dynamic world of sustainable energy.

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