Orocobre Limited (TSX:ORL)(ASX:ORE) has commenced an initial drilling program at its Salinas Grandes Lithium-Potash Project in North West Argentina.
The drilling program will assess the sub-surface geology and hydrogeology with the objective of estimating an inferred resource at Salinas Grandes in 1Q CY2011.
Previous pit sampling at Salinas Grandes shows very high Lithium and Potassium grades with the nucleus of the salar covering an area of approximately 60 km2, with lithium concentrations over 2000 mg/l, reaching a maximum of 3117 mg/l. In addition potassium values of >20,000 mg/l occur over an area of approximately 40 km2, and boron values >500 mg/l occur over more than 50 km2.
The drilling program comprises 1,200 metres of drilling and all holes will be followed up with down hole geophysical surveys. Samples will be taken for hydro-geological test work.
Previous surface sampling data also highlights the potential for Salinas Grandes to have a greater Potash focus than other Argentine salars due to very low sulphate levels and unusually high potassium grades.
The project is located in the Salta and Jujuy Provinces in north-west Argentina less than 70 kilometres from Orocobre's flagship Olaroz Lithium Project (Olaroz) which provides the potential for operational synergies.
Orocobre is currently working with joint venture partner Toyota Tsushu towards delivering a Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) for its flagship Olaroz Project in 1Q CY2011. Olaroz is widely recognized as the world's next large scale, low cost lithium-potash brine resource.
Orocobre Managing Director, Mr Richard Seville, was very pleased to have commenced drilling at the company's highly prospective Salinas Grandes project.
"Results from the previous pit sampling at Salinas Grandes are believed to show the highest average lithium and potassium grade results from any sampling program undertaken in Argentina and are comparable with the brine grades reported at Atacama in Chile," said Mr Seville.
"We are delighted to have commenced the Salinas Grandes drilling program and expect the results will allow us to estimate an inferred resource at Salinas Grandes in early 2011.
"If drilling shows the same brine grades and chemistry beneath surface, Salinas Grandes could join Atacama as one of the lowest operating cost brines in the world.
"In addition, pit sampling showed potential for the project to have a greater potash focus than other Argentine salars due to very low sulphate levels and unusually high potassium grades.
"The strategic and economic significance of potash has been highlighted by recent corporate activity and we continue to be confident in the outlook for lithium. In fact, at current growth rates, a new project the size of Olaroz will be needed every two to three years just to keep up with demand."
Source: Orocobre Limited