MGX Minerals Inc. (“MGX” or the “Company”) is pleased to provide an update on its South American lithium assets.
Chilean Lithium Brine Portfolio
The Company has engaged SRK Consulting (U.S.) Inc. (“SRK”) to complete a technical report and exploration recommendation on the Company’s Chilean lithium brine projects. SRK will perform a comprehensive review of available data and supporting documentation, as well as information obtained from site visits.
As previously announced, MGX has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (the “MOU”) to acquire 50% of the issued shares of Chilean Lithium Salars SpA (“CLS”) (see press release dated August 8, 2018). CLS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Chilean Lithium Salars Holdings Ltd. (“CLSH”) and holds a 100% interest in three prospective lithium exploration Projects (the “Projects”) located in Chile, including the Francisco Basin, Laguna Brava and Laguna Escondida Lithium Projects.
The Laguna Brava salar is located 200 kilometers (km) northeast of the regional capital of Copiapo. The project consists of 14 concessions at 4,250 meters above sea level (masl) in a high plateau of the Andes, near the Chile-Argentina border, and has access by sealed roads to within 65 km of the project. The catchment is dominated by volcanic rocks, many of which have been altered by hydrothermal fluids associated with volcanism. The lake is also fed by active hot springs. Historical sampling of surface brines indicated lithium enrichment. In December 2017, CLSH undertook a four-hole reconnaissance drilling program at a southern access point to the salar to investigate the deeper aquifer. The results from this program confirmed the presence of lithium-bearing brine at depth. A geophysical program comprising of electromagnetic and gravity surveys was completed in February 2018.
The Francisco Basin project is the largest of the CLSH Andean projects and is located 100 km southeast of the regional centre of Copiapo. The project has good access via a regional highway and established tracks. The project has a total lease area of 110 square kilometers (km2), of which 60 km2 falls within the Tres Cruces National Park. The remaining 50 km2 lease area located outside the park is the focus of CLSH’s exploration activities. Historically, there has been no lithium exploration or drilling on the project, with previous work being limited to hydrology studies. In January 2018, CLSH completed reconnaissance brine sampling at the project which confirmed lithium enrichment in the surface brines. A geophysical program comprising an electromagnetic survey was completed in April 2018.
The Laguna Escondida project is located approximately 200 km east northeast of the regional capital with good access via a provincial highway to within 10 to 15 km of the project.
Drilling Permit Issued for Salinitas Concessions
MGX has also been notified by joint-venture partner A.I.S. Resources (TSX: AIS) (“AIS”) that the Salta Department Mines Administration has issued drill permits for the Salinitas lithium project (“Salinitas”) in Argentina. A.I.S. is nearing completion and interpretation of all TDEM data and has plans to conduct trenching as well as an auger drilling program to test the shallow, near surface brine targets that may potentially contain anomalous concentrations of lithium and other elements. Exploration is being overseen by newly appointed A.I.S. Resource’s President and CEO Phillip Thomas. Mr. Thomas specializes in development of lithium brine projects and previously acted as CEO of Admiralty Resources, where he was responsible for putting the Rincon Salar in Argentina into production.
The Salinitas tenements are located in the lithium triangle at the Salar de Salinas Grandes, in the Province of Salta. The 4,308 hectare contiguous land package resides in the Puna region of northwest Argentina near the border of Chile, an area renowned for its lithium- and potassium-rich brine resources. MGX has partnered with A.I.S. Resources (TSX.V: AIS) on the Project and is currently earning an undivided 80% interest by incurring total exploration expenditures of at least US$1.2 million by May 31, 2020 and by making payments totaling US$3.2 million which are primarily due at that time.
Rapid Lithium Brine Extraction Technology
MGX has developed a rapid lithium extraction technology eliminating or greatly reducing the physical footprint and investment in large, multi-phase, lake sized, lined evaporation ponds, as well as enhancing the quality of extraction and recovery across a complex range of brines as compared with traditional solar evaporation. This technology is applicable to petrolithium (oil and gas wastewater), natural brine, and other brine sources such as lithium-rich mine and industrial plant wastewater. The technology was recently chosen as winner of the Base and Specialty Metals Industry Leadership Award at the 2018 S&P Global Platts Global Metals Awards, held in London in May (see press release dated May 18, 2018).
Andris Kikauka (P. Geo.), Vice President of Exploration for MGX Minerals, has prepared, reviewed and approved the scientific and technical information in this press release. Mr. Kikauka is a non-independent Qualified Person within the meaning of National Instrument 43-101 Standards.