Arena Minerals Inc. has announced that it has finished exploratory drill hole R-03 on the Barreal II claim block, which is a part of the northernmost section of the Sal de la Puna Project in the Pastos Grandes basin within Salta province, Argentina.
Exhibit 1. Image Credit: Arena Minerals Inc.
Two brine aquifers were intersected by the rotary exploratory hole, which was drilled 620 m below the surface in total. the following are the two brine aquifers:
- 90 m (90–120 m) averaging 538 mg per liter (“mg/l”) lithium (“Li”)
- 255 m (365–620 m) averaging 641 mg/l Li
Both of the newly discovered brine aquifers are primarily made up of alluvial sands with trace amounts of halite. The lowest grade reported intercept in the Pastos Grandes basin was found in the lower aquifer, which began at a depth of 360 m and intersected brines assaying up to 695 mg/l Li.
Due to drill capabilities, the drill hole was stopped at 620 m in alluvial sands, indicating that the aquifer is still open at depth.
Our second exploration hole delivers our best drill results to date, opening the northern portion of our claim blocks to resource development. The grades, brine quality and aquifer material warrant further drilling to expand this brine resource to the north onto our larger La Relojera and Barreal III claims.
William Randall, President and Chief Executive Officer, Arena Minerals Inc.
With an average magnesium-to-lithium ratio of 5.5 and a sulphate-to-lithium ratio of 10.5, the brine maintains the favorable high-quality geochemistry that is present throughout the Pastos Grandes basin.
As an observation well, R-03 has been completed. In R-03, the entire brine column was sampled using double-packer sampling systems according to depth. The fact that brines crossed the entire hole shows that fresh water is not the dominant element in this basin's northern region.
Drill Program Update
On the primary Almafuerte claim block, the production well (PW-1) has been completed. With screened stainless casing and gravel pack from 350 to 500 m deep and blank casing and cement seal from 350 m to the surface, PW-1 has been finished in the lower gravel brine aquifer.
The lower gravel aquifer was first discovered in diamond drill hole DD-02 and contained an average of 503 mg/l of lithium, with grades reaching 557 mg/l Li.
The PW-1 30-day pumping test is expected to start the week of November 14th, 2022. During the pumping test, the water level responses in the nearby observation well DD-02, which is also screened in the lower gravel unit, and M-1, which is screened in the upper halite clay unit to 50 m depth, will be observed.
R-02 has been drilled at Patovica I to a total depth of 411 m, intersecting basement lithologies at a depth of 341 m. A mixture of sand and clay horizons was encountered by the drill hole. Brine samples from various depths have been gathered and sent to the analysis lab. Results are still awaited.
Sal de la Puna Holdings Ltd., a company owned equally by Arena (65%) and Ganfeng New Energy Technology Development (Suzhou) Co., Ltd. (35%), is the beneficiary of the drill program run by Arena.
The drill program initially concentrated on the Almafuerte and Graciela blocks, which span 3,000 m and border Lithium America’s Pastos Grandes project to the south and southeast. Its priorities were to both upgrade the current resource and broaden the resource base for the SDLP Project.
To expand the resource beyond the known aquifers in the Almafuerte and Graciela claim blocks, exploration holes are intended to test previously undrilled areas of the Pastos Grandes basin.
Both Arena and Atacama Water consultants collaborate on the design and management of the drill program. For lithium multi-element Induction Coupled Plasma Spectroscopy analysis, all brine samples are sent to SGS Laboratories, Salta, Argentina, an independent and fully accredited laboratory.
Arena has a strict Quality Assurance and Quality Control program in place, and each sample shipment contains at least 10% duplicates, blanks, and standards.