Orocobre Limited (TSX:ORL)(ASX:ORE) -Lithium carbonate production has commenced at the company's test work facilities on the Salar de Olaroz.
Over the past 18 months the Company has been developing the process route for treating the Olaroz brine based on the "Silver Peak" method used at Clayton Valley, Nevada since the late 1960s. This has resulted in the pilot scale production of lithium carbonate on site. This is a significant milestone.
The next stage in the process development is to optimise the process route with the objective of providing lithium carbonate product for supply to potential end users.
Resource Evaluation Drilling Program Results
The current resource evaluation drilling program is designed with 20 cored holes to 54m using sonic technology and six cored holes to 200m, five using conventional triple tube coring techniques and one with sonic technology. Of the twenty cored sonic holes, sixteen are designed to upgrade the current resource and are located within the area of the 2008 drilling programme (Resource Upgrade Area) and four are outside that area designed to increase the extent of the resource.
Taking into account the location of the holes for the results available, the results are considered to be in line with the results from the 2008 drill programme. The highest grades occur in the central part of the salar (From C04 in the north-east through C12/ C13B to C14 in the south-west). Lower grade results are on the western side.
The results confirm a low Magnesium to Lithium ratio. Average sulphate levels over the length of the hole varied from 13g/l to 18g/l.
Rio Rosario Delta Exploration Target Results
Three cored holes using sonic drilling techniques have been drilled in the southern part of the Rio Rosario delta north of the holes drilled in 2008 with the objective of exploring for brines north of the current resource and extending the resource area.
The results highlight the potential for high grade brines to occur beneath a shallow, lower grade layer of brine. The potential geometry of this brine body is shown in the figure based on the AMT surface geophysics calibrated with the drilling.
Boundary holes for hydro-geological modelling
Four, 200m deep holes were drilled outside the resource area to provide information on the boundary conditions for later extraction reserve modelling. These holes intersected fresh water (DWS) to the south east in the Archibarca delta which separates Olaroz from Cauchari, to the west of the salar (DWO) and further north in the Rio Rosario delta (DWN). To the east in the vicinity of the Viento Blanco leases (DWE), the transitional zone between brine and fresh water was intersected.
Quality Assurance/Quality Control
The Quality Assurance/Quality Control protocols are similar to those described in the technical report entitled "Technical Report – Salar de Olaroz Project, Argentina" dated April 30, 2010 (the "Olaroz Report"), prepared by John Houston, Consulting Hydro-geologist, together with, in the case of the Olaroz Report, Peter Ehren, Consulting Processing Engineer, in accordance with NI 43-101. These protocols involve systems to ensure the security of the samples and the use of blind standards, duplicates and check analyses.
The samples were analyzed by Alex Stewart Assayers (ASA) of Mendoza, Argentina, using the Inducted Coupled Plasma spectrometry (ICP) method for the elements reported. The ASA laboratories have extensive experience analyzing lithium bearing brines. They are ISO 9001 accredited, and operate according to Alex Stewart Group standards consistent with ISO 17025 methods at other laboratories.
These results have been verified by Richard Seville, Chief Executive Officer of the Company and a qualified person as defined in NI 43-101.
Source: Orocobre Limited