Salar Escondido Lithium Project in Argentina
NRG Metals Inc. has received permits to drill the Salar Escondido lithium project (formerly called Carachi Pampa) in Catamarca province, Argentina. The Salar Escondido project comprises mining concessions totaling approximately 29,180 hectares (72,100 acres) located 280 km southeast of the provincial capital of Catamarca. The project area is strategically located within the Lithium Triangle, in close proximity to one of the largest known lithium deposits in Argentina, and within the Puna Region, an elevated plateau which lies on the eastern side of the Andes Mountains. This region contains a number of highly mineralized salars including the lithium producing salars Hombre Muerto.
Salar Escondido is a large basin, roughly 20 by 40 kilometers in size, which is mostly covered by a series of overlapping alluvial fans. NRG’s technical team believes that a large salar with an area of at least 700 km2 developed in the basin about 2 million years ago.
After the salar was formed, it was buried by coalescing alluvial fans, and it is thus considered to be a “paleo-salar." Hence the name Salar Escondido, which means “hidden salar” in Spanish.
Only a small portion of the original brine salar is presently exposed at surface in a small saline lake in the southwest portion of the basin. The brine in the lake contains anomalous lithium values.
As reported in a news release dated November 21, 2016, the Company tested the paleosalar hypothesis by conducting a Vertical Electric Sounding (VES) geophysical survey over the central part of the basin. The survey detected an extensive zone of very low resistivity (shown in pink in the following illustration). Management believes this zone represents a paleo-salar saturated with saline brine that may contain lithium.
Adrian Hobkirk, CEO of NRG Metals commented: “We are very excited about the exploration potential of the large conductive zone that has been identified in an area that contains anomalous lithium values in surface waters. We have assembled an outstanding lithium team, and now that we have the drilling permits in hand, we are excited to move forward and test the Salar Escondido target.”
NRG is in the process of soliciting contractor bids for drilling and will commence drilling a minimum of 600 meters in two core holes as soon as a contractor is selected and field conditions permit. If encouraging lithium values are encountered, NRG will drill at least four additional holes at a grid spacing of approximately five kilometers and also drill larger diameter wells for pumping tests in order to establish a NI 43-101 compliant maiden mineral resource estimate.