Argentina Lithium (CVE:LIT, OTCMKTS:PNXLF) Interview on Advancing Projects Towards Production
Argentina Lithium & Energy Corp (CVE:LIT, OTCMKTS:PNXLF) VP of Exploration Miles Rideout speaks with host James West in this episode of Midas Letter Daily. The pair discuss Argentina Lithium’s latest geophysics results from its Rincon West lithium project in Salta Province, Argentina located west of Rio Tinto’s adjacent project. Miles Rideout considers the time horizon until becoming a lithium producer and possible partners to help meet that goal. The company’s future project pipeline and capitalization to achieve its future ambitions are also revealed.
In this episode, you will learn:
🔋 Argentina Lithium VP of Exploration Miles Rideout interview (00:00)
🗞 Company updates this quarter (00:57)
🏔 Geophysics landscape (03:01)
⏳ Timeline until production of lithium (04:29)
📈 Future lithium demand (06:09)
💦 Water usage for salar evaporation (07:04)
🇦🇷 Argentina government interest (08:57)
💼 Capitalization to execute on ambitions (10:18)
Argentina Lithium Bio:
Argentina Lithium & Energy Corp is focused on acquiring high-quality lithium projects in Argentina, and advancing them towards production in order to meet the growing global demand from the battery sector. The Company is a member of the Grosso Group, a resource management group that has pioneered exploration in Argentina since 1993.
Resources and Links:
- Investment Highlights
- Argentina Lithium Geophysics Delineates Potential Extent of Conductive Brine Aquifers at Rincon West
- Argentina Lithium Expands Land Position at Salar de Antofalla
James West, Midas Letter CEO: My next guest is Miles Rideout.
He’s the Vice President of Exploration for Argentina Lithium and Energy Corp.
Trading on the TSX-Venture under the symbol LIT and in the United States under the symbol PNXLF.
Miles. Welcome back.
Miles Rideout, Argentina Lithium VP of Exploration: Thanks for having me back.
James West: It’s our pleasure.
Now, Miles. Give us an update on what happened since we last spoke to you about two months ago.
Miles Rideout: We’ve announced our geophysics results on the Rincon West property.
So to refresh, Rincon West is our project on the West flank of the Rincon salar. That salar came into the news in the last five months when Rio Tinto Mining purchased the Rincon mining concession in the central part of the salar with it’s large resource. And we have the West flank of that salar.
We have completed our geophysics program. So that’s comprehensive, transient electromagnetic soundings across the property. And that has shown us that we have can conductors at depth over sixty-four percent of the property. Which appear to be concentrated brines. So this is exactly what we’re looking for in the property.
And just to refresh, that property is I think two thousand three hundred and seventy hectars. So those results indicate that we have better than one thousand five hundred hectares of Brines at depth.
We mobilized our drill last week. Were drilling now. Our initial drill program there will be five holes investigating the core of the conductive zone, and we’ll be doing stratigraphic holes down to four meters in depth. Retrieving core for analysis for flow rates porosity recovery and will be doing brine assays on all those holes. That’s about two thousand metres of drilling that will take us about four months to complete. We’ll be announcing results as we go basically upon completion at each hole. So you should see news from us on a roughly monthly basis going forward until September, approximately.
James West: Right. So what is the geophysical sort of landscape look like as a result of this new data.
Miles Rideout: Well, we have the brine starting at about fifty meters depths and most of the property they start between fifty and one hundred meters depth. Depends on the surface topography, and they extend to about three hundred and four hundred metres depth in most cases.
In portions of the project, we can’t see the bottom of the brines. So that means that the brines are so thick and so conductive that geophysics couldn’t see through them. So, if you’re looking at our news releases. And we’ve put those images on our news release and you’ll see areas where we’re presenting a conductor strata and the conductor Stratus stops without going into below a resistor. That doesn’t mean the brine stops. That means we didn’t see through it. So that’s a good sign. That means that the brines there could be four hundred meters thickness or better. We’ll be trying to investigate right to the bottom of the basin.
Arbitrarily, I’ve kind of set target depth as four hundred meters. But if we’re in productive lithologies in brine forty meters depth will push those holes down to say five hundred meters and try and get to the bottom of the base.
James West: In terms of the time until production of lithium for Argentina Lithium, what is that sort of time horizon look like at this point?
Miles Rideout: For that property and for other properties, we are exploration stage. So the way we would do this would be… these are exploration holes were putting down now. If this program is successful and we’re getting good results, we’re going to continue to drill out the resource and we’ll also need to put in at least one production well in an appropriate spot. So we can pull brines for testing, and we can measure our recovery rates. At that point, what we’re likely to do is to look for a partner for the property and partners these days might take the shape of a brine extraction technology company. And some of those guys are well financed and provide financing towards a production project.
There’s also the battery manufacturers who are looking at, with interested, properties in Argentina.
And there’s also a new player such as petroleum companies. And there’s a variety of petroleum companies which are urged to get in the lithium space and kind of using their drilling and base of experience in the lithium space and trying to get into this as well. So I think that there be ample opportunities for partnering and then we’d be going forward with our partner towards production. And that would take I would imagine, say, five years to seven years time to get into production. And so what we’re looking at for our own part is we’d be servicing that the demand for later on this decade, I expect lithium demand will boom and boom even better than it’s doing today. If you look at the worldwide situation for lithium. Electric vehicles are still on the upswing in terms of the acceptance and consumption. But the other thing that we’re missing on a worldwide basis is battery storage for infrastructure projects. And that could be a massive consumer for lithium. And really, we don’t even see that yet.
The prices of lithium batteries are still coming down and so I think that we’re going to see really strong consumption of lithium going into the next decade.
So our production would be with a view to that kind of market, the big consumers at the end of this decade.
James West: You know, we hear about all these limitations in South America on the permitting of water usage for salar evaporation. Is that a concern for you guys going forward?
Miles Rideout: I don’t think so. What we’re looking at is direct lithium extraction technologies, and there’s multiple benefits to those technologies. They make, in many respects, they make the processing of lithium product easier and better. They’re also more flexible in terms of the grades that you can use, and you can use the reinjection of the brines once you’ve extracted your the ions that you want from the brines you can reinject into your reservoir and improve your extraction that way. So we don’t expect to be a high consumer of water. We actually have water near all our projects have access to water.
And so I don’t expect that to be a big, a big hurdle for us. What we are looking for is improvement in terms of direct lithium extraction. Though this is a young technology that was in, it’s fledgling stage, say ten years ago, and it’s improved by great strides since then, and there are now commercial scale projects are being constructed in Argentina. We’ll be watching those projects seeing how well they perform. The news produced on those projects will be factored into our decisions. How we proceed with the project. But I don’t expect that we will be a large consumer of water. And I think that when we require water we’ll be able to access it without problem.
James West: And so what about the rest of the permitting environment in Argentina? Is it relatively mining friendly or is there any resistance? any risk of government intervention?
Miles Rideout: Well it depends which province you’re in. There’s certainly provinces which demonstrated virtual NO-GO provinces. In some areas this might become or has been a political footfall. In other places, it’s more of a social phenomena say. When we’re talking about the northwest corner of Argentina. So the provinces of Kukui, Salta and Catamarca, these are strongly pro mining provinces. So the provincial governments have demonstrated their support for mining. They’re very much interested in looking at mining working with their own infrastructure projects to develop the Altiplano, the high plane of Western Argentina.
And then the other part of the package is the federal government. And the federal government has signaled very strong that they are interested in mining investment and mining production and particularly on the lithium side. So I’m I’m looking at all the indicators. And I think that they’re very strongly in favor of lithium extraction in northwestern Argentina.
James West: Is the company sufficiently capitalized to execute on all of it’s exploration ambitions?
Miles Rideout: We’re ambitious people.
Our current plans were fully financed to drill out the Rincon project. And we can certainly get going on our Antofalla North project. Which is the next stop on the pipeline.
But I would expect next year perhaps we’d probably move to another financing step because we’re ambitious. We have a lot of projects in the pipeline. I expect to add new projects.
What we’re doing is we’re looking for high-grade potential. My preference is adjacent to existing resources. I think that would give us a very good condition to get up our own high-grade resources. I also look for favourable infrastructure and include all year access on the properties, so nothing too high elevation. And as I say, good access, I don’t like to spend a lot of money on road building if I can spend them any on drilling. So all our projects fit those parameters.
And the way we’re doing our exploration, the geophysics that we do in front is not expensive. There are different kinds of geophysics which are much more expensive. I have a lot of experience with many kinds of pure geophysics. I am a geophysicist.
And the transient electromagnetic soundings that were applying on our properties are fast inexpensive. They provide direct targeting on concentrated brine aquifers. So we know what depth we’ll be drilling, and in many cases will be able to see the bottom of the aquifer. So that’s how we proceed. So we can really get straight to our drill targets, know how to drill these targets, budget accordingly, get on to the best targets and apply our money efficiently. So I don’t expect that we waste much money in this application. And where financed through to next year when we’ll be drilling on the Antofalla North property.
James West: All right Miles let’s leave it there for now. We’ll come back to you in due course here and get an update on the situation. Sounds like you’re making great progress. We’ll speak to you soon.
Miles Rideout: Thank you very much.
James West: Thank you. Bye for now.