Argentina’s Increasingly Important Contribution to the Lithium Sector on the Rise

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Vancouver, BC – March 16, 2023 – USA News Group  –  Mining exports in 2022 brought in US$3.86 billion to Argentina, marking the highest for the country since 2012. This spike was spurred on by a whopping 234% increase in lithium exports to US$696 million, as Argentina retained its Top 5 status among lithium producers at number four. Several analysts are forecasting that demand isn’t about to slow down, while suppliers struggle to keep up. As well, governments around the world are scrambling to secure supplies for their countries and incentivizing a need for a lithium supply chain independent of China. All the while, they’re having to compete with China for these strategic new energy minerals. Now there is plenty of attention being paid to South American lithium with plenty of developments underway from developers and producers such as Lithium South Development Corporation (TSXV:LIS) (OTCQB:LISMF), Allkem Limited (TSX:AKE) (OTCPK:OROCF), Alpha Lithium Corporation (NEO:ALLI) (OTCPK:APHLF), Livent Corporation (NYSE:LTHM), and then Sigma Lithium (NASDAQ:SGML) in Brazil.


Developing out its Hombre Muerto North Lithium Project (HMN Li Project) in Salta Province, Argentina, Lithium South Development Corporation (TSXV:LIS) (OTCQB:LISMF) is working to expand upon its M+I resource of 571,000 tonnes Li2CO3 equivalent.


Now in the midst of its 2023 drill campaign, Lithium South just announced more high-grade results at hole AS02, which was completed to a depth of 410m—including 569 mg/L Li, 605 mg/L Li, 637 mg/L Li, and 708 mg/L Li.


“Hole AS02 is the deepest hole completed to date at the HMN Li Project and demonstrates the potential to significantly expand the total resource for the project,” said Lithium South President and CEO Adrian F. C. Hobkirk. “We are very pleased with the high lithium and low magnesium values.”


The HMN Li Project is at an advanced stage of evaluation, with a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) completed in April 2019, which was based on an original Tramo claim of 383 hectares of the project’s original claims, whereas today the property package comprises of 5,687 hectares over 9 mining concessions.


The last hole to be drilled at the Alba Sabrina Claim Block is currently underway at location AS07, while results from other holes completed to date are pending. Once drilling is completed on the Alba Sabrina Claim Block, the rig will move to the Natalia Maria Claim Block located to the east of Alba Sabrina and south-west of the Tramo claim block which was drilled in 2018.


In order to advance their project’s potential for Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE), Lithium South has also sent three 2,000-liter bulk samples of high-quality HMN Li brine for test work performed by three DLE developers: (strategic partners) Chemphys Chengdu located in Sichuan Province, China, Eon Minerals of Salta Province, and Lilac Solutions of Oakland, California.


To the south of the HMN Li Project, Livent Corporation (NYSE:LTHM) is producing lithium and has actively operated there for over twenty-five years, with its Fénix project that involves integrated brine extraction and lithium processing facility located in the Salar del Hombre Muerto that contributes to Argentina’s 37,500t annual lithium output.


The HMN Li Project is also adjacent to a US$4 billion lithium mine under development by the Korean multinational corporation POSCO, which acquired their holdings from Galaxy Resources Allkem Limited (TSX:AKE) (OTC:OROCF)—for US$280 million, closed in 2018.


Allkem went on to retain plenty of asset value in the Lithium Triangle with its Sal de Vida project near groups like Lithium South Development Corporation (TSXV:LIS) (OTC:LISMF), and Livent Corporation (NYSE:LTHM), where the company just acquired another 1,800 ha through the Maria Victoria Tenement.


“The Maria Victoria tenement is expected to add resource tonnes to the already substantial lithium brine resource defined at Olaroz,” said Allkem Managing Director and CEO Martin Perez de Solay. “Control of this tenement will enable the more efficient development of the Olaroz salar as we consider the long term expansion of production.”


Since then, Allkem recently updated the market by stating its Olaroz Lithium Facility achieved record production of 4,253 tonnes of lithium carbonate which was up 17% on the previous corresponding period. Olaroz Stage 2 officially reached 96% completion and pre-commissioning, with full commissioning activities expected to commence later in Q1 CY2023.


Livent recently received more accolades in the form of its third consecutive Gold rating for sustainability by EcoVadis, placing Livent in the top 5% of the more than 90,000 companies assessed worldwide in 2022.


“As one of the world’s premier producers of lithium chemicals, we believe Livent has an obligation to meet the growing global demand for lithium while advancing industry standards for responsible growth and production,” said Paul Graves, President and CEO of Livent. “Our social and environmental efforts are underpinned by lithium’s critical role in the shift to electric vehicles and clean energy solutions as well as our mission as a company to help build a more sustainable future for generations to come.”


On its Tolillar Salar asset, also in the Salta region of Argentina, Alpha Lithium Corporation (NEO:ALLI) (OTC:APHLF) just announced that the property has more than sufficient on-site fresh water to support the company’s planned 50,000 tonnes per annum of lithium production at an upcoming facility.


“The existence of an on-site, non-competitive, high delivery rate, high recharge rate, water aquifer is a game-changer for Tolillar,” said Brad Nichol, President and CEO of Alpha. “We have known for some time that we had access to fresh water, but that broad knowledge had to be supported by detailed data and analysis, which we now have thanks to Conhidro. And the results change everything. Other companies have reported availability of fresh water but often underreport issues like highly-competitive access, poor or remote locations, low delivery rates, or some combination of these and other issues. Alpha’s fresh water source will be a major attraction to the world’s most aggressive acquirers of lithium assets.”


The news of the water supply followed upon Alpha Lithium’s announcement of being granted drilling licenses for its exploration activities on its properties in the Salar del Hombre Muerto.  Alpha intends to drill up to 12 wellbores on its +5,000 hectare Hombre Muerto property over the next 12 months.


Lastly, Sigma Lithium (NASDAQ:SGML) is rapidly moving towards commencing lithium production in April at its Greentech plant in Brazil. Meanwhile, Sigma announced the completion of its crushing circuit and pump water system commissioning, as it begins detailed engineering almost immediately for its planned plant expansion to nearly triple production from 270,000 tpa to 760,000 tpa.


“Reaching this critical milestone of concluding commissioning of the crushing module of the Greentech Plant is a tremendous achievement of our execution team,” said Ana Cabral-Gardner, Sigma Lithium CEO and Co-Chair. “What drives us at Sigma Lithium is the larger purpose to leave a legacy of prosperity at Vale do Jequitinhonha in Brazil. We are inserting Brazil in the global battery materials supply chain through the front door, producing an environmentally and socially sustainable lithium that will be building the next generation of electric vehicles with materials produced with the same ethos of its customers.”


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