Australia’s Lithium Energy Limited (ASX: LEL) and Hanaq Group, a company with Chinese and Argentinian capital, have joined forces to find new lithium deposits in the Olaroz-Cauchari endorheic basin, located in Argentina’s northwestern Jujuy province.
Together with Bolivia and Chile, Argentina is part of the so-called Lithium Triangle, a region that hosts more than half of the world’s identified lithium resources.
According to a statement released by the Jujuy provincial government, Hanaq and LEL are already taking steps to file the necessary permits that would allow them to begin exploration work this year.
The dossier points out that Hanaq, the current operator of the Providencia silver mine, has been developing a lithium division for some time now. This new direction is what led to the collaboration with Lithium Energy and, together, they plan to conduct drilling campaigns on the properties with the potential to contain lithium brine resources.
“This [partnership] is the fruit of the work that has been done to promote exploration and knowledge of the province’s natural resources,” Miguel Soler, Jujuy’s secretary of Mines and Hydrocarbons, said. “This company [Hanaq] is advancing with surface geophysical prospecting and exploration work and soon will be drilling to define new lithium brine resources.”
LEL, on the other hand, owns 90% of the 12,000-hectare Solaroz lithium brine project, located in Jujuy’s Olaroz Basin salt flat. Currently, the company is conducting exploration work, seeking to outline the architecture of the Salar de Olaroz basin within the bounds of the Solaroz Concession area with the aim of defining the places where the target deep sand unit is present. Earlier this year, the Australian firm received approval to commence exploration work in two of the eight tenements that comprise Solaroz.
Soler pointed out that the new joint initiative is precisely part of the work his office is conducting on environmental impact reports for exploration which – he said – are showing how Jujuy is growing as a destination for advanced exploration that will translate into mining projects.
The official also said that the government has been working with local Indigenous communities and that they have publicly stated their support for lithium development projects. “They understand it [lithium exploration] will generate jobs and promote the regional development, and that it will be carried out within a framework of strict and sustainable environmental stewardship.”