Transcription of Finance News Network Interview with Lithium Power International Limited (ASX:LPI) CEO, Martin Holland
Carolyn Herbert: Hello I’m Carolyn Herbert from the Finance News Network and joining me from Lithium Power International Limited (ASX:LPI) is CEO, Martin Holland. Martin, welcome back.
Martin Holland: Thank you for having me.
Carolyn Herbert: Can you start by giving us a quick introduction to your Maricunga project?
Martin Holland: The Maricunga project is a very unique project. It is regarded as the highest-grade pre-production lithium asset in South America. It’s located in Chile. Chile itself is the home of mining in Latin America and we’re located in a very strategic position of Chile in the Atacama region, which is in the northern part of Chile.
Carolyn Herbert: What’s been taking place at Maricunga?
Martin Holland: Lots has been taking place, we’ve done an extensive drilling program, we’ve acquired assets. We’re working in a parallel at the moment to take the project all the way through, up until our resource upgrade in April/May this year. In parallel we’ve just hired a tier one contractor, who has had extensive experience in Chile from an environmental point of view. And we’re actually moving ahead with our scoping study and aiming to have the PFS completed by year end.
Carolyn Herbert: Can you tell us about the latest drill results?
Martin Holland: The latest drill results have been very promising for the company. Every single drill hole that we’re drilling from surface, so literally like a metre deep all the way down to 200 metres, where the hole is ending in high-grade lithium bearing sands. And we’re drilling to the north, east, south and west. It doesn’t matter where we put the drill rig we’re finding very thick intervals over 200 metres, across every hole we’re drilling.
In addition to that, we’ve completed one deep hole. This theory was in our resource update that’s coming out. Was to have a measured form, overall resource, from zero to 200 metres and then to test at depth to see if the basin increased. And what we’re actually finding is that the mineralisation is continuing all the way down to 360 metres, as well.
Carolyn Herbert: What about flow rates; can you tell us about that?
Martin Holland: Flow rates are very important. So it’s not just about the lithium grade, it’s also about the porosity. And the porosity data that we’re getting is pretty much second to none for any other lithium project in South America. And on top of that, we have installed a production well and the flow rates that are coming are again, multiples of other projects in South America. So the production well that we put in was actually running for 30 days and it flowed at 25 litres per second, a very high-grade lithium over that duration.
Carolyn Herbert: What about metallurgical test work, what does that tell you about the resource?
Martin Holland: A lot of people focus on the grade of lithium and our grade is the highest-grade lithium going around in South America at the moment. Also from a metallurgical point of view, we have Peter Ehrens who’s a chemical processing engineer for Orocobre Limited (ASX:ORE), working for us. He’s been working on the metallurgical side of this brine since 2009, and we don’t see any red flags with it. So it’s comparable to that of the SQM (NYSE:SQM) and Albemarle Corporation (NYSE:ALB) projects in the Atacama region. We have built 10 trial evaporation ponds and test work is happening at the moment, and it’s all looking very promising.
Carolyn Herbert: Finally Martin. What sort of announcements or milestones should investors be looking out for in the coming months?
Martin Holland: Investors have seen quite a ramp up of our drilling program. We have three drill rigs onsite, we had production well happening and we’ve announced eight of the holes that we’ve put down to 200 metres. Moving forward, we have two further sonic diamond holes, as they call them, announcements coming out with those assays down to 200 metres. And one deep hole that will come out down to 360 metres and that will test the overall depth, of what we’re actually sitting on in this basin.
Moving forward we have our resource upgrade coming out, which is going to be a milestone for the company itself. And then moving forward from that, we’re aiming to have our scoping study out with our prefeasibility study completed by yearend.
Carolyn Herbert: Martin Holland, thanks for the update on Lithium Power International.
Martin Holland: Thank you very much for having me.