Latin Resources Limited (ASX:LRS) Managing Director, Chris Gale and Exploration Manager, Argentina, Sam Moyle provide an update on the company's projects, permitting and indicative timetable for its maiden JORC resource.
Jessica Amir: Thanks for tuning into the Finance News Network; I’m Jessica Amir. Joining me today from junior explorer, Latin Resources Limited (ASX:LRS) is Managing Director, Chris Gale and Exploration Manager Argentina, Sam Moyle.
Chris, thanks for joining us over the phone in Perth and Sam, thanks for joining us from Argentina.
Chris Gale: Hi Jessica, glad to be here.
Sam Moyle: Thanks Jessica, nice to be here.
Jessica Amir: Chris to you first, Latin Resources has several lithium projects in Argentina. What can you tell us at the minute?
Chris Gale: We have talked to you guys before about our projects. But for us, we now have I would suggest, secured the best hard rock lithium pegmatite property on concessions in Argentina, over 200,000 hectares in the province of Catamarca, in San Luis. So in saying that, our recent appointment of Sam, Sam was a senior geologist at Pilbara Minerals Limited (ASX:PLS), it’s a great coo for Latin Resources. Here we have a guy who’s extremely experienced and grown a resource for Pilbara from zero to 200 million tonnes. So Sam’s objective and major focus is to go and develop our projects. And basically,secure and identify and develop the first maiden JORC resource for Latin Resources.
Jessica Amir: Now to you Sam. Can you give us an update on your lithium projects, starting with the Catamarca lithium project?
Sam Moyle: I’ve had a chance to visit for the first time all the Latin Resources’ tenements, over the last four weeks. Which includes the 700 kilometres, square kilometres of land, in both Ancasti and Vilisman regions of Catamarca. The scale of pegmatite swarms in the northern Ancasti region is simply remarkable. And these swarms remain largely unexplored. So identifying a large lithium mineralised pegmatite here will be the objective, and will be a significant discovery for the Latin Resources team.
So we’ll be focusing on improving our understanding of this area in the coming months, with probably some detailed mapping and sampling programs. But unlike the untouched Ancasti region, the pegmatites around Vilisman have been extensively mined in the early century for numerous minerals, including lithium-bearing spodumene. Evidence of the spodumene mining is actually scattered throughout the region, and importantly, centralised within the Latin tenure. So we’re currently looking at options to drill several of these walk-up spodumene targets, hopefully before the end of the year.
Jessica Amir: What can you tell us about the San Luis lithium concession Sam?
Sam Moyle: The San Luis tenements, once permitted are going to be a really exciting exploration target, for the company. We’re currently focused on the flagship Geminis prospect, which is a large-scale shallow dipping spodumene bearing pegmatite, tabular to lenticular in shape, approximately 20 to 30 metres thick. It outcrops continuously we think for about 300 metres, on both sides of a large valley. The historical mining activity here is focused on Cantera Grande adit, it contains some pretty amazing spodumene crystals, up to about four metres in length.
So we’re pretty excited to get in there and drill out what we think, is going to be a really great lithium resource. We also have the Maria Del Huerto pegmatite group that we’ll look to drill, before the end of the year. We believe several pegmatites are clustered together here, which would be really favourable to the economics of Maria. It’s also been a site of historical spodumene mining, so we really know we’re in a great area. It’s an exciting time for the team in San Luis and I’m really happy to be part of it.
Jessica Amir: When do you think permitting will be approved, and when will drilling start in Argentina?
Chris Gale: Our shareholders have been very patient, Catamarca’s been a wonderful province to work in. Our permitting for drilling is being submitted. We expect those permits to be granted for drilling on San’s targets, within the next four to five weeks. In San Luis, the province has always been with us, we’ve spent a lot of time now with the local Mines Department in San Luis, educating them and talking to them about the lithium sector. San Luis is a very well run province and has great infrastructure, great roads, plenty of power. But they want to make sure that if they go into the lithium area that there’s capital basis and there’s no issues down the track, in regards to the mining of the lithium.
I’m confident after meeting two weeks ago with the new mining secretary that we should have our permits approved, and some drill permits approved, within the next four to five weeks. If that occurs, we will commence drilling at San Luis first before Catamarca. If it doesn’t, we’ll start drilling Catamarca. So drilling I can comfortably say, will start within the next eight weeks. And once again as Sam as reiterated, we have some exciting targets to actually drill.
Jessica Amir: Chris, you have a lithium carbonate pilot plant. How is the testing performing?
Chris Gale: The pilot plant in Mendoza University, I was there two weeks ago; it’s gone through the first stage of processing our spodumene, into a lithium carbonate. The first stage has gone quite well, we’re expecting results from that any day now. Once that first stage is completed, they will then run the second stage of the testing. We know that it’s only a pilot plant, but it all looks quite positive at this point. At the end of the day, this pilot plant has been designed and built to see if we can produce a lithium carbonate from spodumene, on a small scale. If that is successful, we’ll then move to the next stage and build a lot larger pilot plant, but theperiod of time, it’s probablyhopefully before Christmas we might have the final results, but it’s all going well for now.
Jessica Amir: To finances now Chris. Can you give us an update, including your agreements with Lind Partners?
Chris Gale: That’s the other aspect that I think has been a great achievement for the company. A lot of people would notice that the market sentiment has come off quite significantly, for a lot of mining companies. Lind Partners out of New York have been great, in respect that we’d worked with them before. They approached us about funding the company. Rather than go out and do a very diluted placement, we decided to do a deal with Lind. They’ve offered a $6 million facility and we’ve drawn down $2 million of that facility, which will help Sam and his program of permitting and drilling, the first stage scout drilling.And then we can draw down a further $1 million if required and then a further three, if we move into heavier drilling to get our resource.
So I think it’s a great opportunity for the company now that we’re fully funded, to do what we want to do. And that is to get into the drilling side of things and produce that maiden JORC resource. So every box is ticked for us, apart of course of getting the permits to drill. That is our number one objective over the coming weeks. And we’ve been working very hard on that now for well over 12 months, so we’re nearly at the business end of the season.
Jessica Amir: Last question to you both. Is there anything else that you’d like to add?
Sam Moyle: Just that the team’s done incredibly well to secure this portfolio of tenure, over the last few years, which includes a really dominant holding of lithium-rich Pampean pegmatite province, in San Luis. And also the Ancastian Vilisman swarms in Catamarca. So we’ve got our work cut out for us going forward. And the exploration team, we’re looking at exploring these exciting new pegmatite swarms in the coming months. And also focus on drilling these historical spodumene mines, both in San Luis and Catamarca.
Chris Gale: The only thing I will add is that our shareholders, in particular our top ten shareholders, have been incredibly patient during this process. It’s taken a long time to get to where we are now. What’s great to hear is someone like Sam coming from the Pilbara, being quite amazed at what sort of ground we hold. What sort of pegmatites we actually have secured. That’s very exciting for myself and our directors. We know that talk is cheap, action is what we’ve got to now move into and we’re hoping the permitting being granted over, as I said, the next few weeks. We can get in there, drill the projects and prove to our shareholders that we’ve got a lot more value, than what they’ve seen to date.
Jessica Amir: Chris Gale, Sam Moyle, thank you so much for your time.
Chris Gale: Thanks Jessica.
Sam Moyle: Thanks Jessica.