Saturday, March 29, 2008

Argentinia

Continental Brines:

After failing to negotiate a satisfactory agreement with the Bolivian Government regarding the possible development of the Salar de Uyuni, FMC, in 1995, negotiated rights to the Salar de Hombre Muerto in Argentina.

The salar, with a salt nucleus covering 280km2 but at an altitude of over 4,000 metres has a relatively low lithium content but with a very low concentration of “impurities”, in particular an exceptionally low magnesium/lithium ratio of only 1.37/1.

The company opted for a proprietary recovery technique involving selective absorption from in-situ brine. There were major capital and operating cost over-runs and carbonate production was suspended for a few years in the early 2000’s although chloride production continued. The company became reliant upon Chile’s SQM for carbonate but this contract is thought to have expired in 2007.

The brine grades 0.062% Li and proved and probable reserves to a depth of 70m total 850,000 tonnes.

Admiralty Resources, an Australian company plans to commence production of carbonate, chloride and hydroxide in 2008 from the Salar de Rincon. The company will also produce potash at an initial rate of about 60,000 tpa.

The salar is located at an altitude of 3,740 metres. The salt nucleus covers 280km2 and the brine grades 0.033%Li and 0.624%K. The Mg/Li ratio is about 8.6/1.

Proved and probable insitu reserves are 1,860,000 tonnes Li.

Numerous other salares exist in the Argentinian altiplano and these are listed below –

...........................................................Area Km2.............. Reputed av.grade (mg/lt)

Pastos Grandes...................................... 29...................................384
Centenario............................................. 59...................................231
Rotones................................................. 38...................................461
Pazuelos................................................. 57...................................257
Cauchari................................................ 44.................................. 414
Olaroz................................................... 140................................. 306
Antofalla............................................... 518................................. 150

The extent to which these salares have been studied is not known. For comparative purposes, Rincon concentrations (expressed as mg/lt) ranged from 370 to 456.

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Daniela said...

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