LiCo Energy Metals prepares for lithium brine drilling at Salar de Atacama, Chile


LiCo Energy Metals’ representatives in Chile are finalising details for the upcoming lithium brine exploration programme at the Purickuta Project within Salar de Atacama.

The company is planning to complete a transient electromagnetic method (TEM) geophysical survey, which will provide detailed information on sub-surface conductive layers that can be used to prioritise the most optimum drilling locations.

Drilling to depths of approximately 200m will begin shortly upon completion of the survey, or as soon as the necessary exploration permits have been obtained. 

The next phase involves a detailed engineering and hydrological study comprising 72-hour flow testing, porosity measurements and calculation of potential reserve values.  

An RFP for drilling quotes will be issued soon.

LiCo technical advisory board director and head Dwayne Melrose said: “It is with great anticipation that we approach the start of our exploration programme in the Salar de Atacama, famous for its Lithium production by our neighbours SQM and Albemarle. If all goes well, we are hoping to have success with our project. Several direct extraction technologies are now being developed, which would be an ideal fit for the Purickuta Project.”

"As Purickuta is a smaller exploitation concession rather than a large exploration site, it is possible to accelerate the task of taking the project to a potential production scenario."

The company holds an option to acquire up to a 60% interest in the Purickuta Exploitation concession.

The Purickuta Project is located within Salar de Atacama, a salt flat encompassing 3,000km², being 100km-long, 80km-wide and host to approximately 37% of the world's lithium production.

The Salar de Atacama possesses a high-grade of both lithium (1,840mg/l) and potassium (22,630mg/l and is close to power, labour, communications, transportation and other infrastructure. The property of 160ha is enveloped by a concession owned by Sociedad Quimica y Minera (“SQM”).

As Purickuta is a smaller exploitation concession rather than a large exploration site, it is possible to accelerate the task of taking the project to a potential production scenario.

Currently, as the Chilean Government retains ownership of lithium separate from other minerals, production can only proceed upon receipt of a specific lithium operations contract.

LiCo and partner will need to negotiate a production contract with CORFO in the near-future, along with completing any positive feasibility study.

LiCo Energy Metals is a Canadian exploration company, listed on the TSX Venture Exchange. It focuses on exploration for high-value metals integral to the manufacture of lithium ion batteries.