International Lithium (ILC) and Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium’s subsidiary Mariana Lithium (MLC) have agreed the $17m budget for continued work at the Mariana project in Salta, Argentina.
The project is a joint venture (JV) between ILC and MLC, with current ownership held through a JV company, Litio Minera Argentina.
ILC has a 17.246% stake in the JV, while Ganfeng Lithium holds the remaining 82.754%.
In addition, ILC has an option to increase its interest in the Mariana project by an additional 10% through a back-in right.
The budget for 2018 will be used for continued natural evaporation studies, membrane separation studies, aquifer characterisation analyses, preliminary economic assessment (PEA), and pre-feasibility studies (PFS).
International Lithium executive chairman Kirill Klip said: “This comprehensive budget for 2018 is expected to bring the Mariana JV to important valuation milestones for the company; preliminary economic assessment and pre-feasibility studies.
“We are looking forward to the confirmation that membrane technology provided by Ganfeng Lithium will allow our joint venture operation to produce lithium hydroxide in Argentina.”
Under the budget plan, around $14.04m is expected to be invested in ongoing exploration and evaluation work, including continuing studies that will be used to formulate a basis for a PEA, further leading to PFS expected to be conducted later this year.
In September last year, ILC revealed results of a proof-of-concept study that made use of membrane technology to gain lithium from the raw brine, eliminating the need for pre-concentration or any other special treatment.
The company expects the process to create additional value for the project.