Advantage Lithium is to start the first phase of a drilling programme at its lithium property in the Cauchari Salar of Jujuy province in Argentina. 

The first phase of drilling will begin next week and is a five hole programme. 

The second phase of drilling comprises a further 12 holes, and is scheduled to be taken up later this year. This would be followed by a scoping study by early 2018. 

Advantage Lithium is the joint venture partner of Orocobre.

By incurring an expenditure of $5m or by completing a feasibility study, Advantage Lithium can  increase its interest in the project to 75% from the existing 50%. The remaining interest will be owned by Orocobre.

Orocobre managing director Richard Seville said: "We are extremely pleased with this progress update from our JV partner Advantage Lithium and their commitment to fast-tracking exploration and development works at Cauchari."

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Advantage Lithium CEO David Sidoo said: "In line with our aggressive development timeline, we are commencing work at our flagship Argentina project of Cauchari, just weeks after completing the transaction with our partner, Orocobre. 

"We will be focusing on expanding the existing resource at the project where a large exploration target has been projected."

"We will be focusing on expanding the existing resource at the project where a large exploration target has been projected. We have engaged Andina Perforaciones, one of Argentina's leading drilling contractors, to undertake the initial phase of what will ultimately be a 17 hole programme."

The drilling programme will focus on potential extensions of the existing inferred resource at Cauchari and exploration where no earlier drilling has been carried out.

A large exploration target has been defined with a range of 125 million to 1,855 million cubic metres of brine at between 260mg/l and 600mg/l lithium and 2,500mg/l and 5,350mg/l potassium for the lower and upper ranges, respectively.

This represents an in-situ range of contained product of between 0.25mt and 5.6mt of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) and 0.9mt and 19mt of potash (KCl).

Cauchari project contains an inferred resource estimated to be around 230 million cubic metres of brine at 380mg/l Li and 3,700mg/l K, equivalent to 470,000t of lithium carbonate and 1.62 million tonnes of potash.

Headquartered in Canada, Advantage Lithium is a resource company specialising in the strategic acquisition, exploration, and development of lithium properties.