Australian firm Xantippe Resources (XTC) has exercised its option to acquire the Luz Maria tenement in the Catamarca area, Argentina.

The deal forms part of Xantippe’s plan to acquire an area of at least 17,000ha within the region.

The Australian firm will pay $2.18m to the Luz Maria owners upon exercise of the option, which will follow the signing of the definitive agreement.

Furthermore, Xantippe will pay $10m in two separate payments to the owners, within 12 months from the signing of the agreement.

Covering an area of more than 3,383ha on Carachi Pampa salt flats near Lake Resources’ Kachi project, the Luz Maria is prospective for lithium brine deposits.

Earlier this year, Xantippe exercised its option to acquire Carolina Lithium, gaining rights to purchase all the shares of Carolina Lithium’s subsidiary Arlupo .

Arlupo holds rights to Luz Maria and three other tenements. These four tenements, which include Rita, Rita I, La Sofia, and Luz Maria, constitute the Carachi Pampa lithium project.

Xantippe managing director Richard Henning said: “Together with La Sofia, Rita and Rita I, XTC now holds almost 12,400 hectares.

“We are pleased to have acquired such high-quality projects, located next to Tier One clean lithium projects. Work is underway to obtain the necessary approvals to start exploration activities.

“Exploration will commence as soon as possible. The acquisition of Luz Maria extends our footprint in the Catamarca province in Argentina.”

Xantippe said that an exploration programme is being developed for the Luz Maria property that will focus on further exploring the high electrically conductive zone.