Central Argentina Spodumene Project
Dark Horse holds an extensive portfolio of lithium spodumene projects in the central Argentina provinces of San Luis and Cordoba, through an agreement to acquire Argentinian company, Pampa Litio SA. Dark Horse currently owns 25% of Pampa Litio SA and is able to execute 100% ownership at any time by paying the vendor 75 million DHR shares.
Dark Horse holds the Las Tapias suite of mining licenses in Cordoba, and the El Totoral, San Martin, Novillo Negro and Leon Herido exploration licenses in San Luis province, all holding swarms of pegmatites throughout the leases.
The short‐term objective is to produce spodumene concentrate from the central Argentinean projects creating early cash flow and introducing lithium products to the market.
Dark Horse has a defined work program which includes resource definition, JORC Reporting and feasibility, culminating in mining and infrastructure development. Dark Horse is seeking a strategic partner to support and fund this work program. In return, Dark Horse will provide a 100% lithium products offtake.
Dark Horse is cooperating with an Argentine mining and processing company who currently mine feldspar and quartz from pegmatites in the region for use in the local and export ceramics industries. Under a Cooperation Agreement being negotiated with the Argentinean company, Dark Horse will have exclusive access to the spodumene in the mining licences for mining, processing and sale of spodumene products under a future Tribute/Royalty Agreement.
The Argentinian mining company holds granted mining licence tenure to allow evaluation and development. Dark Horse would firstly carry out drilling and resource definition and some pre-feasibility, expected to take 3-4 months, and if satisfactory tonnage and grade is defined, operations could commence and Dark Horse would be in a position to sell spodumene products within 18-months.
San Jorge Lithium Brine Project
Dark Horse has entered into an exclusivity agreement for the option to acquire up to 100% of the San Jorge lithium brine project in Catamarca province, Argentina. The San Jorge project is a group of 15 contiguous Exploration Licences covering an area of 36,600 hectares over the San Francisco Salt Lake basin. The nucleus of the salar (named San Francisco) is approximately 7,000 hectares in area and the project leases covers all of it except a small section in the north.
Dark Horse’s objectives are to produce a lithium brine and develop a lithium carbonate plant in Catamarca creating significant cash flow and introducing lithium products to the market. Dark Horse has a defined work program which includes resource definition, JORC Reporting and feasibility, culminating in mining and infrastructure development. Dark Horse is seeking a strategic partner to support and fund this work program. In return, Dark Horse will provide a 100% lithium products off take.
The San Jorge project is located close to the border with Chile near National Route 60, a fully paved highway connecting Argentina with Chile and providing the project with excellent logistics. The project is just under 500km by road northwest from the provincial capital city Catamarca, and 400km east from deep-water ports in Chile.
The project lies in the southern end of the “Lithium Triangle” in the Puna Plateau. The area is characterized by high altitude salt flats, many of which contain elevated lithium concentrations.
Catamarca province has been supportive of exploration and mining activities by foreign companies over many years including Xtrata’s large Alumbrera gold-copper mine and Argentina’s first lithium brine operation by FMC in the Hombre Muerto salar, which has been operating since 1992. Galaxy and Posco are currently exploring their portion of the Hombre Muerto salar, and Albemarle is exploring the Antofalla salar
Maricunga salar in Chile lies 90km to the west and 3Q salar in Catamarca 70km southwest, both salars containing some high concentrations of lithium. Lithium Power International, SQM and Codelco hold the majority of the Maricunga salar and Neo Lithium Corporation the 3Q salar. Antofalla salar lies 100km north and Hombre Muerto salar 200km northeast of San Francisco.
The San Francisco salar has yet to undergo detailed exploration. Some preliminary reconnaissance work carried out several years ago by academic institutions has provided some basic information about the geology and chemistry of the salar, indicating early promising signs about its lithium potential.
The project is at an elevation of approximately 4,000m. The climate allows operations all year round and is conducive to high solar radiation and low rainfall providing for acceptable evaporation rates, as per other operating salars in the region including Olaroz, Cauchari and Hombre Muerto.
El Totoral was identified early as a very prospective spodumene bearing pegmatite system and Dark Horse has focused its exploration activities there (refer Figure below). The pegmatite bodies exist as swarms and have been identified over a strike length of 6km and width of 2km. They range in thickness up to 70m on the surface, with some several hundred metres in length. The pegmatites are finger-like structures at surface and typical pegmatite zoning is evident (wall, border and core). Spodumene is easily observable in old quarries, adits and galleries.
El Totoral has numerous parallel pegmatites throughout the lease, existing as swarms, which have been identified over a strike length of 6km. Significant results include:
San Luis Mine area – 1.91%, 1.97%. 0.81% and 0.44% Li2O
Central area – 1.13% Li2O
Southern area – 2.35%, 1.71%, 0.84%, 0.63% Li2O
The assays also returned some high tantalum pentoxide (Ta2O5) values ranging up to 698 ppm.