San Luis, Argentina
Latin Resources now controls over 120,000 hectares of exploration concessions and two mining concessions within the Conlara, El Totoral and Estanzuela pegmatite fields in San Luis Province, Central Argentina.
The concessions include and surround pegmatite dykes which have been mined in the past for Lithium minerals (as spodumene or lepidolite) and other related minerals of economic value including quartz, feldspar, beryl, tantalite (tantalum mineral) and columbite (niobium mineral).
Latin Resources has claimed new applications over 98,086 hectares in twenty new exploration concessions.
Latin has also claimed the “Maria Del Huerto” mining concession, comprising three or more parallel dykes where spodumene was mined between 1936 and 1940.
The company has signed a binding agreement that gives a direct path to 100% Latin Resources ownership of the prized Geminis Mine and surrounding Don Gregorio exploration concession, which are within the existing Latin Resources San Francisco concession application.
A Binding Terms Sheet with Kontrarian Resources Fund No 1 gives a direct path to 100% Latin Resources ownership of an additional five lithium concessions that cover more than 44,000 ha in San Luis Province.
Figure 1. All San Luis LRS Controlled Concessions
LRS Concession Applications
A total of twenty exploration concessions claimed within the Conlara, El Totoral and Estanzuela pegmatite fields. Each claim surrounds documented lithium bearing pegmatite deposits that were mined in the past for Lithium bearing minerals (spodumene or lepidolite) and other related minerals including quartz, feldspar, albite, beryl, tantalite (tantalum ore) and columbite (niobium ore).
Table 1: Details of Latin’s concession applications in San Luis Province, Argentina.
Some smaller mineral rights are enclosed by, (but excluded from), the twenty exploration claims made: one of which, the “Maria del Huerto” mining concession, is enclosed by the Puerta Colorada exploration claim and was claimed for the Company after being declared vacant by the Provincial mining authority. The Maria Del Huerto deposit was mined between 1936 and 1940 and was one of the first spodumene producers in the San Luis Province to have good grades. (Roquet et al. 2006).
There are three pegmatite fields in San Luis, and each with a record of producing mica, beryl, spodumene (Lithium), tantalite, and lastly, K-feldspar, albite and quartz. El Totoral and Conlara fields are placed in the Sierra Grande de San Luis and La Estanzuela is situated in the La Estanzuela, El Portezuelo, and Tilisarao mountain ranges (Galliski & Marquez-Zavalía, 2011). The Company’s claims focus on the Estanzuela and Conlara fields as well as the western margin of the Totoral field (Figure 2).
The pegmatites of the three fields in are hosted in metamorphic complexes of medium grade, intruded by orogenic and post-orogenic granites. The medium-sized pegmatites are representative of several types and subtypes as beryl-columbite-phosphate, spodumene, albite-spodumene and albite (Galliski & Marquez-Zavalía, 2011).
The Puerta Colorada Exploration Claim and the Maria del Huerto Mining Concession.
The Puerta Colorada Claim (Figure 3) is located in the Conlara pegmatite field and encloses a number of mining concessions including the Maria del Huerto mining concession, also claimed by the Company after it was declared vacant by the Provincial mining authority.
The majority of the enclosed third-party mining rights are expected to be excluded from the exploration claim and are predominantly pegmatites mined intermittently at a small scale for quartz and feldspar. The remainder is considered prospective for Lithium bearing pegmatite dykes and will be explored once the claim is granted and permits are in place.
The Maria del Huerto mining concession has been claimed for Latin and is located 20 km west of the town of Concarán along the sealed Provincial Route 6 road. The concession hosts three parallel pegmatite dykes located only 300-400 m from the road.
The dykes are tabular to lenticular outcropping over 370 m, each with a strike NE-SW (Figure 4). While all three dykes show evidence of past workings, the central dyke has the most significant open pit being 105 m long, 15 m wide and excavated to a depth of almost 10 m. Zonation is well developed and asymmetric, with clearly developed zones defined border, external, intermediate external, intermediate internal and nucleus. The Lithium mineral Spodumene occurs as prismatic crystals from a few centimetres to over a metre in length, in various colours from pale green through white to pink and lavender, occurring predominantly in the intermediate zones and nucleus of the dyke. (Roquet et al. 2006).
Figure 2. Plan of the Punta Colorada Exploraiton Claim, including the Maria del Huerto Mining Concession.
Latin has mapped the presence of pink coloured, weathered spodumene in the main pit exposure (Figure 4 & 5).
Figure 3. Geological Mapping of the Maria del Huerto Pegmatite with rock chips sampled in early 2017
Figure 4. Examples of pink coloured weathered spodumene in the Maria del Huerto open pit
Figure 5. View to the South Western end of the main pit at Maria Del Huerto.
The Geminis Mine
The Geminis Mine (12 Ha) and surrounding Don Gregorio (388 Ha) exploration concessions is located approximately 8km to the south-east of the village of San Francisco del Monte de Ore and 18km to the north of the historical gold mining centre of La Carolina in the Sierra Grande de San Luis mountain range. Latin Resources’ San Francisco exploration concession surrounds the Geminis and Don Gregorio concessions (See Figure 7). There are two possible access routes to the mine. The first is via a 4WD track directly to the south of San Franciso village; the second is via the original access track by which ore was transported from the Geminis mine to the south to reach the main road to the La Toma processing facilities.
Figure 6. Location of Geminis, Don Gregorio and San Francisco concessions
Mining at Geminis began in the 1930’s and continued until 1959. Since then very sporadic mining has taken place, but there has been no recent activity. Apart from a small open pit to the south of the operations all of the mining was undertaken using underground methods. The underground workings that have been observed consist of three adits which access a series of tunnels that vary in size and length. The most northerly adit named Pozon Blanco is quite small and collapsed so cannot be measured. The central adit named Cantera Grande is 6m long, 2.8m wide and 2.5m high.
The main adit further to the south named Poniente Labors contains approximately 70m of tunnels with an entrance chamber measuring 5m x 7.6m (See Figure 8). Mining activity was small scale and carried out in campaigns. It is thought that on average the mine produced approximately 5-10 tonnes of spodumene per month (Barrio, Raul E. and Echeveste, Horacio J.). The mine workings are spread over a strike distance of approximately 150m.
The San Francisco, Geminis Mine and Don Gregorio concessions are located within the Totoral Pegmatite Field (TPF) which is the southernmost pegmatite field of the Pampean Pegmatite Province.
Figure7. Historical photo of Geminis Mine entrance with very large spodumene crystals outlined in black (Barrio, Raul E. and Echeveste, Horacio J.)
Pegmatites are intruded into Pringles Metamorphic Complex (PMC) host rocks which comprise mostly fine grade gneisses and schists of Ordovician age (456 – 488 million years) (Galliski, M.A. and Cerny, P., 2006). The TPF comprises a 17 km long swarm of rare-element pegmatites of the LCT (Li-CS-Ta) family that trends NNE – SSW that was intruded into the PMC between 465 and 317 million years ago (Galliski, M.A. and Cerny, P., 2006).
Figure 8. Regional geology map with the Totoral Pegmatite Field within the Pampean Pegmatite Province (after Galliski, M.A. and Cerny, P., 2006)
There are five main types of pegmatites: barren to transitional beryl type, beryl-columbite-phosphate type, complex spodumene type, albite-spodumene type, and albite type. The pegmatites located at the Geminis mine are of the complex spodumene type. A broad range of economic minerals is present. Most significantly there is intense spodumene mineralisation with parts of the mine comprising up to 80% of the material. During mining individual spodumene crystals have been measured to have a length of up to 4m. Other minerals which are significant and may contribute to the overall value are the lithium minerals amblygonite and lithiophilite which are found within the pegmatites non-nucleus zones as are other minerals tantalite, columbite and beryl. These non-lithium minerals being present are significant as they can contribute as credits within any future concentrate. LRS staff have recently entered and inspected the central and southern adits. Each adit and the mine workings contained within have exposed walls that contain incredibly high percentages of oxidised spodumene. These exposures are by some distance the best spodumene mineralisation seen by Latin technical staff in Argentina thus far.
strike from the mine are in fact connected to the main mine pegmatite and that the strike length is in fact much longer. Also from preliminary mapping and the satellite image, there is in the immediate area other pegmatites above and below the mine pegmatite. The orientation of the known pegmatites is also very favourable as it dips gently at 20-30 degrees to the south-east.
Figures 9 – 12. Top Left. Grey quartz and pink – white oxidized spodumene with a pink fresh spodumene core in the Cantera Grande adit. Top right, Minor grey quartz with +80% pinky – white oxidized spodumene in southern wall of the Cantera Grande adit. Above left, massive white oxidized spodumene with minor quartz in the secondary adit of Poniente Labors. Right, minor quartz with +60% white oxidized spodumene in the main gallery of Poniente Labors.
The structure and size of the pegmatite upon which historical mining was based is extremely encouraging. From preliminary studies and historical records, the main pegmatite is between 12-18 meters thick and has a known strike length of more than 200m which is visible from the mine exposures and the satellite image (See Figure 9). It is possible that other pegmatites along
Figure 13. Satellite image showing the Geminis Mine Entrance Location with the known pegmatite outcrops marked in red. Other white rock outcrops that can be seen are also probably pegmatites that will be confirmed with geological mapping
The Latin Resources geological team has begun field work at the Geminis Mine and Don Gregorio concessions. Work that will be completed includes detailed geological mapping and sampling of the mine area and the adjacent areas so that an initial drilling program can be designed. In conjunction with the field work the legal and permitting requirements including the Environmental Impact Reports and the reactivation Geminis mining concession are underway.
The Kontrarian Fund - Condor Concessions
On the 16th February, a Binding Term Sheet was signed with Kontrarian Resources Fund No 1 that gives a direct path to 100% Latin Resources ownership of an additional five lithium concessions in San Luis Province, known as the Condor Concessions. These concessions total 44,177 hectares in the North East of the Sierra de San Luis in proximity to LRS’ existing concession applications. The area hosts known historical lithium pegmatite mines that produced spodumene concentrate grading 6.3% to 8.1% Li2O including La Meta and Cabeza de Novilla.
There are many smaller scale pegmatite outcrops evident within the concessions with some larger bodies currently being exploited by open pit mining for feldspar and quartz.
Figure 14. Historic pegmatite mine on Condor’s SNL04 concession
On a recent field visit by LRS geological staff examined close spaced pegmatites with thicknesses up to 30 meters and extending for more than a kilometre in strike (Figure 15). Given the location and proximity to known spodumene occurrences, these pegmatites are considered to be prospective for lithium mineralisation.
Figure 15. Multiple close spaced thick pegmatites on Condor’s SNL02 concession
The Kontrarian Concession applications are located within the same highly prospective pegmatitic zones of the Sierra de San Luis district. This area lies within the Sierras Pampeanas geological province in Argentina which contains more than 95% of the Argentine pegmatites and has historically been the source of spodumene, beryl, quartz, felspar muscovite and tantalite.
These pegmatites occur as lenticular swarms of sills and dykes with a thickness of 5 to over 40m and strike lengths mapped by satellite imagery interpretation often of more than a kilometre. They can contain lithium mineralisation mostly in the form of spodumene but also as the high-grade amblygonite and lepidolite.
The Condor Concession applications are located approximately 100km to 150km from the provincial capital of San Luis and are close to major roads, water sources and power supply. Measuring a total of 44,209 hectares all but one (SNL05)of the tenements are contiguous and are either adjoining or very close to Latin Resources La Meta and Quines group concessions which provide logistical advantages during exploration activities. The additional concessions bring to a total of 145,000 hectares under Latin Resources control within the prospective San Luis region.
Figure 16. The Kontrarian Fund No 1 Concessions
Table 2 Condor Concession Details
During late 2017 the Latin Resources technical team visited SNL02, 03, and 04 and were able to verify the presence of abundant prospective pegmatites. SNL01 and SNL05 will be visited during the due diligence period afforded in the binding term sheet.
Until now, there has been very little to no modern exploration undertaken on these concessions and LRS intends to incorporate these areas into our overall grass roots exploration plan for 2018 which will include detailed mapping and geochemical sampling to identify highly fractionated and therefore prospective zones for follow up drilling.
San Luis Province Strategy
San Luis Province has an established small mining industry that actively produces quartz and feldspar for the glass and ceramics industry from literally hundreds of small mines. There are around 100 miners in all of which the top 5 might produce nearly 75% of the total minerals. In turn, there are approximately 8 crushing/grinding plants that process and sell minerals up the value chain for the ceramics and glass industry.
Latin Resources is currently in discussion with plant owners/operators to enable a spodumene circuit to be added to an existing crushing plant.
Latin Resources has recently appointed Western Australian based Primero Group who are a turnkey design, construction and commission engineering company with specific experience on hard rock spodumene deposits. The brief for Primero is to commence test work on Latin Resources Argentinian spodumene samples to determine a flowsheet to produce a spodumene concentrate.
The use of an existing plant would negate the usual lengthy process of mine plant approvals based on building a new Plant. The cost-saving benefits in adding a spodumene circuit into an existing plant are also substantial.
The immediate strategy moving forward for Latin Resources is to produce a JORC resource and to also run in parallel the design and permitting of a spodumene plant to add to an existing operation in San Luis.