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PepinNini Minerals Primes Argentine Lithium Projects

Thursday, April 20, 2017

THE INSIDE STORY: PepinNini Minerals (ASX: PNN) is exploring and developing a lithium brine resource and production project in Salta Province, Argentina, situated within the Lithium Triangle of South America.

Through its wholly-owned Argentine entity, PepinNini SA, PepiNini Minerals has accumulated a land holding of fourteen mining licences (mina), located in the western part of the Salta Province of NW Argentina, all of which are considered prospective for lithium brine aquifers associated with Salars (Salt lakes).

“We started accumulating ground by acquiring eight mining leases in the Salta Province in June 2016 with the aim of assembling a package of useful ground, prospective for the exploration of lithium brine,” PepinNini Minerals managing director Rebecca Holland-Kennedy told The Resources Roadhouse.

PepinNini recently completed a geophysical survey on the Cauchari project, which was commenced after the release of encouraging sampling and geophysical results from the neighbouring Pocitos, Arizaro, and Pular projects that indicated the presence of thick aquifer layers with potential for lithium brine close to the surface.

“The work we have carried out to date involved the completion of geophysical surveys over four salars, with a study currently in train over a fifth,” Holland-Kennedy explained.

“The results we have achieved to date have been extremely encouraging to the point where we are now preparing a drilling program at the Salar Pocitos project with the objective being to have defined a lithium carbonate Resource by the end of this year.”

The results from the Cauchari survey were consistent with those from the earlier studies, suggesting the presence of a thick conductive layer of saturated sediments likely to contain lithium brine.

These have been identified as being close to the surface of the Cauchari mining lease, across a four-kilometre band ranging in thickness from 192 metres to 261m from depths of 32m to 132m.

One important aspect of the Cauchari results is the sediment thicknesses being the highest PepinNini has encountered in all sampling so far, which the company considers to auger well for the next stage of exploration, which will be drilling.

PepinNini is by no means the only lithium play in the region – the company’s Cauchari project spans 3,500 hectares within two minas Guayos II and III, on the west side of the Salar de Cauchari, while the northern end of the salar is under development by Canadian TSX-listed firm Lithium Americas.

Lithium Americas has defined Proven and Probable Reserves of 1.5 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent at an average grade of almost 700 milligrams per litre and recently reported a favourable feasibility study to develop the first phase of a 40-year project at 25,000 tonnes per annum.

“That would suggest that we are in the right neighbourhood and that very real potential exists for our Cauchari project,” Holland-Kennedy said.

“We are increasingly confident most of the 14 leases over which we have exploration rights will prove workable.”

PepinNini has made considerable progress on the Salta project since commencing geophysical survey work last October, the outcome of which is several sets of either surface sampling or geophysical survey results to work with, and from what it has achieved, the signs are good.

“The exciting thing is the geophysics work we have conducted to date has confirmed the existence of aquifers beneath all our mining leases surveyed that potentially host lithium brines,” Holland-Kennedy said.

“Our next phase of work will be the drilling to confirm the actual lithium grade.

“We are keen to define a lithium Resource within this calendar year and we are on track to do that.”

PepinNini’s next phase of exploration will involve drilling, as well as pumping and sampling on the Pocitos project to clarify the hydro-geological properties of the aquifers in line with the relevant guidelines to define a Resource.

That, of course, requires funding, and to that end PepinNini recently announced an entitlements issue for shareholders aiming to raise $2.3 million.

The funds will be used for upcoming work programs at the Salta lithium projects, including drilling boreholes for aquifer testing and brine grades, further sample analysis, and pumping testing of boreholes to determine hydraulic properties.

“We believe the Salta lithium project in Argentina has enormous potential,” Holland-Kennedy said.

“The entitlement issue offers our shareholders a further opportunity to share that potential.”

PepinNini Minerals Limited (ASX: PNN)
… The Short Story

Level 6
108 King William St
Adelaide SA 5000

Ph: +61 8 8218 5000


In Australia: Rebecca Holland-Kennedy, Philip Clifford, Robert WeiSun, Sarah Clifton-Brown
In Argentina: Ignacio Celorrio and Company Secretary, Justin Nelson