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Argosy Minerals Advances Towards Battery-Quality Lithium Production

4 September 2023 11:06

Argosy Minerals Limited (ASX: AGY) is advancing towards becoming the second ASX-listed battery-quality lithium carbonate producer, with its Rincon Lithium Project in Salta Province, Argentina, at the forefront of these developments, marked by recent promising progress and a clear expansion vision.

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Figure 1: Rincon Lithium Project Location Map

2,000tpa Lithium Carbonate Operations

Argosy is diligently working towards commissioning and ramping up its 2,000tpa lithium carbonate facility, with the Company achieving a notable milestone in August by producing 10 tonnes of battery-quality lithium carbonate product.

Commissioning efforts have focused on enhancing operational performance and implementing mechanical improvements to increase product throughput and plant efficiency. This includes optimising the primary solids filtration circuit, addressing filtration equipment issues, and resolving operational bottlenecks.

All chemical process technology validation and verification have been successfully completed, affirming Argosy’s capability to produce battery-quality lithium carbonate at a commercial scale. The Company is now committed to completing the commissioning and ramp-up phase of the facility.

Rincon Resource Expansion & Production Well Drilling

In an effort to expand its resource base, Argosy conducted both production well rotary drilling and resource expansion exploration diamond drilling works.

The exploration diamond drilling program, which comprised six drill sites, has recently been completed, with samples from these drilling activities having been sent for laboratory analysis, with results expected to contribute to an upgraded brine Mineral Resource estimate by late-2023.

The production well rotary drilling program also reached completion, resulting in the drilling of two production wells to depths of 350 metres. Pump testing and brine sampling works have been completed for these wells, facilitating the preparation of a brine Ore Reserve estimate and the subsequent completion of an upgraded feasibility study.

10,000tpa Environmental Impact Assessment Process

Argosy continues to engage with key Salta government officials and regulatory authorities to expedite the environmental impact assessment (EIA) regulatory approval process for the proposed 10,000tpa operation.

The Company eagerly awaits feedback on hydrogeological observations submitted as part of the EIA submission. Once approved, this expansion will significantly increase Argosy’s lithium carbonate production capacity.

10,000tpa Operation Pre-Development Works

In anticipation of receiving EIA regulatory approval, the Company is progressing pre-development activities for the 10,000tpa operation. This includes comprehensive planning, engineering and design, procurement, contractor processes, recruitment, renewable energy and power sourcing, as well as industrial water drilling operations. These preparations are essential for initiating construction once regulatory approval is granted.

Strategic Partner Process

In parallel with its expansion efforts, Argosy is moving forward with securing funding through strategic partnerships for the 10,000tpa expansion operation.

This funding, potentially via prepayment investment associated with long-term off-take arrangements, aims to ensure the Project’s financial viability and sustainability. The Company’s strategic considerations include ensuring constructive agreements, mutual alignment, and long-term benefits for all parties involved, with a targeted timeline aligned with the 10,000tpa EIA regulatory approval.

Argosy plans to maintain lithium carbonate production from the 2,000tpa operation to fulfil its strategic partner off-take arrangements.

Jerko Zuvela, Managing Director of Argosy Minerals Limited, expressed optimism about the Company’s progress, stating, “The Company’s Puna operations team are successfully progressing the 2,000tpa operation commissioning works and produced 10 tonnes of battery quality lithium carbonate product during August. The Company is looking forward to finalising upcoming significant milestones that will support Argosy’s ambitions and near-term growth phase to fully develop the Rincon Lithium Project.”

AGY’s Australian Stock Exchange-listed share price is currently trading at 25c (11:00 am UTC+ 8 hours).

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