Pursuit Minerals (ASX:PUR) has commenced its maiden drilling program at the Rio Grande Sur Project, located within Argentina’s Lithium Triangle, after securing advanced environmental permits from the Salta Mining Secretary earlier this month.
Figure 1: Proposed locations for Stage 1 drilling program diamond holes.
Maiden Diamond Drilling Campaign
The four hole diamond drill program comes hot on the heels of Pursuit Minerals unveiling its Maiden JORC Inferred Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) of 251.3kt LCE at the Project, bolstering an impressive grade of 351mg Li per litre.
TEM surveys conducted across the tenements uncovered multiple zones highly prospective for lithium-enriched brines, with layers of low resistivity and high conductivity within a depth range of 150 to 300 metres.
The findings from these surveys played a crucial role in identifying target areas for the upcoming maiden campaign.
Pursuit aims to complete four diamond drill holes, reaching depths of 500-600 metres below the surface – significantly surpassing the depth of the existing JORC mineral resource.
Alongside these holes in the southern tenements, a pumping well is slated for installation, its location determined based on initial results from the first two holes drilled at the Maria Magdelena and Sal Rio II tenements.
The drilling contractor, drilling rigs, and geological team are set to mobilise over the next week, initiating drilling operations towards the end of January and extending into the beginning of February.
Each hole is estimated to take about one month to complete, and the overall program duration will depend on the number of rigs operating concurrently.
Upon successful execution of the campaign, the Company anticipates a significant resource upgrade in the second quarter of this year, further enhancing the initial resource defined at the Rio Grande Sur Project.
The expansion of the Rio Grande Sur mineral resource will contribute to the enhancement of the project’s feasibility study, anticipated for release in the final quarter of 2024, supporting a more substantial commercial operation.
Welcoming Javier Milei’s Leadership within the Sector
In December of last year, Pursuit announced its Lithium Carbonate Pilot Plant at the Project was close to the start of production. This development marked a timely advancement for the Company, aligning with Argentina’s efforts to rejuvenate business under its new presidential administration.
Argentina’s newly elected President, Javier Milei, is shaking up the lithium sector by championing a libertarian stance and committing to market-friendly policies.
Since gaining power, Milei has outlined plans to cut the red tape and burgeon Argentina’s lithium and copper-gold production into an “investment powerhouse,” stating in his presidential decree that mining in the nation is “notably underdeveloped.”
Furthermore, signs indicate that President Milei has engaged in discussions with Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who publicly endorsed Milei’s leadership prior to the election.
As Argentina prioritises the development of critical minerals, particularly expanding low-cost lithium brine capacity and reactivating dormant copper production – crucial for electric vehicle (EV) batteries, Elon Musk and Tesla are strategically eyeing a strengthened supply of lithium concentrate from reliable producers.
The surge in EV demand has amplified the appeal of lithium concentrate producers located in close proximity to the United States, gaining significant traction among electric vehicle manufacturers like Musk.
Timely geopolitical developments present a favourable opportunity for Pursuit as it embarks on its maiden drilling venture within Argentina’s Lithium Triangle, offering substantial potential upside for the Company.
Pursuit Minerals Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Aaron Revelle, commented on the upcoming maiden drilling campaign.
“After delivering a maiden JORC resource in 2023 at the Rio Grande Sur Project, we are excited to commence the Stage 1 Drilling campaign,” he said.
“We are confident there is significant potential to materially increase the lithium resource during 2024 and demonstrate the tier 1 nature of the Rio Grande Sur Project.”
“We expect the first two holes to be completed prior to the end of Q1, 2024, supporting the pilot plant commissioning works which are also progressing towards first production.”
PUR’s Australian Stock Exchange-listed share price has risen 12.5% and is currently trading at $0.009 (10.00am UTC+ 8 hours).