Argentina Lithium and Energy Corp. (LIT:TSX; PNXLF:OTC; OAY3:FSE) is focused on developing high-quality lithium projects in Argentina, advancing them toward production in order to meet the global demand from the battery market, which is growing 15% per year.
According to Research and Market’s Lithium Mining Market - Growth Trends and Market Forecast Report (2021 - 2025), the global lithium market will expand at 26% CAGR from 2021 to 2025, reaching US $1 billion.
Streetwise Reports recently interviewed the company’s Vice President of Exploration, Miles Rideout, from his home in Mendoza, Argentina, where he has lived for two decades.
Mr. Rideout served five years as CEO of Latin American Minerals (LAT:TSX.V), advancing gold and diamond projects in Paraguay, and 23 years with Quantec Geoscience, where he initiated operations in South America.
We asked Rideout how he gravitated to South America.
“After graduating from the University of Western Ontario, I worked two years in the Canadian bush as a contract geophysicist,” recalled Rideout. “That is not an easy environment. When I was given an opportunity to work in northern Chile, I took it.”
Rideout worked in Chile for eight years, and then Argentina for 24 years, acquiring extensive geological, operational, and cultural knowledge.
We asked Rideout about the differences in working in Chile and Argentina.
“Chile is a mining country,” stated Rideout. “From the time of Pinochet's government through to the present, mining has been their bread and butter. Chile is the world’s largest producer of copper. To a large extent, the government is in tune with the resource extraction industry.”
Rideout says that Chile is an expensive place to operate: “even more expensive than Canada” In comparison, Argentina has a more diverse economy, including tourism and agriculture. “Mining is a third-tier industry in Argentina,” confirmed Rideout. “But the exploration investment goes much further. The country is seriously under-explored. There is a lot unclaimed yet prospective ground, which is not true of Chile.”
Argentina Lithium and Energy is a member of the Grosso Group, a resource pioneer in Argentina since 1993 that has racked up multiple successes.
The Grosso Group has a vast network of local and regional contacts in Argentina. Joe Grosso is in the Argentina Mining Hall of Fame.
“Joe Grosso can get a meeting with anybody in Argentina at any time,” stated Niko Cacos, President and CEO of Argentina Lithium.
“The Grosso Group has made four major discoveries in Argentina,” confirmed Rideout, “That’s not an accident. They pick good people, they execute well, and they persevere. Argentina has good moments and downturns, which are opportunities to acquire good new ground.”
Argentina is currently having “a good moment.”
“Argentina's center-left government has been making a conscious and strategic push towards lithium,” reported Reuters on September 9, 2014.
“Last year it lowered taxes on all mining exports to 8% from 12% and in April eased capital controls on firms taking foreign currency out of the country for projects with investments of over $100 million,” continued Reuters.
We asked Rideout about the geology of the famed Argentine “Lithium Triangle.”
“Lithium comes from seafloor sediments which have been thrust under the Andes Mountains,” explained Rideout, “You have this crustal melt occurring as the old seafloor gets thrust down under the continental mass. The volatile and low-temperature components percolate upwards bringing with them gold, copper, and lithium.”
Rideout explains that the lithium is introduced in the near surface environment by volcanic events.
“Lithium is a curious metal because it doesn't fit into the mineral lattice of most volcanic minerals,” stated Rideout. When the volcanic magmas cool near the surface, the minerals solidify but the lithium is excluded from the crystal structure, and is readily available to be leached.
“The Lithium Triangle is special because of the large amount of seafloor melt being brought up with by volcanic events,” stated Rideout, “This gives you approximately 10 times greater lithium than if you had other kinds of volcanic melt.”
LIT controls nearly 58,000 hectares of claims on four salars (Rincon, Pocitos, Antofalla, and Incahuasi) in the pro-mining Argentina provinces of Salta and Catamarca. All LIT’s properties are highly prospective for lithium.
Rideout and his team are prioritizing the 2,370-hectare Rincon West Project, adjacent to Rincon Ltd. and Argosy Minerals, with proven lithium reserves.
“Rincon West is just a few kilometers east of the Chilean border, with excellent access.” explained Rideout. “There are two other lithium companies working on the Rincon salar, who have already drilled. This is a mature salar with well stratified deposits of salts and sediment. We acquired the west flank of the salar in August, 2021, where it has never been drilled.”
“We are planning 40 kilometers of a deep seeking geophysical technique called transient electromagnetic soundings,” continued Rideout. “We'll have images to about 500 meters depth. I expect to resolve to the bottom of the basin. We'll be able to see the structure of the basin sediments, and we’ll know where to place our drill holes to best effect.”
On November 1, 2021, LIT announced a non-brokered private placement financing of up to 11,000,000 units at a price of $0.45 per unit for gross proceeds of $4,950,000.
Each unit will consist of one common share and one transferrable common share purchase warrant at $0.70 per share for three years from the date of issue.
Argentina has high potential for new discoveries. Rideout says you can still find places in Argentina where modern humans have never stood. “For an exploration professional, it's exciting to pick up rocks amongst arrowheads and think, ‘I'm the first person who's been here doing this’,” stated Rideout.
“The demand for lithium was small a dozen years ago, and it’s now a very large sector.” concluded Rideout, “It’s an exciting opportunity for investors to enter a space that is growing spectacularly.”
LIT is currently trading at .50 with market cap of $24.7 million. There are 52.6 million shares issued with 69 million shares outstanding.
1) Lukas Kane compiled this article for Streetwise Reports LLC and provides services to Streetwise Reports as an independent contractor/employee. He or members of his household own securities of the following companies mentioned in the article: None. He or members of his household are paid by the following companies mentioned in this article: None. His company has a financial relationship with the following companies referred to in this article: None.
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