High-grade lithium attracts high-quality personnel

Galan Lithium has always held great belief that the company’s Hombre Muerto West project, located in Catamarca Province, Argentina, would become a significant global producer of lithium.

THIS BELIEF WAS heightened by the release of an updated mineral resource estimate for the Hombre Muerto West (HMW) project, taking the measured resource to over 4.7 million tonnes of contained lithium carbonate equivalent product grading 873 milligrams per litre of lithium.

This increased total HMW inferred, measured and indicated mineral resources by approximately 14 per cent to 6.6 million tonnes of contained lithium carbonate equivalent, grading at 880 milligrams per litre of lithium.

‘This is our fourth resource estimate and demonstrates that while we have consistently grown the resource, the grade has been holding beautifully while maintain low level impurities,’ says Galan Lithium Managing Director Juan Pablo Vargas de la Vega.

The high grades and low impurities allowed Galan to complete the estimate without applying any cut-off grade, as the minimum block grades of 805 milligrams per litre of lithium achieved exceeded the anticipated economic threshold.

The company considers this exceptional characteristic of the HMW reservoir a reflection of the highly homogenous brine quality throughout the tenements, which permits aggregation of the complete ore body, and simplifies future operational and process constraints.

The high grades of the resource are reinforced by the high quality of the company’s boardroom and senior management team. Besides the Argentine experience of Vargas de la Vega, Galan also has Daniel Jimenez as a Non-Executive Director.

Jimenez worked for global lithium trendsetter Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (SQM) for 28 years as Vice President of Sales of Lithium, Iodine and Industrial Chemicals – racking up an impressive US$900 million worth of estimated sales in 2018.

Claudia Pohl was recently appointed as Non-Executive Director at Galan. Pohl is another SQM alumnus who, after leaving SQM, has been Managing Partner and General Manager of Chile-based Ad-Infinitum – a process engineering consultancy focused on the study and development of lithium brine projects.

Former SQM Operations Vice President Juan Carlos Barrera has been appointed as consultant and adviser to the board, and is assigned to work with Pohl to conduct a thorough review of the project’s definitive feasibility study (DFS) and production strategy going forward.

‘We have a very good team with strong experience in lithium operations [and] loaded with people who have worked with SQM,’ Vargas de la Vega says. 

Galan has separated the DFS into two phases, with the initial DFS focusing on the first production phase only – being 4000 tonnes per annum lithium carbonate equivalent, as per production permits currently under application.

The DFS optimisation work being conducted by the new team will continue, culminating in the release of a phase two DFS in August/September 2023, addressing full 20,000-tonnes-per-annum lithium carbonate equivalent production rates.

This will ramp up to phase three producing 40,000 tonnes per annum lithium carbonate equivalent (HMW), and phase four producing 60,000 tonnes per annum lithium carbonate equivalent (HMW and Candelas projects) – which is to be confirmed as the project progresses. 

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