Galaxy Resources Limited (ASX: GXY) announced that the assessment of hydrogeological data from the drilling of two production wells has increased Resources and Reserves of its wholly-owned Sal de Vida Project in Catamarca, Argentina.
The company reported a revised Brine Resource of 6.2 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE), a 27% increase from the prior estimate; and a revised Reserve estimate of 1.3 million tonnes of recoverable LCE, a 13% increase.
The company noted that higher grade brine was recovered in both wells (average lithium concentration of 933 mg/L) compared to the average resource of 754 mg/L.
GXY said that the production drilling will continue to test the aquifer at depth and a further update to the Resource and Reserve is expected in Q3 2021.
Production wellfield drilling at Sal de Vida
In late 2020, the company had commenced wellfield drilling in the east sub-basin to construct an additional eight production wells for the Sal de Vida project. The program also entailed aquifer and pump testing and exploratory drilling targeting depths deeper than all previous drilling campaigns.
GXY said that the first two production wells, SVWP20-08, and SVWP21-04, were successfully drilled, reamed, cased, and pumps installed and tested. Whilst drilling the wells, further exploration and aquifer data on the hydrogeological settings of the salar was also obtained.
The drilling program was monitored by consultants Montgomery & Associates and Galaxy personnel. Once drilling was completed, 10-inch diameter PVC casing, and slotted PVC well screen was installed.
Higher grade brine recovered
The company announced that wells, SVWP20-08, and SVWP21-04, were drilled to depths of 307m and 236m respectively where the fractured bedrock basement was encountered. Well head brine samples were collected and analysed at the onsite laboratory via Atomic Absorption (AA) and Inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES).
GXY said that the lithium concentrations recorded were significantly higher than the average lithium resource grade of 754 mg/L and the reserve grade of 802 mg/L (for years 1-10).
The company said that the well SVWP20-08 returned average Lithium concentrations of 911 mg/L while well SVWP20-04 returned average Lithium concentrations of 955 mg/L.
27% increase in Sal de Vida Brine Resource
Galaxy announced that the drilling results from the initial two production wells increased the depth of the basement model and the size of the brine aquifer, leading to an increase in Inferred Mineral Resources of 1.3Mt. The company reported that the revised Mineral Resource estimate of 6.2Mt LCE reflects a 27% increase to the prior Resource of 4.9Mt LCE.
The revised Sal de Vida Brine Resource is as shown below.
13% increase in Reserve estimate
Galaxy reported a revised reserve estimate of 1.3Mt LCE for 44 years, reflecting a 13% increase compared to the previous estimate of 1.1 Mt LCE for 40 years. The Proven and Probable Reserve estimate of 1.3 Mt LCE represents approximately 28% of the current Measured and Indicated Brine Resource estimate.
The company noted that the increase and difference of four years reflect updated assumptions and Galaxy’s staged development approach detailed in the 2021 Feasibility Study.
The summary of total pumped brine and projected average grade of the latest Probable and Proven brine reserves is as shown below.
The company announced that further wellfield development drilling in progress. Galaxy said that production drilling will continue to test the aquifer at depth and a further update to the Resource and Reserve is expected in Q3 2021.
Image Source: Galaxy Resources Limited