Pan Asia inks option deals for Tama Atacama, Chile

It’s been a stellar start to the year for Pan Asia Metals (ASX:PAM) after the battery metals explorer signed new binding option agreements to acquire 1,200km-square of lithium tenure in Chile.

The $20.87 million market capitalisation company has converted some memorandums of understanding (MoUs) into option agreements covering the Dolores North, Dolores South, Pozon, and Pink projects — which together form the Tama Atacama Lithium Brine Project — and the northern half of the nearby Ramatidas Project. 

Shares in Pan Asia have spiked 12% to $0.14 as of 11:30 am AEDT on 2 January, and the company says it’s already in talks with potential strategic partners for the area as it plans geophysics and drilling work for early 2024. 

Pan Asia described the new projects as Tier One assets in the ‘truest sense of the term’, and Managing Director Paul Lock says Tama Atacama has the potential to become one of the largest lithium brine projects on the planet. 

“Surface assays for lithium are extremely high, and the project has enviable strategic positioning, with all infrastructure requirements satisfied. Waste and water balance solutions are available should straight evaporation or a direct lithium extraction (DLE)-evaporation hybrid lithium extraction model be adopted. 

The project is situated at a comfortable altitude, is close to a large labour pool and will attract specific brine skillsets from elsewhere in South America.”

“Surface assays for lithium are extremely high, and the project has enviable strategic positioning, with all infrastructure requirements satisfied”

Lock adds that progressive changes in the Chilean lithium sector further underpin its advantages in the region, with a recent MOU between New York-listed Sociedad Quimica y Minr de Chile (NYSE:SQM) and Chilean state copper miner Codelco quelling speculation around nationalisation in the country. 

It follows a string of acquisitions in Chile by multinational mining and chemical companies, including France-based Eramet SA, and moves by Australian and Chinese processors to build lithium conversion plants in Chile.

As for Pan Asia, the new option agreements are lined up as follows: 

Pan Asia can earn a 100% interest in the Dolores North and South project over 3 years — plus an additional year by mutual agreement with vendor Rajo Partnership — by making a US$100,000 option payment by December 2024, a US$100,000 option payment by December 2025, and a US$2 million option payment by December 2026. 

The terms of the option agreement for the Pozon, Pink, and the northern portion of the Ramatidas projects are identical and have also been signed with Rajo Partnership. 

Meanwhile, Pan Asia has signed an option agreement with Thomas Eggers over 25 exploration concessions covering roughly 75km-square in Salars Bellavista and Pintados, adjacent to the Pink Project, for US$2.76 million. 

Under this arrangement, Pan Asia will make ramping payments totalling US$966,000 from January 2024 through to January 2028, until it makes a final US$1.8 million option payment of US$1.8 million pending a Special Lithium Operations Contract (CEOL). 

This Thomas Eggers deal also comes with a 2% net smelter return royalty, of which Pan Asia can buy back 1% for US$600,000 and the remaining 1% based on a specific price formula.

Pan Asia plans to kick off its planned drilling work at the Pink Project in early 2024 to identify lithium-bearing aquifers at depth. The company will then look to conduct further drilling ahead of an initial resource estimate later in the year.

Write to Joshua Smith at Mining.com.au

Images: Pan Asia Metals and Pexels
Author Image
Written By Joshua Smith
Joshua Smith has years of experience in the media sector, having worked as a markets reporter, features writer, and editor since completing a Communications and Journalism degree and a Creative Writing degree. Josh is an avid board game fan and a self-professed coffee snob.