Pan Asia to take advantage of Chile’s national lithium strategy

Pan Asia Metals (ASX:PAM) is gearing up to make a submission under the Request for Information (RFI) process for 1,200km2 of its target lithium brine holdings in Chile. 

The company’s decision follows the Chilean Government releasing the policy framework as part of its National Lithium Strategy, which will allow private companies to explore for, extract, and process lithium. 

The Chilean Government’s strategy is to sustainably develop the nation’s lithium resources, its social and environmental sustainability, technological development, and community and state participation. 

Managing Director Paul Lock says the decision from the Chilean government all but de-risks lithium exploration in Chile. 

“Pan Asia Metals embarked on a concession procurement program in early 2023 targeting lithium brines, understanding that Chile had the largest and highest-grade lithium brine resources in the world, with the lowest operating costs for LCE production,” Lock says.

“This strategy resulted in the formation of the Tama Atacama Lithium Project. As global lithium resources grew it became apparent that being positioned for potential large-scale, low-cost LCE production would be essential — hence PAM’s Chilean strategy. 

Even though lithium prices were recently at their three-year lows, for an extended period, the Chilean based (sic) lithium brine projects were still very profitable, keeping in mind that lithium production in Chile was profitable when lithium was greater than $10,000/t.”

Pan Asia has invited private companies to indicate their interest via the RFI process, which will then be used to define lithium target areas that will be given priority to enter into special lithium operation contracts. 

Expressions of interest under the RFI are due by 17 June 2024. 

According to the company, the 1,200km2 of tenements it holds meet the requirements of the framework. Notably, Pan Asia notes its holdings abut the western margin of the Pampa del Tamarugal Depression. 

Up to 850km2  is situated in the north western section by the Depression, which has a strike length of 170km under which a portion is salt flat with lithium-in-surface assays.  

However, this area has been excluded from the RFI process. Therefore, Pan Asia states it will retain the area as a strategic holding in the event of further policy environment improvements under the existing government or with a change of government in late 2025. 

The exploration model applied to the company’s holdings within the Pampa del Tamarugal Depression is for lithium-rich brines occuring at depth across much of the basin. The presence of salars on the western margin of the basin, with lithium in the salt crusts, supports the model. 

Meanwhile, the company remains suspended trading on the ASX. In a separate announcement today, Pan Asia noted it will continue its voluntary suspension amid ongoing discussions with strategic investors regarding their participation in a placement. 

The company expects the voluntary suspension to remain until 2 May 2024.  

Pan Asia Metals claims to be the only publicly-listed battery materials company with lithium projects in Southeast Asia and South America, and with agreements with battery and chemical producers in Asia.

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Images: Pan Asia Metals
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Written By Adam Drought
Born and raised in the UK, Adam is a sports fanatic with an interest in Rugby League and UFC/MMA. When not training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Adam attends Griffith University where he is completing his final year of a Communication & Journalism degree.