Argentina

Hombre Muerto North (HMN) Project

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Categories

Overview

Mine TypeIn-Situ
StageConstruction
Commodities
  • Lithium
  • Potassium
Mining Method
  • Brine mining
Mine Life... Lock
SnapshotLithium South expects to expand the known resource with its current drill program. Preliminary results support this expectation. Additional project work including permitting, environmental studies and process test work is ongoing.

Owners

SourceSource
CompanyInterestOwnership
Lithium South Development Corp. 100 % Indirect
Lithium South is the 100% owner of the Hombre Muerto North Lithium Project. The project is being acquired through a purchase option agreement from a private borate producer from Salta, Argentina.

Deposit type

  • Brine

Summary:

The deposit type is a brine aquifer within a salar basin. The conceptual model for the Hombre Muerto basin, and for its brine aquifer, is based on exploration of similar salar basins in Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia. Salar basins are characterized by closed topography and interior drainage. The lowest exposed portions of these basins may contain salt encrusted playas, or “salars”. Typically, no significant groundwater discharges from these basins as underflow. All groundwater discharge that occurs within the basin is evaporated. All surface water that flows into the basin is either evaporated directly or enters the groundwater circulation system and is evaporated at a later time.

Salar basin locations and basin depths are typically structurally controlled but may be influenced by volcanism that may alter drainage patterns. Basin-fill deposits within salar basins typically contain thin to thickly bedded evaporite deposits in the deeper, low-energy portion of the basin, together with thin to thickly bedded low-permeability lacustrine clays. Coarser-grained, higher permeability deposits associated with active alluvial fans can typically be observed along the edges of the salar. Similar alluvial fan deposits, associated with ancient drainages, may occur buried within the basin-fill deposits. Other permeable basin-fill deposits which may occur within salar basins include pyroclastic deposits, ignimbrite flows, lava-flow rocks, and spring deposits.

The Hombre Muerto basin has an evaporite core that is dominated by halite. Basin margins are steep and are interpreted to be fault controlled. The east basin margin is dominated by Precambrian metamorphic and crystalline rocks. Volcanic tuff and reworked tuffaceous sediments, together with tilted Tertiary rocks, are common along western and northern basin margins. In the Sal de Vida project area, dip angle of Tertiary sandstone is commonly about 45 degrees to the southeast. Porous travertine and associated calcareous sediments can occur in the subsurface and are flat lying. These sediments form a marker unit that is encountered in some locations. Five boreholes located near basin margins have completely penetrated the flat-lying basin-fill deposits. These boreholes, at their maximum depths, reach tilted Tertiary sandstone, volcanic tuff, or micaceous schist.

Metamorphic and crystalline bedrock along the east basin margin are expected to have low hydraulic conductivity and should approximate a “no-flow” groundwater boundary during extraction of brine from basin fill deposit aquifers by pumping wells. Tertiary sediments along the west and north basin boundaries exhibit drainable porosity, and conceptually approximate “low-flow” boundaries that are expected to contribute brine to the basin fill deposit aquifers.

Fine-grained lacustrine deposits are common throughout the exposed basin floor of Salar del Hombre Muerto. These deposits are interpreted to have low hydraulic conductivity. In many parts of the basin, this surface is believed to restrict downward flow of freshwater from the Rio de los Patos that enters the basin from the southeast and flows across the salar toward the north and west. In addition, hydraulic conductivity in the vertical direction of groundwater flow (Kz) is typically less than hydraulic conductivity in the horizontal direction (Kh). For layered sediments, such as occur in Salar del Hombre Muerto, the ratio Kz/Kh is commonly 0.01 or less (Freeze and Cherry, 1979, p. 34). The low vertical permeability of the salar sediments, combined with the density difference between surface water inflow and deep brine, restrict the vertical circulation of fresh water entering the salar from Rio de los Patos.

Reserves

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Mining Methods

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Comminution

Crushers and Mills

Milling equipment has not been reported.

Processing

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Production

CommodityUnitsAvg. AnnualLOM
All production numbers are expressed as carbonate.

Operational metrics

Metrics
Annual production capacity 5,360 t of lithium carbonate *
Annual processing rate 2,957,033 t *
Daily brine extraction 8,400 m3 *
* According to 2019 study.

Production Costs

CommodityUnitsAverage
Cash costs Li2CO3 USD 3,122 / t *  
Assumed price Li2CO3 USD 12,420 / t *  
* According to 2019 study / presentation.

Project Costs

MetricsUnitsLOM Total
Pre-Production capital costs $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Working capital $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Sustaining CapEx $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Closure costs $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Pre-tax NPV @ 8% $M USD  ......  Subscribe
After-tax NPV @ 8% $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Pre-tax IRR, %  ......  Subscribe
After-tax IRR, %  ......  Subscribe
Pre-tax payback period, years  ......  Subscribe
After-tax payback period, years  ......  Subscribe

Heavy Mobile Equipment

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Personnel

Mine Management

Job TitleNameProfileRef. Date
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Jun 3, 2019
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Jun 3, 2019
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Dec 12, 2023
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Dec 12, 2023

Total WorkforceYear
...... Subscription required 2019

Aerial view:

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