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Centaur's IPO hopes boosted on lithium resource upside at Argentine salar


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Centaur's IPO hopes boosted on lithium resource upside at Argentine salar

Chile's recent water restrictions for major lithium producers and TSX Venture Exchange-listed Millennial Lithium Corp.'s focus further south in the same Argentine salar as Centaur Resources has boosted the latter's confidence ahead of the Oct. 25 closing of its 20-Australian-cent-per-share, A$15 million IPO on the ASX due Nov. 8.

Centaur's offer, which was detailed in its Sept. 19 prospectus, opened Oct. 4 to fund exploration at its Lobo Blanco project that comprises nine tenements encompassing 11,360 hectares in the Salar de Pastos Grandes Basin in Argentina's Salta Province in the Puna region, the world's second-largest high-altitude plateau, which hosts brine bodies containing elevated concentrations of lithium among several other specific elements of economic interest.

Lobo Blanco is neighbored by other lithium brine projects including Millennial's Pastos Grandes project, which reported a measured and indicated lithium resource of 400,000 tonnes of lithium metal in December 2017, and LSC Lithium Corp.'s Pastos Grandes project, which it is considering combining with its Pozuelos project 17 kilometers away.

However, a Youtube video of a Proactive Investors interview with Millennial President and CEO Farhad Abasov in Vancouver, which only recently came to Centaur's attention, made further revelations that Centaur CEO Brian Clifford said gave his company increased confidence that Lobo Blanco is in exactly the right spot.

"The market is being informed by other operators on the Pastos Grandes salar that the southern drilling programs are yielding higher lithium grades, much better impurities ratios and up to 300 meters of brine thickness, which will be beneficial in the reporting of a JORC resource. And given that some of our tenements are on the southern end of the salar, we are very keen to start our drilling program," Clifford told S&P Global Market Intelligence.

As Centaur prepares to start its drilling program immediately following the listing process, Clifford said that what sets Centaur apart are Millennial's southern focus and Chile's recent clampdown on water extraction at the lithium-rich Salar de Atacama salt flats, where top lithium miners Albemarle Corp. and Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA operate.

Abasov said in the video, which Centaur reposted on its own website Sept. 14, that the Canadian company now believes that the measured and indicated resource of 2.1 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent and inferred resource of 900,000 tonnes can be further enhanced by drilling newly acquired ground to the south, due to be completed by the end of the year, by which time a revised resource is expected.

He confirmed that the results thus far have led him to believe that drilling on the new southern portion could lift the resource by up to 30%, "and I'm told that's quite a conservative expectation," particularly given that its previously announced resource was calculated based on only a small part of the newly acquired ground.

Noting the work of other companies that have operated in the salar, Centaur's prospectus said Eramet subsidiary Eramine Sud America SA conducted geochemical sampling on the superficial and subsuperficial brines but only targeted relatively shallow sediments, and while drilling did not extend below 160 meters, testing indicated that the portions of the salar sediment section contained high content brine.

However, the drilling was not deep enough to confirm a base to the brine resource, and Eramine later focused its efforts on the Centenario-Ratones project, thus Centaur believes that Lobo Blanco, while early stage, could host concentrations of lithium in subsurface brine.

Once Centaur lists, its work program will comprise surface geophysics to target initial drilling, core drilling to identify and test potentially productive brine aquifers, brine and core sampling, airlift testing to determine hydraulic properties, lab and field evaporation trials, metallurgical testing and environmental permits, and an evaporation pond testing program before launching into phase two, which involves further exploration.