About the Rio Grande Project
NOA controls a 100% interest in approximately 37,000 hectares of claims located at the Rio Grande Salar in Salta Province, Argentina. It is approximately 70 km from the Company’s Arizaro Project and 250 km from its Salinas Grandes Project.
The salar is known to host lithium-bearing brines with production potential. NOA and Pluspetrol Resource Corporation (“Pluspetrol”), a multi-billion dollar private company, are the two largest claimholders on the salar. Pluspetrol acquired LSC Lithium Corporation (“LSC”) in 2019, which at the time of acquisition had an inferred resource at the Rio Grande salar of 2.2 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (“LCE”) at a grade of 374 mg/l lithium (“Li”). Based on existing drilling, which has been relatively shallow, the LSC resource only considers the top 100 m from surface in its calculations. Certain applicable studies now indicate brine potential down to 500 m. All of NOA’s claim blocks are adjacent to Pluspetrol’s.
Location & Infrastructure
Located at approximately 3,600 metres above sea level, the geological environment at the Rio Grande Salar is similar to other salars in the Puna region where lithium and potash are found.
The Rio Grande Project is situated close to the railway, adjacent to Provincial Route 27, and 185 km south of Provincial Route 51, the international road that connects to Chile’s coastal ports. It is 50 km away from the Caipe international railway station. The InterAndes power corridor runs within a few kilometres of the salar.
Pluspetrol owns the most advanced lithium resource development project on the salar, and its claims are adjacent to claims belonging to NOA. NOA’s claims are located in the west, north and eastern sides of the salar covering both the surface salar and the alluvial fans (salar under cover).
Significant exploration has been carried out by various operators on the surface salar, including extensive drilling, mainly by LSC. Typical lithium values intercepted are in the 350-450 mg/L range and average Mg:Li ratios range from 5-10.
NOA carried out confirmatory geophysical testing in 2022 which indicated brine potential at their claims in the alluvial fans of the salar and, for the claims in the surface salar, indicate brine potential down to 500 m, significantly deeper than has been drilled on the salar to-date.
NOA plans to begin a drilling campaign in Q1 2023 to detect and delineate brine aquifers. For details of the latest work program and results please refer to the News Releases and Presentations.