The Antofalla Salar. Antofalla Salar is approx. 130 km long and varies from 8-15 km wide (visible surface) with a measured depth in some areas of over 500 meters. Younger lava flows cover some of the basin’s lateral limits, indicating that the basin is much larger than merely what is visible on the surface. Located less than 20 km west of Livent’s producing lithium operation (fka FMC Corporation, Livent is Argentina’s largest lithium producer) in northern Catamarca Province, the Antofalla Salar hosts one of the largest lithium-bearing basins in the region. It is over 130 km long and varies between 5km and 20 km across.
On September 12, 2016, Albemarle Corporation, the world’s largest lithium producer, announced that it had acquired from Bolland Minera, S.A., a large private mining company, exclusive exploration and acquisition rights to a claim block located in the center section of the Antofalla Salar. At that time, Albemarle publicly stated its belief that Antofalla has the third-largest lithium brine reservoir in the world. In 2016, Roskill Information Services reported that Bolland had drilled 56 boreholes over 265km2 and defined a resource of 83mt of potash (KCl) grading 6,400mg/l and 2.22mt of lithium (11.8mt LCE) grading 350mg/l. Bolland’s test wells were drilled between 2008 and 2011 in the claim block now owned by Albemarle. They were completed in conjunction with the Institute of Mineral Resources for the National University of La Plata in Buenos Aires (“Inremi”). Well logs, permeability, hydraulic gradient, core sample chemistry, and gravimetric studies published by Inremi during that period indicated substantial values for lithium and potassium continuously observed from the surface down to a depth of over 500 meters, suggesting that Antofalla is one of the deepest basins in the region.