After the end of the first exploratory phase, the following results are reported, according to the available information:
The well was drilled from a location 300 meters to the north-east away from the planned one, apparently with the purpose of avoiding interferences with the Epn-x2, since this is a gas extraction and pumping well. According to the plan, core samples were taken from the whole drilled section.
At 130 meters deep, the drilling called “pinchó” an important gas pocket, delayed the operations. The well was recovered finally reaching 522 mbbp, and obtaining core samples from the mineralized part.
Within the initially assessed area with extension possibilities of the deposit towards the south, the K3 is the only one of the programmed wells that was drilled nearby the originally proposed location. It reached 501 meters, and cores samples were taken from the mineralized part of interest.
Fuente K4 y K5
Both explorations were relocated and the definitive position was set 3 and 4 kilometers to the north respectively, in relation to the original ones. Both remained within the proposed area for the mining of the deposit of potassium.
The depth of the drillings reached 610 and 860 meters with recoveries of core samples from the potassium levels.
In spite of the initial contingencies, the exploration program was successfully fulfilled and within the proposed terms, with the exception of the relocation of the wells K4 and K5, with which the intention was to research the south-west sector for possible extension of the potassium deposit. Nevertheless, the new location of both drills will add valuable information in the south-west strip of the selected area for the mining development. This information will certainly facilitate the pre-feasibility evaluation of the project.
Up to now, there are no further details available about the results of this first exploratory stage, and the definition about the continuity of the project is subject to the established terms. In case that the continuity is decided, the information about wells that is still to be analyzed and interpreted must be considered. And access to 3D seismic data that the operative base of El Portón keeps updated must be obtained.
Complementarily, it would be important to continue with the analysis of the critical variables related to the logistics of the project, such as:
Determination of the production capacity and life cycle set for the mine.
Initial content level of Cl previous to the installation of the mine.
Permitted level of CI after the installation of the mine.
Water flow conditions for the industrial process during the year.
Waste dump: height above the river Colorado level and critical distance.
Construction style of the waste dump area. Impermeability of the substrate.
Capture and use of rain water. Monitoring measures with respect to leaks and draining and liquid evacuation system.
Mechanisms of final disposal of solid waste.
Possibility to use the rail transport system that Vale Argentina is projecting to build and method to be agreed with the Province, National Transport Department and Ferrosur.