Arena Minerals Produces 35% Lithium Chloride in Pilot Testing at Sal de la Puna Project

TORONTO, June 27, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) —

Arena Minerals Inc. (“Arena” or the “Company”) (TSX-V: AN)

is pleased to announce that brine processing at the Company’s pilot facilities has successfully reached concentration levels of 35% lithium chloride (“LiCl”) in Phase I and II testing. The LiCl product was produced by treating raw brine from the Sal de la Puna lithium brine project (“SDLP”), located in the Pastos Grandes basin, Salta, Argentina, with a calcium chloride reagent produced at the Company’s 100% owned Antofalla project in Catamarca, Argentina (“Antofalla”). The treated brine was subsequently evaporated at the Company’s on-site pilot facilities until the intended concentration levels were reached.

William Randall, President & CEO of Arena, said, “Reaching a 35% LiCl product with low impurity levels at SDLP is the key step to successfully deploying our business model. At Arena, we recognize the technical, execution, and financial risks of embarking on a business plan that contemplates building and operating both a ponding facility and battery grade lithium carbonate chemical plant. Our approach is to produce a battery grade lithium product directly from a ponding facility that reduces the environmental impact, time frame to cashflow, minimizes operational risk and lowers the capital requirements.” He continued, “Realizing a 35% LiCl product in our on-site facilities is the most important cornerstone in achieving this vision.”

Eduardo Morales, Executive Chairman of Arena, stated, “We are very pleased with the concentration profiles of the SDLP brine and production of 35% LiCl directly from evaporation ponds. The impurity levels in the final product from our Phase I and II testing are very low, indicating that we can indeed produce a high purity product suitable for the battery and lithium metal markets.” He added, “We observed trends and reached product specifications similar to those achieved and commercialized at Atacama. We will continue pilot testing, focusing on process optimization, particularly on maximizing reagent efficiencies and recoveries.”

A full breakdown of the composition of the 35% LiCl product obtained from Phase II pilot testing can be found below in Table 1. The high LiCl concentrations and low impurity levels demonstrate the quality required for a battery grade lithium carbonate plant feed. Of note are the low concentrations achieved for magnesium, sulphate, and boron, three influential elements for obtaining a competitive cash cost in a chemical plant.


Table 1

– Analytical results for Phase II pilot processing sample at SDLP. Density of the sample was measured at 1.308 G/ML.


Analyte

Concentration (mg/L)

Concentration (%)
Lithium chloride (LiCl) 450,856 34.7%
Lithium (Li) 73,814 5.6%
Magnesium (Mg) 20,100 1.5%
Sulfate (SO

4

)
317 0.0%
Boron (B) 5,240 0.4%
Potassium (K) 96 0.0%
Calcium (Ca) 960 0.1%
Sodium (Na) 1,424 0.1%

The LiCl product was attained by treating raw SDLP brine with calcium chloride reagents produced at the Company’s Antofalla project. The reagent used contains >11% calcium, 1200 ppm Li, and less than 100 ppm Mg. Antofalla’s reagent contributes lithium to the system that translates into additional lithium head feed with a very negligible magnesium contribution.

The metallurgical program is jointly designed and supervised by the Company and BarryMor Ingenieria consultants. All brine samples are sent to SGS Laboratories, Salta, Argentina, an independent and fully international accredited laboratory for analysis for lithium multi-element Induction Coupled Plasma Spectroscopy. Arena has a regimented Quality Assurance, Quality Control program where at least 10% duplicates, blanks and standards are inserted into each sample shipment.


About Arena Minerals Inc.

Arena owns 65% of the Sal de la Puna Project covering approximately 11,000 hectares of the Pastos Grandes basin located in Salta, Argentina. The claims are highly prospective and share the basin with two advanced lithium brine projects. In addition to Sal de la Puna, the Company owns the Antofalla lithium brine project in Argentina, consisting of four claims covering a total of 6,000 hectares of the central portion of Salar de Antofalla, located immediately south of Albemarle Corporation’s Antofalla project. Arena has developed a proprietary brine processing technology using brine type reagents derived from the Antofalla project with the objective of producing more competitive battery grade lithium products.

Arena also owns 80 percent of the Atacama Copper property within the Antofagasta region of Chile, and 5.8 million shares of Astra Exploration. The projects are at low altitudes, within producing mining camps in infrastructure-rich areas, located in the heart of Chile’s premier copper mining district.

For more information regarding the Company, its management, expertise, and projects, please visit www.arenaminerals.com. An email registration allowing subscribers to directly receive news and updates is also available on the website.

The technical information contained in this news release has been reviewed and approved by William Randall, P.Geo, who is a Qualified Person as defined under NI 43-101. Mr. Randall is a director and is the Chief Executive Officer and President of Arena.

For more information, contact William Randall, President and CEO, at +1-416-818-8711 or Simon Marcotte, Corporate Development, at +1-647-801-7273 or [email protected]


On behalf of the Board of Directors of:

Arena Minerals Inc.

William Randall, President and CEO



Cautionary Note Regarding Accuracy and Forward-Looking Information


This news release may contain forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. Forward-looking information includes, but is not limited to, statements, projections and estimates relating to the future development of any of the Company’s properties, the anticipating timing with respect to private placement financings, the ability of the Company to complete private placement financings, results of the exploration program, future financial or operating performance of the Company, its subsidiaries and its projects, the development of and the anticipated timing with respect to the Atacama project in Chile, the Antofalla, Hombre Muerto or Pocitos Projects in Argentina , and the Company’s ability to obtain financing. Generally, forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “plans”, “expects” or “does not expect”, “is expected”, “budget”, “scheduled”, “estimates”, “forecasts”, “intends”, “anticipates” or “does not anticipate”, or “believes”, or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might” or “will be taken”, “occur” or “be achieved”. The statements made herein are based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially because of factors discussed in the management discussion and analysis section of the Company’s interim and most recent annual financial statement or other reports and filings with the TSX Venture Exchange and applicable Canadian securities regulations. Estimates underlying the results set out in this news release arise from work conducted by the previous owners and the Company. Forward-looking information is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information, including but not limited to: general business, economic, competitive, geopolitical and social uncertainties; the actual results of current exploration activities; other risks of the mining industry and the risks described in the annual information form of the Company. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. Arena Minerals does not undertake to update any forward-looking information, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.


Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.


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