Cadence Minerals confirmed the start of its initial exploration programme on six lithium assets in Argentina, having bought the portfolio in San Luis Province after its initial announcement in early December.
The AIM-traded company said detailed desktop and remote exploration had started over 55,773 hectares within the known spodumene bearing pegmatite fields in the central Argentina province.
Work was said to include high-resolution satellite imagery interpretation to map pegmatites or other potential lithium bearing host rock.
The pegmatite fields of San Luis had an "important" past record of producing mica, beryl, spodumene, tantalite, columbite, and recently potassium feldspar, albite and quartz, the Cadence board explained.
Based on results, the company said it would develop a ranked target list of prospective pegmatites for further exploration, sampling and drilling.
Cadence had completed the first stage of the five-stage timetable to acquire up to 100% of the assets, the board confirmed.
The initial exploration programme, which was targeted to complete in between four and six months, had been designed to provide the company with a thorough understanding of the pegmatite geology and extent of lithium mineralisation.
Cadence said the first part of the programme consisted of detailed desktop work that was undertaken remotely, which would be followed up by field work to reconcile the findings and identify key pegmatite targets.
At the end of the process and upon regulatory approval, the exploration program would move into sampling the targets and, if successful, exploratory drilling and the definition of mineral resources.
"We are very excited to have started exploration on the San Luis lithium prospects," said chief executive Kiran Morzaria.
"The initial remote exploration expects to identify pegmatites that are exposed at the surface, which will provide low-cost exploration targets for sampling and, if appropriate, drilling."
Morzaria said the board's long-term goal was to identify, explore and develop a "substantial" hard rock lithium resource, in a country with an established lithium industry, good infrastructure and supportive regulatory and fiscal regimes.
"We will update shareholders on the exploration programme as we advance up the development curve."