Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) is throwing substantial drilling firepower at its Pilgangoora lithium-tantalite project in Western Australia in an effort to beef up the lithium oxide resource at the site south-east of Port Hedland.
The 15,000 metre reverse circulation and diamond drill program will cover four main target areas in an effort to upgrade and expand the indicated and inferred resource of 80.2 million tonnes which grades 1.26% spodumene, containing 1,008,000 tonnes of lithium oxide.
The strategic metals company revealed it would ramp up to four RC rigs and one diamond rig for the next few months, with the dual purpose of also doing groundwater exploration. Round-the-clock drilling will comprise 86 RC holes, 11 diamond holes, 61 infill holes and 19 water bores.
All this work would be included in the pre-feasibility study scheduled to be released in early March, which would focus on a standalone 2 million tonnes per annum operation at Pilgangoora producing spodumene aimed at the glass, ceramics and lithium battery markets.
A definitive feasibility study was on track to be completed mid-2016, the company said, adding that it was in discussions with customers seeking high-quality spodumene supplies.
The start of a new, major drilling program just a few weeks into the New Year reflect the company’s clear focus and intent to advance the project to production as soon as possible.
The main objective of this latest drill campaign is to upgrade the main indicated resource zones to measured status to support the DFS, but with an ancillary objective of further increasing the overall resource inventory and future reserve growth.
The company held very tidy cash reserves of $12 million in February 2016 to support drilling of the large lithium resource and highest grade lithium, relative to ASX-listed peers. The asset base also includes the second largest spodumene-tantalite resource in the world.
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