Core Lithium Ltd’s (ASX:CXO) mineral resource estimate for Finniss Lithium Project in the Northern Territory has been further boosted to 9.63 million tonnes at 1.3% lithium oxide with the addition of a maiden resource from Lees deposit.
The initial Lees inferred estimate of 780,000 tonnes at 1.3% Li2O is expected to be substantially upgraded in scale and confidence over 2019 with further drilling.
A further exploration target of 2 to 3 million tonnes grading between 1% and 1.3% lithium oxide has been identified by Core at the adjacent Lees-Booths Link.
Core Lithium’s managing director Stephen Biggins said: “The global Finniss project mineral resource has increased over 500% from the start of 2018 to now at almost 10 million tonnes.
“Along with an additional exploration target of 5-8 million tonnes, Core is confident in being able to rapidly build the resources in the upcoming 2019 field season, with the aim to potentially deliver more reserves for mining.
“The solid economics highlighted in detail in the recently released DFS focused on development of the first two well-defined ore bodies at Grants and BP33 – are highly sensitive on the upside to increasing the life of the project.
“Core very much has a plan in mind to deliver upside to shareholders through continuing resource growth as we finalise regulatory, offtake and financing in 2019.”
The Lees estimate combines existing reverse circulation (RC) drilling data with assays for two targeted drill holes:
- NRC 116: 18 metres at 1.59% lithium oxide from 210 metres, including 7 metres at 1.91% lithium oxide from 211 metres and 3 metres at 1.93% lithium oxide from 174 metres; and
- NRC 115: 5 metres at 1.04% lithium oxide from 159 metres.
There are at least five spodumene pegmatites at Lees with only two of those having adequate drilling to date to enable estimation for the initial estimate and there are several additional infill pegmatite targets requiring further drilling to test to bring those into the estimate.
The Lees Booth exploration target is based on several broadly spaced RC drill holes stretching between the Lees resource estimate and the historical open pit mines at Booths.
The average grade range of 1-1.3% lithium oxide was derived from the typical range of grades seen for drilling at this and other similar deposits nearby and is consistent with recently received assay results:
- NRC117: 4 metres at 1.2% from 121 metres, 3 metres at 1.53% from 156 metres and 3 metres at 1.24% from 174 metres; and
- NRC114: 4 metres at 0.96% from 143 metres and 6 metres at 1.23% from 170 metres.
The potential quantity and grade of the exploration target is conceptual in nature and there has been insufficient exploration to estimate a mineral resource. It is also uncertain if further exploration will result in the estimation of additional mineral resources.