Core Lithium Ltd (ASX:CXO) jumped almost 20% after returning a world-class 119-metre continuous spodumene pegmatite intersection at BP33 Prospect within the Finniss Lithium Project near Darwin in the Northern Territory.
This intersection includes 105 metres of strongly mineralised spodumene pegmatite.
Visual inspection of this interval of the drill core and under UV light suggests that spodumene grades are in line with or better than the average grade 1.5% Li2O of the BP33 ore body.
Resource expansion expected
All holes completed during recent reverse circulation (RC) and diamond drilling intersected spodumene mineralised pegmatite outside the defined BP33 mineral resource and are expected to expand the resource.
Core’s managing director Stephen Biggins said, “Core’s latest world-class spodumene pegmatite intersection at BP33 highlights the significant upside potential for the Finniss Lithium Project.
“Core is focused over coming months on increasing value for shareholders by growing mineral resources and increasing the mine-life of the project.”
Shares up 20%
Investors responded positively with shares up almost 20% to an intra-day high of 3.7 cents.
The results indicate that the primary pegmatite body at BP33 extends with an approximate 40-metre true width for at least a further 100 metres vertically from previous drilling on that section and remains open at 400 metres vertical depth.
Two other recent RC drill holes at BP33 also intersected pegmatite outside the current resource.
Long section for BP33 showing the current mineral resource coloured by grade and segregated into resource category, showing previous recent assays and new drilling geology results.
Assay results from the recently completed RC and diamond core drilling programs at BP33 are expected in January.
Core is planning an upgraded mineral resource and ore reserve estimate during the March 2020 quarter which will incorporate the latest results and upcoming assays.
An expanded, high-grade lithium resource at BP33 is expected to contribute to increased mine life at the Finniss project.
Mining studies and an updated feasibility study, to be completed in the first half of 2020, are expected to show high-grade continuous mineralisation at BP33 and Carlton is amenable to efficient underground mining methods.
The very coarse spodumene crystals of the BP33 pegmatite are typical of the spodumene pegmatites within the Finniss Lithium Project.
This enables the high recovery of lithium by simple, gravity dense media separation (DMS).
Effective DMS separation translates into significantly lower capex, lower processing costs and low start-up risk.
Main prospects in the northern Finniss project area, showing the close proximity of BP33, Carlton and Grants deposits.
Biggins added, “We are confident in having the project shovel-ready in early 2020 so that we are well-positioned to be Australia’s next lithium producer as market conditions improve.”
Approvals and financing talks
Approvals and financing discussions are continuing while further offtake negotiations are progressing, with the plan for the project to be development ready in 2020.
The NTEPA assessment process has been successfully completed by Core, which paves the way for the project’s Mining Management Plan (MMP) at the Grants open pit operation.
Core is working with the NT Department of Primary Industry and Resources (NTDPIR) to secure final approval to enable mining and construction of the processing facility at Grants.
The lithium market has suffered from spodumene oversupply during 2019.
However, medium and longer-term lithium demand is expected to exceed supply of lithium for lithium batteries to support global growth in electric vehicle and renewable energy storage.