European Lithium Ltd (ASX:EUR) (FRA:PF8) (VIE:ELI) is progressing towards its goal of becoming one of the first battery-grade lithium producers in Europe and is poised to begin the last stage of exploration required in conjunction with its definitive feasibility study (DFS) at the Wolfsberg Lithium Project in Austria.
The company’s surface drilling program will consist of two phases, with Phase 1 expected to commence in mid-February for five shallow holes at 300 metres in depth.
Phase 2 of the surface drilling exploration program will include the drilling of 21 deep diamond holes in Zone 1 to a total elevation of 1,055 metres above sea level (the holes are between 320-510 metres in depth with a maximum 8,340 metres of total drilling).
The second phase will also cover optional trenching of 300 metres to a depth of 3-4 metres at the nose of the anticline to better understand the geology and transition from Zone 1 to Zone 2.
The company expects the drilling will upgrade the inferred resources of 4.68 million tonnes at the project to the JORC compliant measured and indicated category.
“Optimised drilling program”
European Lithium chief executive officer Dietrich Wanke said: “It is important to continue the resource extension with an optimised drilling program.
“We anticipate results will increase the measured/indicated and inferred JORC compliant resource base to be developed into JORC compliant reserves during the complex DFS work.
“We are committed to our ambitious aim to become one of the first battery-grade lithium producer in Europe, despite the problems caused by restrictions arising from the pandemic, at the Project and around the world.”
The company anticipates mobilisation of the drilling contractor and drilling rigs to site, and for work to commence once all European Union-wide COVID-19 restrictions are cleared and permissions granted.
Wolfsberg Project Lithium Deposit area of investigation with drill holes of Phases 1 and 2
Resource increase and upgrade
The drilling program, and increased and upgraded resource is anticipated by the end of the third quarter.
The company aims to increase and upgrade the JORC code (2012) compliant resource, which is currently 6.3 million tonnes measured and indicated at 1.17% lithium oxide to 10.98 million tonnes measured and indicated at 1.00% lithium oxide.
This includes the upgrade of 4.98 million tonnes inferred at 0.78% lithium oxide into indicated or measured - in turn adding to the total to be converted into JORC reserves during the DFS.
It is expected that the drilling will also demonstrate the extension of the JORC inferred resource at northwest in Zone 1 (northern flank of the anticline) and increase the total tonnes above the current 10.98 million tonnes.
“Important element of the DFS”
After exploration is complete, the company expects total resources of 10.98 million tonnes to be included in the mine planning process within the DFS at the Wolfsberg Project.
European Lithium chairman Tony Sage said: “The company is pleased to see this important element of the DFS recommence after the disruptions of last year.
“We are assured at completion of the drilling program, the company can increase resources at Wolfsberg, adding further strength to the Project’s economics.
“I’m confident that we are on track to fulfil our aim to become one of the first battery-grade lithium producers in Europe.”
The company aims to complete the drilling program in the third quarter - subject to unforeseeable circumstances and any potential limiting restrictions caused by unforeseeable COVID-19 rules in Austria and the European Union hampering operations.