Altura Mining (ASX: AJM) has unearthed further thick and high-grade lithium intersections at its advanced Altura lithium project in Western Australia’s Pilbara where first lithium concentrate sales are imminent and an expansion study is underway.
These latest results are from infill drilling at the project’s Southern Ridge deposit that comprised 44-holes for 4,654m.
Southern Ridge adjoins the project’s flagship Pilgangoora deposit and notable intersections from the program were 21m grading 2.19% lithium from 2m, 43m grading 1.65% lithium from 21m, and 27m grading 1.62% lithium from 90m.
“This portion of our 2018 exploration program covering the Southern Ridge continues to deliver impressive results for depth, grade and thickness,” Altura managing director James Brown said.
He added the results will be integrated into the stage two expansion study.
These latest results complement those released in mid-March with earlier assays from infill drilling at Southern Ridge returning a 59m intersection grading 1.34% lithium.
Other previous assays included 41m grading 1.20% lithium, 21m grading 1.22% lithium and 19m grading 2.05% lithium.
Altura lithium project
Resources for Altura currently total 44mt grading 1% lithium for 441,000t of contained lithium.
A reserve estimate for the project sits at 34.2mt grading 1.04% lithium for 357,000t of the mineral.
An initial definitive feasibility study was completed on Altura in September 2016. It estimated stage one production of 220,000 tonnes per annum of 6% lithium concentrate to generate about 30,000tpa of lithium carbonate equivalent.
Previous metallurgical testing on Altura ore produced 99.97% pure lithium.
Another definitive feasibility study is underway for a stage two expansion, which will double production to 440,000tpa. The study is due to wind up this month with an investment decision on the expansion anticipated by the end of the current quarter.
Altura expects the stage two development could be completed within 17 months of the investment decision.
The company has already received “strong interest” from its current partners regarding offtake from the expanded operation.
In early afternoon trade, shares in Altura were up almost 2% to A$0.377.