Core Exploration (ASX: CXO) has boosted the lithium resource for its Grants deposit, while reporting a maiden resource for the BP33 target will be released this month, with both deposits part of the company’s 100%-owned Finniss project in the Northern Territory.
The updated Grants resource now sits at 2 million tonnes grading 1.5% lithium for 30,000t of contained lithium. Prior to the upgrade, the Grants resource was 1.8mt grading 1.5% lithium.
According to Core, this upgrade positions Grants as one of the known highest-grade spodumene deposits in Australia.
The company also claims with more than half of the resource classified as indicated, its confidence in the project’s economic viability has been enhanced.
A pre-feasibility into developing Grants is due next month, with Core aiming to begin mining next year.
The pre-feasibility study is evaluating an open pit operation, with metallurgical test work on drill core samples underway.
BP33 lithium resource close
In addition to Grants, “many lithium-rich pegmatites” have been identified across the 400 square kilometre Finniss project including BP33.
Only last month, Core pulled up one the NT’s thickest lithium drill intersections found to-date from BP33.
Overall, the intercept was 75m wide and graded 1.68% lithium. The intersection included two higher grade intervals of 55m at 1.97% lithium and 23m at 2.07% lithium.
Core believes the BP33 pegmatite remains open along strike to the south in the direction of the BP32 and BP32W prospects.
Core is targeting mining at Grants to begin by late 2019. To lift its resources across the project and add to anticipated production at Grants, Core has planned “aggressive drilling campaigns”, which will begin “shortly”.
The company has also locked-in an offtake agreement with Ya Hua International Investment and Development, which accounts for more than half of the anticipated production from Grants.
Under the current pre-feasibility study, Core is investigating whether to process the ore to produce a lithium concentrate or to sell its as direct shipping ore (DSO).
The agreement with Ya Hua retains the flexibility for Ya Hua to purchase DSO or a lithium concentrate.
As part of Core’s fast-track strategy, it has secured an agreement with the Darwin Port to ship either 1mtpa of DSO or 250,00tpa of lithium concentrate.
By mid-afternoon trade, Core’s share price was up almost 2% to A$0.053.