Core Exploration (ASX: CXO) has revealed a 51% upgrade in BP33 lithium resources at its Finniss lithium project in the Northern Territory, ahead of the planned completion of its definitive feasibility study this month.
The lithium-focused company today announced the mineral resource at the BP33 lithium deposit has now been classified as indicated and inferred and grown to 2.15 million tonnes grading at 1.5% lithium oxide.
This upgrade boosts the global mineral resource for the Finniss project from 4.3Mt at 1.4% lithium oxide up to 5Mt at 1.5% lithium oxide.
According to Core, the definition of this additional mining inventory is expected to result in a longer mine life at the Finniss project.
“The excellent results from BP33 confirm our expectations that the Finniss lithium project will have extremely robust economics,” Core managing director Stephen Biggins said.
The company is planning additional drilling at the BP33 deposit in the “near future”, targeting both an increase in resource confidence and size.
Meanwhile, a maiden resource estimate for the Sandras deposit is expected to add to the Finniss global resources later this month.
Last week, Core reported drilling assays from the prospect with highlights including a 24m intersection grading at 1.02% lithium oxide from 177m, including 2m at 2.04% lithium oxide from 182m.
Definitive feasibility study
Core said its definitive feasibility study for the development of a spodumene concentrate operation at the Finniss project remains on track for completion in late November.
The company is aiming to commence construction and mining in mid-2019 with first production of high-quality spodumene concentrate anticipated later that year.
Building on the strong outcomes highlighted in the pre-feasibility study, released in June, the definitive feasibility study is factoring in substantially expanded mineral resources and a longer mine life, optimised recoveries and increased product grade, as well as committed offtake and customer prepayment finance.
According to Core, the project’s high-grade resources, low processing costs and cheap haulage (as it is 25km from the Port of Darwin, Australia’s closest port to Asia) make it “potentially one of the least capital-intensive and most cost-competitive spodumene operations in Australia”.
In addition to its established offtake and prepayment deals, the company said it is in the process of negotiating and finalising further agreements “with some of Asia’s largest lithium producers that, at a high level, cover the project’s modest capex requirements and potentially fully finance the company into production in 2019”.
By early afternoon trade, Core’s share price was up 4.17% to $0.05.