Lithium focussed Core Exploration (ASX: CXO) has uncovered further high grade and wide lithium mineralisation at its Sandras prospect, which is part of the company’s recently acquired Bynoe lithium project in the Northern Territory.
Reverse circulation drilling at Sandras intersected 27m grading 1.45% lithium, with a 7m interval grading 2.13% lithium; 38m grading 1.08% lithium; and 19m grading 1.28% lithium.
According to Core, the assays confirm spodumene grades increase with depth at Sandras.
The company plans to assess its drilling results from Sandras in 2018 to determine additional drilling targets for the prospect.
Sandras is part of Core’s Bynoe project, which Core secured from Liontown Resources in mid-September. Bynoe is adjacent to Core’s flagship Finniss project and contains extension to the BP33 pegmatite.
Initial drilling at Bynoe focussed on these extensions with assay results in late November returning 54m grading 1.42 lithium and 46m grading 1.51% lithium.
The projects are about 70km from Darwin by sealed road, and once operational, Core intends to truck its ore to the city’s port and ship it to China. In preparation, the company inked an agreement with the port to export up to 1 million tonnes per annum of direct shipping ore (DSO) or up to 250tpa of lithium concentrate.
As part of its strategy to fast-track Finniss, Core inked an offtake agreement with China’s Ya Hua International Investment and Development company in early December, which includes a US$20 million prepayment and de-risks the project.
The binding offtake agreement for 1mtpa DSO accounts for more than 50% of Core’s anticipated life-of-mine production from Finniss’s primary deposit Grants.
However, at this stage, Core is still evaluating whether it will produce a DSO or process it further to create a lithium concentrate.
The offtake agreement with Ya Hua enables can be altered to accommodate a lithium concentrate instead.
Under Core’s strategy, Grants will be the first deposit exploited and has a current resource of 1.8mt grading 1.5% lithium.
Current exploration will focus on BP33 until the end of December, with rigs deployed to Grants in January to carry out resource upgrade drilling.
Additionally, Core anticipates assays results to flow through from drilling across Bynoe until the end of March.
Shares in Core remained steady at A$0.077 in early morning trade.