Drilling at Sayona Mining’s (ASX: SYA) flagship wholly-owned Authier lithium project in Canada has returned thick, high-grade lithium, which the company believes could boost the project’s existing resource and reserve.
Better intersections from the phase three diamond drilling campaign included 25m grading 1.48% lithium from 79m, including two higher-grade 6m intervals containing 1.77% lithium and 1.78% lithium, respectively.
Another 6m intersection graded 1.26% lithium and contained a 4m interval with 1.52% lithium from a 97.4m depth.
An infill hole hit thicker mineralisation at the east zone of the main pegmatite, intersecting 33m grading 1.18% lithium from 160m, including 10m grading 1.25% lithium and 3m grading 1.75% lithium.
According to Sayona, mineralisation at the main Authier pegmatite remains open in all directions.
The phase three program comprised 19-holes for 2,170m, with results to be used in upgraded resource and reserve estimates and incorporated in the definitive feasibility study and metallurgical testing.
Sayona anticipates the definitive feasibility study will be finished in the current quarter.
Pilot plant program on Authier lithium
In mid-February, Sayona reported it had begun its pilot plant program to de-risk the Authier project.
The program will assist Sayona in finalising its flowsheet and processing parameters to develop a 6% lithium concentrate from its Authier ore.
Ontario-based SGS Canada is running the program, which will also produce information regarding requisite equipment sizes and plant design.
This study will also be included in the current definitive feasibility study.
Authier lithium project
Authier is about 45km from Val d’Or in Quebec in an established mining district.
Sayona is fast-tracking Authier into production to take advantage of the lithium market fundamentals where supply is tight and demand mounting.
The company aims to bring Authier online by late 2019 or early 2020 via a simple, low cost open pit mining operation.
Sayona is looking at an initial operating life out of Authier of 17 years, with the pre-feasibility study estimating a A$65 million capital expenditure and annual earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortisation of A$38 million based on a lithium price of US$614 per tonne.
Authier has a current JORC-complaint reserve of 11.6 million tonnes grading 1.02% lithium for 102,725t of contained lithium.
The resource is 18.1mt grading 1.02% lithium for 186,939t of lithium.
Shares in Sayona lifted almost 4% in late morning trade to A$0.054.