Emerging lithium producer Altura Mining (ASX: AJM) has revealed further wide and high-grade lithium results from infill drilling at its namesake project in Western Australia’s Pilbara, ahead of first concentrate sales next quarter.
The 41-hole infill campaign was carried out at the Southern Ridge prospect, which adjoins the Pilgangoora deposit, to increase the project’s ore reserves and resources.
Initial assays from the Southern Ridge program returned an intersection up to 59m thick grading 1.34% lithium.
Other notable intersections were 41m grading 1.20% lithium, 21m grading 1.22% lithium and 19m grading 2.05% lithium.
Current resources for the entire Altura project sit at 44 million tonnes grading 1% lithium for 441,000t of contained metal. The reserve estimate is 34.2mt grading 1.04% lithium for 357,000t of lithium.
Commenting on the results Altura managing director James Brown said the results for Southern Ridge so far “showed great promise”.
“Although the geology appears more complex, we believe it will allow us to further expand our reserve base and bodes well for the expansion studies that are nearing completion,” Mr Brown added.
Altura reported in late February it was on track for commissioning its processing plant this month. First concentrate sales are anticipated by the end of the next quarter.
Metallurgical testing on the project’s lithium achieved 99.97% purity on a 25kg spodumene sample.
Under an initial feasibility study, about 215,000tpa of spodumene concentrate is estimated to be produced for a life of mine net revenue of A$1.56 billion.
Annually, this equates to about A$73.9 million for 11 years.
A second definitive feasibility study is underway that is evaluating the potential of doubling the processing capacity to about 440,000tpa. This investigation is due to be finished next month.
The Altura project covers about 394 hectares in a known lithium region.
Shares in Altura rose 4% in early afternoon trade to A$0.39.