Junior battery metals explorer Liontown Resources (ASX: LTR) has announced a maiden lithium-tantalum resource of 21.2 million tonnes at its high-grade Kathleen Valley lithium project in the eastern goldfields of Western Australia.
The measured, indicated and inferred estimate encompasses the Kathleen’s Corner and Mt Mann pegmatite swarms and comprises 21.2mt at 1.4% lithium oxide and 170 parts per million tantalum pentoxide, at a 0.5% lithium oxide cut-off grade.
With 75% of the resource falling into the measured or indicated categories, Liontown has confirmed the project to be a “significant new, high-grade lithium discovery on granted mining leases in a Tier-1 mining jurisdiction”.
The mineralisation, which is fresh from surface and hosted by spodumene-bearing pegmatites, remains open along strike and depth and offers “outstanding potential” for further growth with additional drilling.
Liontown will now proceed to the next stage of development at Kathleen Valley, commencing discussions with potential offtake partners and customers before progressing towards metallurgical results and the start of the project’s scoping study.
The drilling database used to define the Kathleen Valley maiden resource included 147 reverse circulation drill holes for a total of 18,671 metres and 8111 assays; and nine diamond drill holes for 1610m and 582 assays.
Preliminary metallurgical test work completed on RC chips in January indicated the dominant lithium mineral to be spodumene and most likely suited to open pit mining and conventional processing techniques.
Metallurgical testwork on diamond core samples is still in progress to assess processing options, the purity of concentrate and the presence of any potentially-deleterious components.
Results from those tests are expected later this month.
Liontown is also advancing exploration at its Buldania project 600 kilometres east of Perth, which is emerging as a “substantial lithium discovery”.
Assays received in March from a 36-hole, 3339m drilling program revealed the presence of shallow, ore-grade lithium mineralisation over widths of more than 50m and individual grades of up to 2.5% lithium oxide at the Anna prospect.
The company is currently conducting 5000m of follow-up drilling at Anna, with resource definition drilling planned before year end.
The Buldania project sits in a similar geological setting to the Mt Marion lithium project operated by Mineral Resources (ASX: MIN) and the Bald Hill lithium mine owned by Tawana Resources (ASX: TAW), believed to host resources of 76mt and 26mt respectively.
At midday, shares in Liontown Resources were steady at $0.032.