Pilbara Minerals reports 109Mt resource increase at Pilgangoora lithium project

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By Imelda Cotton - 
Pilbara Minerals ASX PLS resource increase Pilgangoora lithium project

Australian lithium producer Pilbara Minerals (ASX: PLS) has announced a 109 million tonne boost to the resource at its wholly-owned Pilgangoora operation in Western Australia.

The company reported a 36% increase in the project’s total measured, indicated and inferred resource to 413.8 million tonnes grading 1.15% lithium oxide, 112 parts per million tantalum pentoxide and 0.53% ferric oxide, for 4.75Mt of lithium oxide and 101.8 million pounds of tantalum pentoxide.

There has been a 64% increase in the total measured and indicated resource to 337.3Mt grading 1.17% lithium oxide, 103ppm tantalum pentoxide and 0.53% ferric oxide, for 3.94Mt of lithium oxide and 80.9 million pounds of tantalum pentoxide.

Overall confidence is believed to have been enhanced with 82% of the project’s resource now classified as measured and indicated.

The updated mineral resource will underpin an ore reserves update due for release in the September quarter.

World’s largest operation

Managing director Dale Henderson said the new resource reinforces Pilgangoora’s position as one of the world’s largest hard-rock lithium operations.

“This upgrade is consistent with a strategy to grow our operating base and maximise value by achieving full potential from this world-class operation,” he said.

“We have added 109Mt of resources at a direct exploration cost of only 13 cents per tonne which is an outstanding result.”

Drilling campaign

The resource upgrade includes results from a 153-hole exploration and development drilling campaign for a total 46,904 metres to test down-dip extensions of key domains in the Central and Eastern deposits.

The campaign started in November and comprised 39,627m of reverse circulation drilling and 7,277m of diamond drilling.

It aimed to upgrade inferred and unclassified resources to the indicated category within the unconstrained pit shell in the near mine areas, and drill test the most prospective exploration targets within the Pilgangoora area.

Significant exploration upside remains within the project boundaries, with mineralisation remaining open along strike and at depth to the immediate north west of the Central and East pits.

Follow-up drilling has been planned for the new year to further test targets in this area.