Canadian lithium explorer Sayona Mining (ASX: SYA) has achieved a 12% increase to contained lithium at its flagship Authier lithium project near Val-d’Or in Quebec.
The updated resource for Authier was calculated after a phase three drilling program and now sits at 20.46 million tonnes grading 1.02% lithium.
Contained lithium in the resource upgrade has also grown from 186,939 tonnes to 209,476t.
Additionally, 86% of the new resource has been reclassified into measured and indicated categories.
Phase three drilling comprised 19-holes for 2,170m and returned notable intersections such as 25m grading 1.48% lithium from 79m, including two higher-grade 6m intervals with 1.77% lithium and 1.78% lithium.
An infill hole hit thick mineralisation at the eastern zone of the Authier Main pegmatite and intersected 33m grading 1.18% lithium from 160m.
The new resource will be included in the definitive feasibility study, which is underway at the project and pencilled for completion by the end of June.
Sayona will publish an upgrade JORC compliant reserve for Authier in conjunction with the completed definitive feasibility study.
The current reserve is 11.6mt grading 1.02% lithium for 102,725t of contained lithium.
Advancing Authier to production
Sayona is fast-tracking Authier and hopes to bring the project into production by the end of 2019 or early 2020.
The company is looking at a simple, low cost, open pit mining operation with an initial 17-year life.
A pre-feasibility study estimated capital expenditure of A$65 million to generate annual earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortisation of A$38 million, based on a US$614 per tonne lithium price.
Authier encompasses 674.89 hectares and is made up of 20 mineral claims.
The project includes two main pegmatite systems: Authier Main and Authier North.
Authier Main is more than 1km in strike and has an average 25m thickness, while Authier North has a 500m strike length and average width of 7m.
According to Sayona both pegmatites remain open in all directions.
Shares in Sayona closed the day 8.93% higher at A$0.061.