Tawana Resources (ASX: TAW) has reported construction activities are nearing completion, while mining ramps up and the company remains on schedule for its first lithium concentrate production from its 50%-owned Bald Hill project this quarter.
Processing plant construction has advanced with steelwork installation and other necessary parts almost complete or commissioned.
“The transformation on site since our last update on 28 November has been amazing, with construction pushing through the Christmas period,” Tawana managing director Mark Calderwood said.
“We are now entering the home straight with commissioning expected to commence within two months,” he added.
According to the company, more than 400,000 cubic metres has been mined to date, with activities ramping up to 16,000 cubic metres per day.
Meanwhile, the company’s grade control drilling was ongoing.
Comprising 774 square kilometres in WA’s eastern goldfields, Bald Hill’s owners Tawana and Alliance Mineral Assets (SGX: AMA) are funded to production with existing lithium offtake agreements in place.
Under the offtake agreement with Burwill Holdings, Tawana was prepaid A$12.5 million, with the agreement covering a five-year period and setting lithium prices for the first two years at US$880 per tonne free on board from Esperance for 6% lithium.
No offtake agreement has been made for the tantalum product but Tawana has advised that negotiations were progressing.
Bald Hill has an indicated and inferred mineral resource of 223,000t of contained lithium and 5.1 million pounds of tantalum. The company claims the resource only comprises 25% of the known pegmatites in the project’s south.
Early last month, extensional step out drilling at Bald Hill returned up to 4.27% lithium below the starter pit.
Tawana claims the project is “significantly underexplored” and drilling has been planned for 2018.
Mr Calderwood said the drilling campaign would also be investigating newly discovered pegmatites.
Tawana’s share price rose almost 5% in early morning trade to sit at A$0.53.