Tawana Resources (ASX: TAW) has reported a 47% rise in contained lithium at its Ball Hill lithium and tantalum project in Western Australia’s eastern goldfields.
Tawana Resources managing director Mark Calderwood said the 25 million tonnes of lithium and tantalum represented a “solid uplift” to the project.
The updated indicated and inferred resource increased Tawana Resources’ Ball Hill lithium to 223,300 contained tonnes at a 0.5% cut off. Tantalum resources grew to 5.1 million pounds.
“The additional indicated resources are likely to result in additional reserves based on scoping level pit optimisations completed in June to focus the resource conversion drilling,” Mr Calderwood added.
According to the company, the updated resources includes only 25% of the known pegmatites in the project’s south.
“Due to the fact the resource remains open in several areas, I look forward to further step out drilling planned for the new year,” Mr Calderwood said.
“Additionally, the recently discovered high grade lithium and tantalum pegmatite located below the starter pit, has not been included in the resource due to insufficient drilling.”
Ball Hill development underway, final prepayment received for offtake
The Ball Hill project is subject to a joint venture between Alliance Mineral Assets and Tawana Resources. Tawana Resources holds a 50% in the project’s lithium rights and is earning a 50% stake in the existing infrastructure and tantalum rights.
A pre-feasibility study was completed in July, which confirmed the viability a 1.2 million tonne per annum lithium processing facility adjacent to the existing tantalum processing plant.
Work on the lithium processing plant is advancing with initial site works nearing completion.
“The rapid progress being made at the project is very encouraging and gives us great confidence that the Ball Hill Mine will be in production in the quarter ending 31 March 2018,” Mr Calderwood said.
He added that the company expected to award several key contracts this month for mining, crushing, and power and fuel supply.
First shipment of lithium concentrate is targeted for March 2018.
As part of the lithium concentrate offtake arrangement with Burwill Holdings, Tawana Resources received its third prepayment of $4.37 million for payments totalling $12.5 million.
Under the offtake agreement, Burwill Holdings will receive a fixed price of US$880 per tonne (free on board) for lithium concentrate purchased between March 2018 and December 2019.