Zenith Minerals (ASX: ZNC) has commenced drilling to test a large-scale lithium-caesium-tantalum (LCT) pegmatite target at the Waratah Well joint venture project in Western Australia.
Seven wide-spaced, 200-metre deep reverse circulation holes will be completed over a two-week period across a surface area measuring approximately 3km by 2km.
Extensive outcropping and highly-fractionated, prospective LCT pegmatite dykes with grades of up to 1,221 parts per million tantalum pentoxide and up to 2.09% lithium oxide are believed to extend over the project.
Waratah Well is the first project to be drilled under a lithium joint venture announced this month with EV Metals Group, whereby Zenith will retain a 40% share in Waratah’s lithium rights and EV Metals can earn the remaining 60% by sole funding the completion of a feasibility study within 24 months.
The partners are targeting blind lithium spodumene mineralisation beneath tantalum-bearing dykes, which is a geological architecture similar to that at the Bald Hills hard rock lithium mine (formerly owned by delisted Perth company Alliance Mineral Assets) and the Kathleen Valley lithium project owned by Liontown Resources (ASX: LTR).
Zenith chief executive officer Mick Clifford said drilling will go below the surface tantalum-lithium rich pegmatite dyke swarm, akin to zonation observed in other lithium deposits across WA.
Joint venture deal
Last week, Zenith said it would join forces with Saudi Arabia’s EV Metals Group to explore for lithium at the Waratah Well and Split Rocks projects.
Split Rocks is located south of Southern Cross and Waratah Well is east of Geraldton in WA.
Under the terms of the deal, EV Metals will spend a minimum $7 million on exploration over a 24-month period before being able to complete a feasibility study or voluntarily withdraw from the venture.
EV Metals will also sole fund expenditure to a decision to mine, after which the partners will fund future expenditure in line with their respective levels of equity.
With respect to mine development, EV Metals must arrange all financing, construction and commissioning including Zenith’s share.
Zenith must repay its proportionate share of the project finance including interest from the sale of its proportionate share of minerals produced.