First-pass drilling at the Waratah Well project in Western Australia’s Murchison region has confirmed the presence of widespread lithium-bearing pegmatites over a 4 kilometre zone for owners Zenith Minerals (ASX: ZNC) and EV Metals Group.
The companies are partners in the recently-formed Zenith lithium joint venture and Waratah Well is the first target to be drilled under the agreement, which will allow Saudi Arabian company EV to earn a 60% interest in any lithium rights by sole funding the completion of a feasibility study within 24 months.
Seven holes of a wide-spaced reconnaissance reverse circulation program intersected up to 21 cumulative metres of pegmatite, with individual pegmatites measuring up to 11m in thickness.
Four holes hit strongly anomalous lithium over a 4km-long zone, with two north-western holes returning 12m at 0.30% lithium oxide and 8m at 0.22% lithium oxide.
Mineralisation was determined to be a mixture of holmquistite and trilithionite in altered wall rocks close to large-scale lithium pegmatite deposits at Greenbushes and Mt Marion.
Drilling and surface exploration to date confirms a large lithium-caesium-tantalum (LCT) pegmatite field to be present at Waratah Well, with the four most north-western drill holes believed to contain the highest lithium content.
The area is now a priority for follow-up drilling with fences of shallow reverse circulation holes planned to test for pegmatites under the soil cover.
The program is expected to commence within the coming weeks, upon completion of heritage clearances.
Zenith chief executive officer Mick Clifford said while drilling at Waratah Well had thrown up some significant lithium results, the mineralogy was unexpected.
“Although neither holmquistite or trilithionite were the target mineral species, [our results] do indicate there is abundant lithium within the Waratah Well pegmatites, so much so that lithium mineralisation is pervading out into the basalt host rock and depositing as holmquistite,” he said.
“Drilling has given some significant technical insights into [the project’s] lithium potential and we will now target the areas further north and east of the most lithium-enriched holes where the pegmatites disappear under soil cover.”