Drilling at Zenith Minerals’ (ASX: ZNC) Split Rocks project in Western Australia has returned wide, high-grade lithium mineralisation at the Rio pegmatite target.
Rio was the first target to be drill tested as part of Zenith’s current campaign which kicked off last month, with a single line of four reverse circulation holes drilled at 200m spacings intersecting pegmatites of up to 55m thickness containing anomalous lithium levels.
One of the holes returned high-grade lithium mineralisation with a best assay of 20m grading 1% lithium oxide, including 10m at 1.7%.
Drilling was designed to follow-up on historical exploration which intersected a flat-lying pegmatite up to 65m thick with strongly anomalous lithium, located 400m to the northwest of Rio.
X-ray diffraction analysis confirmed the mineralisation to be eucryptite, a lithium aluminium silicate mineral.
Zenith’s reverse circulation rig is currently drilling for gold at Split Rocks and will soon be moved back to lithium drilling, with permits now received for a further 11 holes across three targets.
A major expansion of the Rio campaign is being planned, with permit applications submitted for an additional 50 holes.
Joint venture project
Split Rocks is a large-scale, lithium-prospective project being developed under a joint venture between Zenith Minerals and EV Metals Group.
The deal gives EV Metals the opportunity to earn a 60% interest in the lithium rights at Split Rocks and the Waratah Well project by sole funding a minimum $7 million on exploration through to the completion of a feasibility study within 24 months.
Once the study is complete, EV Metals must continue to sole fund expenditure commitments through to a decision to mine, after which the parties will be required to finance the projects according to their respective equity holdings.
Zenith is planning to demerge its non-battery minerals projects, including base metals and gold assets, into one or more new companies for listing on the ASX.
The move is expected to help the company focus its time at Split Rocks and Waratah Well.
Zenith managing director Mick Clifford said the company was encouraged by the lithium results at Split Rocks, which sits along trend from the Mt Holland (Earl Grey) lithium deposit being developed by Wesfarmers (ASX: WES) and Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (SQM).
“These results confirm the highly-prospective nature of our very large landholdings next to Mt Holland,” he said.
“With the financial backing of EV Metals and our combined technical resources, we look forward to rapidly unlocking the potential of the Split Rocks project.”