Out of 47 holes drilled at the Waratah Well lithium project in Western Australia, Zenith Minerals (ASX: ZNC) is reporting that 22 of them have intersected thick, shallow dipping pegmatites.
Waratah is part Zenith’s joint venture with Saudi Arabian metals group EVM Metals Group whereby lithium from WA projects will be fed to a new battery chemicals plant in the Middle Eastern kingdom.
Pegmatites up to 24m thick in some holes have produced “significant” lithium results.
These include 7m at 0.67% lithium oxide, including 3m at 1.31%, in fresh rock at the base of a 24m pegmatite. Zenith said the upper portion of the pegmatite is strongly weathered and the lithium possible depleted.
Another hole returned 22m at 0.22% lithium oxide, including 1m at 0.61%; the upper portion of this pegmatite was also weathered.
Now on the trail of spodumene
Zenith managing director Michael Clifford said the shallow slimline reverse circulation drilling successfully achieved its aim of looking for pegmatites under soil cover.
The minerology is also very positive.
“The lithium host mineral change to petalite is also highly encouraging as this minerals chemistry and conditions for formation are much closer to the lithium spodumene than the lithium micas,” he added.
Those micas were intersected further southwest.
“We are now gaining some clear insights into zoning at Waratah Well and now plan to chase these new thick pegmatites well into fresh rock looking for our target lithium metal — spodumene,” Mr Clifford explained.
Partners planning to expand battery metals search
Under the deal signed in January, Zenith and EVM will focus initially on the Split Rocks and Waratah Well projects in WA.
But the new joint venture goes much deeper: the two parties have agreed to jointly assess new opportunities here for other metal needed for electric vehicles.
EVM subscribed for 20 million Zenith shares at $0.30 per share; the $6 million raised will be used to find additional lithium opportunities as well as near-term advancement of its gold and base metals projects.
EVM was, at that stage, completing front-end engineering and design of its first production trains for 50,000 tonnes per annum of lithium hydroxide monohydrate, which will require 330,000tpa of spodumene concentrate at a grade of 6% lithium oxide.
The lithium plant construction is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2023, with the second half commissioning in the latter half of 2024.