Diversified explorer Zenith Minerals (ASX: ZNC) has commenced a large-scale, dual-purpose drilling program to test lithium and gold targets at its Split Rocks project in Western Australia.
The program is part of a larger initiative under the Zenith Lithium Alliance to secure lithium spodumene feedstock for joint venture partner EV Metals Group.
An initial program of 14 reverse circulation holes will test the Rio, Dulcie West, Estrela and British Hills East pegmatite targets, while project-wide geochemical screening will systematically sample prospective portions of the 660 square kilometre land package.
Zenith is also assessing Split Rocks’ gold potential and has received final assays from a 150-hole aircore drilling program completed late last year.
Initial 4m composite assays intersected near surface mineralisation with best gold grades of 1.3 grams per tonne, 1.2g/t and 1g/t.
A further 17 shallow intersections graded more than 0.4g/t gold.
The results are in addition to assays reported in January, which include 12m at 2.9g/t gold; 8m at 1.8g/t gold, including 4m at 3.1g/t gold; and 8m at 1.7g/t gold, including 4m at 2.8g/t gold.
Drilling of the gold targets will follow the lithium program with the aim of defining and extending mineralisation in the bedrock at the Dulcie Far North, Dulcie Laterite Pit, Dulcie North, Estrela, Scott’s Grey and Water Bore prospects.
Keen to start
Zenith chief executive officer Mick Clifford said the company was keen for the lithium-gold program to kick-start the 2022 exploration season.
“The initial program of lithium pegmatite drilling will allow us to get a decent picture of the thickness and mineralogy of four very large pegmatite bodies that we know little about … they have only been identified by shallow rotary airblast or aircore drilling [and] that has not been an effective test,” he said.
“The gold drilling will assess the grade and continuity of mineralisation particularly in the fresh rock and across multiple targets where we have had significant success over the past 12 months in our aircore programs.”
Zenith has been systematically exploring the emerging Split Rocks area for its lithium potential.
The district is host to the Mt Holland (Earl Grey) lithium deposit owned by Wesfarmers (ASX: WES) and Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (SQM).
Mt Holland contains a resource of 189 million tonnes at 1.5% lithium oxide – comprising 66Mt at 1.58% lithium oxide measured; 106Mt at 1.52% lithium oxide indicated; and 17Mt at 1.11% lithium oxide inferred.
In addition to the known pegmatites, several lithium surface anomalies generated by Zenith through limited soil and auger sampling in the central west and northern portions of the project area require drill testing.
Large areas considered prospective around granite margins are also yet to be screened by surface sampling which has commenced onsite.