Diversified explorer Zenith Minerals (ASX: ZNC) has re-started a drilling campaign at the Waratah Well lithium project in Western Australia, which it holds in joint venture with EV Metals Group.
An initial phase of seven wide-spaced reverse circulation holes was completed in March to test a zone of outcropping lithium and tantalum-rich pegmatite dykes.
That program confirmed the presence of widespread lithium-bearing pegmatites over a 4 kilometre zone, which is open to the north and east under soil cover.
Individual holes intersected up to 21 cumulative metres of pegmatite, with individual pegmatites measuring up to 11m in thickness.
Four holes uncovered strongly anomalous lithium, with two of them returning 12m at 0.30% lithium oxide and 8m at 0.22% lithium oxide.
Mineralisation at all four holes is believed to be a mixture of holmquistite and trilithionite, and not the target mineral spodumene; however, they confirm the presence of fertile lithium-caesium-tantalum (LCT).
The area north and east of the lithium-mineralised holes is soil covered with no outcrop and is now a priority for testing during the re-started program over an approximate three week period.
Zenith confirmed it would be chasing blind lithium spodumene mineralisation beneath tantalum-bearing dykes.
It is a geological architecture similar to the Bald Hills lithium mine (formerly owned by now-defunct Tawana Resources) and the Kathleen Valley project (Liontown Resources, ASX: LTR) where relatively narrow surface pegmatite dykes merge at depth to form a thick, flat-lying lithium spodumene-rich sill.
EV Metals alliance
Zenith is transitioning into a pure lithium company to refocus on critical metals required to manufacture rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and renewable energy storage.
It is backed by an alliance established in January with Saudi Arabian EV Metals Group.
Under the terms of the alliance agreement, EV Metals may earn 60% interest in the lithium rights at Zenith’s wholly-owned Waratah Well and Split Rocks projects by sole funding the completion of a feasibility study within 24 months.
EV Metals will also sole fund expenditure to a decision to mine, after which both companies will be required to fund future joint venture expenditure in line with their equity share.
EV Metals must arrange all financing for the development, construction and commissioning of any future mine including Zenith’s share, while Zenith must repay the financing from sales of its share of minerals produced.
The alliance agreement includes a non-exclusive right for either company to bring additional projects to the joint venture to explore for lithium and other critical metals.