Advanced Australian lithium developer Core Lithium (ASX: CXO) has announced that the new Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) for its wholly owned Finniss lithium project in the Northern Territory has increased by more than 50% to 15Mt @ 1.3% Li2O.
52% increase to new Finniss Lithium Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) to 15Mt at 1.3% Li2O;
Measured and Indicated Mineral Resource increased by 150% to 7.62Mt @ 1.41% Li2O to add significant potential to increase mine-life for the newly approved Finniss Lithium Project;
New MRE is expected to provide a material increase in the Ore Reserve classification when finalised later in June;
Mining studies targeting a 7-10 year mine-life are expected to be completed in June and will be used to update the Project Feasibility Study;
Further offtake negotiations and financing plans accelerating as markets continue to improve;
Additional reserves and resources can be added to the Finniss Project with further drilling in 2020;
Core at the front of the line of new global lithium production.
The Measured and Indicated Resource categories have increased by 150% to 7.62Mt @ 1.41% Li2O. More than half of the MRE is now in the higher confidence Measured and Indicated categories.
The increased proportion of Measured and Indicated Resources positions Core well for further conversion of these new Mineral Resources to Ore Reserves over the coming weeks.
SRK Consulting was commissioned by Core to conduct an independent review of the MRE’s at BP33 and Carlton. SRK has concluded that the MRE’s are suitable representations of these deposits, and there are no material issues that impact the total tonnes and grades estimated.
The new MRE will now be used to update the mine plan for the Finniss Project.
Mine planning studies targeting a 7-10 year mine-life, are expected to show that highgrade continuous mineralisation is amenable to efficient underground mining methods; after initial development of the Grants deposit as an open pit mine.
The updated mine plan is expected to be completed later this month and will be used to update the Feasibility Study for the Finniss Project. An expected increase in mine life and improvement in economic outcomes should be attractive to potential offtake and financing partners.
All the additional Mineral Resources are located within a 3km radius and will enable transport of the material to an approved central processing facility at Grants, which received approval from the NT Government in April 2020.
The high lithium grade of the MRE together with the coarse crystalline nature of the spodumene pegmatites in this field enables high recovery of lithium by simple, gravity dense media separation (DMS) process. Effective DMS processing eliminates the need for flotation and translates into significantly lower capex, lower processing costs and a reduction in start-up risk.
The high-quality lithium concentrate produced by the central DMS processing plant at Grants will then be transported to nearby Darwin Port on high-quality sealed roads, licenced for quad-roadtrains.
The Mineral Resource estimation process has also highlighted opportunities to extend and expand the MRE with further resource drilling later in 2020. Similarly, mine planning has defined numerous opportunities to potentially add additional Ore Reserves, and as a result, further increase revenue over the extended life of the proposed project.
Core’s Managing Director, Stephen Biggins, commented: “Core’s announcement today is further validation of the enormous potential that our flagship Finniss Lithium Project holds.
“We are very pleased to have reached a global Mineral Resource of 15Mt @ 1.3% Li2O for the Project and we are excited to see the life of mine significantly improve as a result of this, when mining studies are completed later this month,” he said.
“We continue to be encouraged by the ongoing confidence in lithium demand and project support, as recently demonstrated in both our successful capital raising and in the securing of our first Europe-based offtake partner, notwithstanding the current challenging environment as we progress towards construction, commissioning and production,” Mr Biggins said.