Commodity diversification is proving to be a reliable insurance policy amongst junior explorers, as resources can be diverted from those assets that are exposed to turbulence and redirected towards a product that is thriving.
This was a key theme discussed in our coverage of Mali Lithium (ASX: MLL) last week; today we’re looking at aspiring miner Zenith Minerals (ASX: ZNC), which has just kicked off a 2,000m reverse circulation drilling program at its Split Rocks gold, lithium and cobalt project in the Forrestania greenstone belt of Western Australia.
This emerging lithium district plays host to Kidman Resources-SQM’s massive Mt Holland lithium operation.
The drilling program, comprising 13 holes to depths of 150 metres, will take place beneath a large laterite rich gold cap called the Dulcie heap leach gold project, which is currently being operated by a private entity.
The Dulcie project lies on a tenement that forms a part of the Split Rocks project.
The drilling program has been designed to follow up on historic high-grade gold results and to test a target zone where the large, mineralised shallow dipping fault structures intersect the preferred banded iron formation (BIF) host rocks.
“Historical exploration reports on the area of the Dulcie leases highlight that high-grade gold mineralisation is predominantly hosted by moderately west dipping BIF units,” Zenith said in a statement this week.
“Most historic drill holes have failed to adequately test Zenith’s high-priority BIF target zone, where the shallow, wide, west dipping mineralised structures intersect the north-south moderately west dipping preferred host rock BIF units.
“Most of the historic exploration drill holes have been collared to test the main laterite gold zone and are too far east of the target BIF host unit to be an effective test.
“In addition, most historic drill holes have only focused on the near surface laterite rich gold zone with only 38 holes of a total of 1,777 being drilled deeper than 75m. The average drill hole depth for the project area is only 19.7m.”
In addition to the high-grade gold targets, several of the historic exploration drill holes intersected pegmatite but previous drilling has never analysed for lithium.
“Encouragingly, surface sampling by Zenith returned high lithium values up to 0.39% Li2O from a small pegmatite outcropping beneath the surface laterite,” Zenith said.
“The Company’s proposed gold drill holes will also provide an initial first pass assessment of selected lithium targets in the area.”
Zenith Minerals shares finished the week on a high, closing 1.6 per cent higher to 6.2 cents per share on Friday.