Western Australian lithium is building interest in line with strengthening prices, with Lithium Australia (LIT) set to commence exploration near Ravensthorpe next week.
The WA explorer announced this morning it would soon undertake geological mapping and sampling of their single exploration licence, a 70 square kilometre area covering a 20 kilometre structural trend seen as highly prospective for lithium pegmatites, located west of the Mt Cattlin Lithium mine.
LIT owns rights to a large proportion of the Cocanarup pegmatite field, which was first recorded in the same phase of exploration activity that revealed the Mt Cattlin pegmatites in the 1900s.
Mt Cattlin is soon to begin production after a three-year long hiatus linked to inability to compete with the cheap South American market.
The present lithium market looks ready to support further investment, due to tightening supplies of spodumene concentrate into mainland China.
Unlike Mt Cattlin, the LIT resource has so far had disappointing results for tantalus, but historic mapping and sampling has given LIT confidence that the mapped pegmatites have the potential to host large tonnages of lithium mineralisation.
Two outcrops at the southern end of the tenement have held the company’s interest, named Quarry Pegmatite and Horseshoe Pegmatite
LIT managing director Adrian Griffin said the Ravensthorpe project was an unprecedented opportunity for the company to advance a fully owned project.
“The deposits comprising the Ravensthorpe project were originally explored in the 1980s with a focus on tantalum but results did not warrant ongoing development for that commodity,” he said.
“There was little incentive at the time to follow up the lithium potential, but he seemingly insatiable demand, created by the battery industry has spurred our renewed interest in the area, an interest clearly shared by General Mining and Galaxy.”
Griffin said LIT had spent time assembling a database from historical results which had provided the company with “immense encouragement” about the presence of lithium micas in the pegmatites, and the potential size of mineral bodies and their suitability for open cast mining.
“The planned mapping and sampling, which will commence next week, is the first step in an evaluation which we anticipate will lead to drilling programs to investigate the mineralisation at depth.”