Tawana Resources and Alliance Mineral Assets, the joint venture owners of the Bald Hill mine, have boosted the reserve at the Western Australian lithium-tantalum operation.
The mine has received a 105 per cent reserve upgrade, reflecting pit design changes from increases to indicated resources following infill drilling in the second half of 2017.
Bald Hill has a mine life of nine years, at the current processing rate of 1.2Mt/y, with the upgraded reserve.
The JV partners are also reviewing options for a significant expansion in processing capacity and concentrate production at Bald Hill.
This strategy is backed by a large quantity of inferred resources awaiting infill drilling, strong market demand and superior economics for increased throughput rates.
Tawana managing director Mark Calderwood said the increased reserves, along with the potential for additional reserves resulting from infill drilling of inferred material, provided strong support for significantly increasing processing throughput rates.
“We are actively reviewing the options to best increase throughput in the existing plant and/or add an additional DMS circuit and fines circuit. There has been strong interest from a number of parties to obtain concentrate supply from Bald Hill,” Calderwood said.
Bald Hill, which has been in production since mid-March, now includes lithium resources of 26Mt at 1 per cent Li2O, and a lithium reserve of 11.3Mt at 1 per cent Li2O and 160ppm Ta2O5.
The infill drilling aimed at expanding the operation will focus on 8.8Mt of additional inferred resources reported to the preferred indicated/inferred Whittle shell.