London Stock Exchange-listed mining and exploration company Premier African Minerals Chief Executive Officer Mr George Roach said following observations from preliminary drilling at its Zulu lithium project it expects to substantially add to the existing resource estimate.
Roach said his company is yet to reach an agreement regarding the future funding of the remaining Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) programme.
He said Premier was still in negotiations with interest parties considering a direct investment in the project in exchange for a minority stake but was yet to reach a definitive agreement.
“We continue to make good progress and visible mineralised intersections in core from drilling in the main zone continue to add confidence to the original 20.1 million tonnes inferred resource estimate already declared on 6 June 2017. At the same time, preliminary drilling in the first two-step out zones has now been completed and based on visible intersections and observations by our geological team at the site, and subject to assay and modelling, we do expect that this will add substantially to the existing resource estimate. The step-out zones drilled to date form extensions to the main ore body and had not formed part of the original resource estimate.
“Our sample preparation team at Zulu has been strengthened with a second core cutting and management team and the commissioning of a second primary laboratory crusher. It is worth noting that whilst the act of analysing a prepared sample using the LIBS system is a matter of seconds, the accuracy, repeatability and confidence in that analysis is entirely dependent on the quality of the sample prepared. Considerable time, effort and expertise goes into this, over and above the care and effort associated with drilling through particularly abrasive wide intersections of pegmatite.
‘’On the one hand, this is frustratingly slow, but on the other, it is indicative of widely dispersed pegmatite and wide intersections of potentially mineralised material at Zulu. It should also be noted that Premier only drills core and whilst this is considerably slower and more expensive than other drilling methods such as reverse circulation, the benefits include the ability to better define the ore body, better identify mineralisation and mineralogy, deal with geotechnical requirements needed to support mine and pit design, and generally allow other aspects of the Definitive Feasibility Study (“DFS”) to proceed simultaneously with the drilling programme.
“We have submitted sample material from the first 5 boreholes to independent laboratories for definitive assay and will be using these results to specifically validate and calibrate our LIBS system which will facilitate a better turn-around as we progress. I do not have an indication of the time that the laboratory will require to process the 159 samples submitted but I will update as soon as I do.
“At the same time, exploration activities in the wider Exclusive Prospecting Area (“EPO”) area continue and preliminary results of spectral mapping and interpretation are generating anomalous areas of further potential interest for ground follow up. Premier is not restricted to any specific mineral within this EPO area, that is known to include historic gold workings.
“Upward price pressure on chemical-grade spodumene for lithium hydroxide production is pervasive and strongly supports our efforts to optimise timelines to completion of our DFS, scheduled for Q3 2022.
“Premier is in negotiations with interested parties that have indicated an intention to consider a direct investment such that the complete DFS program may be fully funded in return for the acquisition of a minority interest in the Zulu project. Premier continues to consider all alternatives and options that may add value and accelerate the development of the project including further direct funding. No agreement has been reached at this time in regard to future funding for the balance of the DFS programme.” Roach said.