After a third phase of rock sampling, junior explorer Askari Metals has identified a lithium anomaly in a south-eastern zone of the company’s Barrow Creek lithium project in the Northern Territory’s highly prospective Arunta pegmatite region.
Three areas of anomaly were identified along a 5km long pegmatite corridor, revealing up to 456 parts per million lithium oxide. The program tested exposed pegmatites, with 69 rock samples collected over a 6.2km strike length.
The results indicate a correlation between the battery metal and several of its associated indicator minerals including tin, tantalum, niobium, silver, molybdenum and antimony.
Follow-up work is being planned for the newly identified anomaly in addition to further sampling and mapping at the project’s south-central area, scheduled for early August.
The company expects further work across the broad project to include RC drilling and potentially air core or rotary air blast drilling to test below the region’s shallow cover material.
Askari will kick off its inaugural RC drilling program at the north-western and south-eastern segments of the project after approval from the NT regulator.
The company expects the drill bit to start turning before the end of the year.
The company’s latest lithium success can be attributed to an encouraging rock chip, going 817ppm lithium oxide, collected during a pre-acquisition audit in the project’s north-west zone earlier this year.
Since then, Askari expanded its mineralized footprint in Barrow Creek’s north-west region before stepping into further lithium mineralization in its south-east segment.
The lithium-bearing pegmatites identified in the third phase at the south-eastern area accentuate this project’s potential, which the company is methodically uncovering. The fact that these results stem from an initial reconnaissance visit and not a detailed mapping and sampling program is considered very positive.
The project covers 278 square kilometers in the south of the NT and is surrounded by holdings of the renowned company Core Lithium and the recently listed Lithium Plus Minerals.
Interestingly, Geoscience Australia says that Western Australia hosts about 99 per cent of the nation’s lithium resources and ranks the NT a distant second with about half a per cent.
The statement could be due for a revision soon as Core is looking to upgrade its 14.72-million-tonne Finniss lithium resource grading 1.32 per cent lithium oxide in the NT’s Bynoe pegmatite field.
Lithium prospectivity of the pegmatite field in Bynoe was first considered by the NT geological survey in 1995 when it documented the field’s historical production of tin and tantalum — two elements associated with lithium.
No significant trace of the battery metal was encountered, however as the drilling and mining were shallow, until Core decided to dig deep in late 2016, discovering grades over 1.5 per cent lithium oxide below 50m downhole.
Similar to Bynoe, discoveries of tin and tantalum have been documented within the Barrow Creek pegmatite field, containing Askari’s project, yet no historical exploration has considered its lithium potential.
While NT is overshadowed on lithium by its western neighbor state, it will be interesting to see how things pan out as curious explorers such as Askari begin to probe deeper with the drill bit.
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