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Askari Metals hits more lithium, charges on with Namibian exploration

Updated: Mar 26

Field work at Askari Metals Uis lithium project in Namibia. Credit: File.

Askari Metals is charging ahead with exploration at its Uis lithium project in the Erongo Region of central-west Namibia, with multiple pegmatites in sight that look like they are begging to see a drill bit.

The lack of vegetation on its ground has allowed Askari to image all outcropping pegmatites with high-resolution aerial data as it eagerly awaits the return of phase one drilling assays in the next two weeks to see just how much lithium they contain.

Management says the acquisition and processing of the high-definition aerial imagery is now complete across the project.

The company will now analyse the hyperspectral component of the images to map minerals in the outcrops in a method widely used in remote outcropping pegmatite exploration. The hyperspectral analysis allows the identification of minerals based on their characteristic light absorption and reflection.

Askari says the hyperspectral data has helped it to identify three pegmatite targets so far, the DP, Kestrel and K9 pegmatites, which will be investigated with a systematic trenching campaign along with soil and stream sampling ahead of further planned drilling,

Askari says it will also carry out more hyperspectral remote sensing in addition to expanding the footprint of its phase two RC drill program into untouched areas which show as perspective for lithium bearing pegmatites on hyperspectral data.

Planning is at an advanced stage for multiple exploration programs at Uis which includes regional stream sediment and soil geochemical sampling as well as a systematic trenching campaign which will test the most promising pegmatite targets identified to date (including, in some cases, previously undrilled pegmatites with visible spodumene. Askari Metals chief exploration and Africa project manager Cliff Fitzhenry.

Both of the permits covering the Uis project have been the focus of previous exploration by Askari in the form of rock chip sampling, field mapping and RC drilling.

In one permit, phase one drilling comprised of 59 holes for 3017m which was followed up with a second campaign of 55 holes for 3367m. In the other permit, phase one drilling was completed with 59 drill holes for a total of 3523m.

The company says it expects to receive assays from additional rock chip samples and RC holes in the next two weeks, setting up a solid period of imminent newsflow for the $15m market capped lithium hopeful. Pegmatites which exhibit anomalous results will be added to the upcoming exploration campaign.

To date, some of the rock chip samples have returned solid assays including 3.32 per cent LI20, 3.19 per cent, 3.14 per cent, 2.94 per cent, 2.11 per cent, 1.8 per cent, 1.64 per cent and 1.1 per cent lithium oxide.

Previous drill results have also hinted at a mineralised system with RC 4m at 0.4 per cent lithium oxide including a 2m section grading 0.56 per cent, 4m at 0.39 per cent lithium oxide including 1m at 0.57 per cent and 3m at 0.38 per cent lithium oxide including a 1m slice at 0.53per cent.

Other RC hits include 8m at 0.34 per cent lithium oxide including 2m at 0.47 per cent, 5m at 0.32 per cent lithium oxide including 3m grading 0.44 per cent and 4m going 0.33 per cent lithium oxide including a 1m slice at 0.44 per cent.

Askari says its Namibian ground is well defined by regional magnetic and geochemical data which suggests it is prospective over an area approximately 15km long and 5km wide.

Interestingly, management says all anomalous rock chip and drill assays to date are located within this prospective corridor which also hosts Andrada Mining’s flagship Uis mine about 15km along strike to the northeast. Uis boasts an 81 million tonne resource going 0.73 per cent lithium oxide, 0.15 per cent tin and 86ppm tantalum.

Andrada Mining also has its Spodumene Hill B1 and C1 deposits about 5km along strike from Askari’s ground which have returned a recent drill hit of 14.52m at 1.38per cent lithium oxide, 285 ppm tantalum and 0.131 per cent tin from 15.48m, including 5m at 2.32 per cent lithium oxide from 18m.

Another 2.5m hit came in at just over at 2.04 per cent lithium oxide from 25.5m.

The frustrating wait for assays, an unfortunate industry pain point, is being addressed by Askari through the development of its own X-ray fluorescence and laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy lab on site.

Both analysis methods provide a mineral breakdown of the rock sample in almost real-time and Askari hopes to use this data to fast track its exploration decisions.

Askari’s Uis lithium project covers an area of 308.12 square kilometres and is about 230km northeast of the deepwater port of Walvis Bay, providing a potential export route for any future mined product. The company says the project area is accessible by sealed roads all year round, a rare luxury in the African exploration space.

The next couple of weeks will be telling for Askari as the assays from rock chip sampling and phase one drilling flow in. It seems well placed for an aggressive exploration push with a swam of drill targets already identified by remote imagery that look like they need to see the drill bit – and soon.

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