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Askari Metals adds veteran geologist to African campaign

Askari Metals’ new Chief Exploration and Project Manager (Africa) Cliff Fitzhenry. Credit: File

Askari Metals is continuing to accelerate its lithium exploration efforts in Namibia with the appointment of seasoned African specialist, Cliff Fitzhenry to the new role of Chief Exploration and Project Manager (Africa). A veteran geologist, Mr Fitzhenry will lead in-country exploration with a diamond program due to commence shortly at the company’s flagship Uis project which has revealed multiple lithium-bearing pegmatites more than 100m wide.

Mr Fitzhenry brings to Askari 19 years exploration experience – principally in Africa - having kick-started his career with Anglo Platinum on the Bushveld Complex in South Africa. Subsequently Mr Fitzhenry worked on mining and exploration projects throughout the continent including Central African Republic, Liberia, Madagascar, South Africa, Mozambique, Nigeria, Mauritania, Tanzania and Malawi.

His most recent position was as the senior geologist for Sovereign Metals Limited where he delivered a maiden mineral resource estimate and subsequent resource upgrades of the Kasiya rutile-graphite project in Malawi.

Mr Fitzhenry’s ongoing work developing the Kasiya project eventually saw it scale the heights to be ranked the world’s largest natural rutile deposit and second largest flake graphite deposit at 1.8 billion tonnes at 1.0 per cent rutile and 1.4 per cent graphite respectively.

Cliff joins Askari at a very exciting time as we plan to mobilise a diamond drill rig to the Uis lithium project and commence the first ever diamond drilling campaign. Cliff will be responsible for fast-tracking exploration and development at Uis and we are very pleased to have someone with Cliff’s wealth of experience join our team. Askari Metals executive director Gino D’Anna

In May, Askari Metals expanded the footprint of its Uis lithium project after completing the acquisition of the remaining 10 per cent of tenement EPL 7345.

The company took full ownership of the tenement which covers about 114 square kilometres after it picked up the remaining 10 per cent stake in the private company which had owned the ground.

Phase-two drilling at the project revealed new lithium-bearing pegmatites with widths of up to 112 metres following a campaign of 55 drill holes for 3367m.

Planning is now underway for a follow-up diamond drilling program to complete testing of the pegmatites, which were unveiled during the company’s first round of exploration.

The project sits less than 5km from the township of Uis and less than 2.5km from Andrada’s operating lithium-tin-tantalum mine in west-central Namibia. Andrada’s Uis mine has resources of 81 million tonnes at 0.73 per cent lithium oxide, 0.15 per cent tin and 0.14 per cent rubidium. The total mine resource currently sits at 1.45 million tonnes lithium carbonate equivalent, 120,000 tonnes of tin metal and 109,400 tonnes of rubidium with substantial tantalum.

Having been battered around the ears for the past six months, it appears the lithium bulls may finally be stirring again with the price of the battery metal climbing off the canvas up 67 per cent in May after hitting a 12-month low in late April.

Askari will be hoping the good news continues to flow from the sector as Mr Fitzhenry and his band of explorers look to unlock the treasures that may well be nestled alongside those spodumene crystals and 100m wide pegmatites recently uncovered at Uis.

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