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Askari Metals awaits 2000 sample results after big lithium trenching campaign

Grey gold: Askari Metals’ Kestrel pegmatite reveals exposed spodumene and lepidolite mineralization in an old artisanal pit. Credit: File

Askari Metals (ASX: AS2) is preparing for a flood of results from a major trenching campaign after submitting 2000 samples for analysis at its Namibian Uis lithium project. The company says it has now completed mapping and sampling of priority pegmatites on its north-easternmost exploration permit at Uis where it targeted four key pegmatites with 135 trenches for a total of 7269m of trenching. It is now working to generate additional targets.

The four priority targets are designated OP, PS, DP and K9 and comprise part of a string of targets in Askari’s licence running off to the south-west along the same strike for about 12km, including the old C1 and B1 targets – all centred within the same north/north-east trend of Askari’s well-defined “corridor of interest”.

Our successful mapping and channel sampling has delivered better than expected results. Further success was reported following mapping and sampling at the Kestrel target on EPL 8535, which has revealed a significant pegmatite body averaging 24m wide over a strike length of 1.4km. Visible spodumene, lepidolite and petalite mineralisation was observed during the mapping and rock chip assays are expected back imminently. Planning is at an advanced stage for further multi-stream exploration programs at Uis , which will feed into a Phase 1 trenching program on EPL 8535 and a follow-up Phase 2 trenching program on EPL 7345.
Askari Metals chief exploration and project manager (Africa) Mr Cliff Fitzhenry

Notably, the corridor extends beyond Askari’s northernmost permit into the adjacent Uis tin project operated by Andrada Mining, just 4km east of the OP target in the extreme north-east corner of Askari’s permit area.

Andrada’s Uis orebody comprises five major clusters of pegmatites across the length of its mining operation and the project contains an estimated mineral resource of 81 million tonnes at a grade of 0.15 per cent tin, 0.73 per cent lithium oxide and 86ppm tantalum and possesses significant by-product potential for lithium and tantalum.

The company considers its OP target to be a significant pegmatite body and has subjected it to a determined assault with a campaign of 44 trenches over 40 and 80m spacings, for a total of 5451m of trenching.

Askari has also re-mapped the OP target and found it to be more extensive than originally thought, averaging 10m thick along about 2km of strike and blowing out along a 350m stretch to average about 21m thick with a maximum width of 26m in the south-west part of the trend.

Management says the OP target also contains several smaller pegmatite bodies which are interpreted to be bifurcating offshoots from the main body.

Systematic trenching along the PS pegmatite target on a 40m grid spacing delivered a total of 14 trenches for 272m. The pegmatite had been previously subjected to limited rock chip sampling yielding up to 3.05 per cent lithium oxide.

The company’s Phase-1 drilling campaign on the permit area involved five reverse circulation (RC) holes with results confirming the presence of lithium including 2m at 0.35 per cent lithium oxide, 2m at 0.32 per cent lithium oxide and 1m at 0.45 per cent lithium oxide.

Systematic trenching of the DP pegmatite target on a 40m trench spacing was completed over the main pegmatite with several opportunistic, wide-spaced trenches testing other nearby pegmatites.

The DP target ended up being tested by a total of 39 trenches for a total of 749m. Previous rock chip sampling produced assays including 1.92 per cent and 1.12 per cent lithium oxide.

A total of 11 RC holes were drilled into the DP target as part of the Phase-1 RC campaign on the permit area with results including intercepts of 4m at 0.37 per cent lithium oxide and 1m going 0.72 per cent lithium oxide.

Askari says mapping of its recently discovered south-western K9 target, 6km south-west of OP, shows it to extend over a 2km strike and revealed fresh occurrences of the lithium mineral, spodumene, along most of the trench.

A systematic trenching campaign was completed over the K9 target with 38 trenches at 40m spacings along the entire strike, for a total of 797m.

The company collected 199 one metre long channel samples across K9 which has not previously been sampled. Significantly, K9 sits north-east along strike from the recently defined Spodumene Hill discovery (previously referred to as B1 and C1 targets) owned by Andrada Mining.

The company also says it recently sampled and mapped its Kestrel target in the southern permit area in detail, revealing the pegmatite to be bigger than initially thought, with an estimated 24m average width over a mapped strike extent of 1.4km.

It says some old artisanal workings on the pegmatite show visible lepidolite, petalite and spodumene present, all of which indicate the lithium prospectivity of the ground.

It says several rock chip samples were taken with results expected back soon and it expects to hit that target with its planned Phase-1 trenching program in the southern permit soon.

Additional work on the project includes re-evaluation of imagery from remote sensing hyperspectral scanning to produce higher resolution imagery designed to pick out all the pegmatite occurrences.

Askari says its forward work will include in-house hyperspectral image interpretation, additional detailed mapping and sampling in priority zones and regional stream and soil geochemistry.

It will also kick off a second trenching program in the northern permit area to build on existing data and the combination of the parallel trenching campaigns in addition to the 2000 outstanding samples will no doubt make for some interesting newsflow for Askari over the next few weeks.

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