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Askari Metals Pilbara licence grant paves way for new lithium hunt

Updated: Mar 26

Askari Metals is kicking off its Pilbara hunt for vital lithium. Credit: File

Askari Metals says its first exploration licence has been granted at the company’s Yarrie lithium project, just 100km east/north-east of Pilbara Minerals’ giant 214.2 million tonne Pilgangoora lithium resource.

The entire project area comprises nine contiguous exploration licences which enclose a total of 1711 sq kms across prospective ground adjacent to and along strike from other significant hard rock pegmatite-hosted lithium deposits.

Askari acquired the project in 2022 and has been steadily going through the approvals process. It describes the project as a “prize asset” on account of its large area, under-explored potential and prime geological address.

The granting of the first exploration licence at Yarrie is a major achievement for the Company, paving the way for initial exploration programs to commence at this highly anticipated project. We expect further exploration licences to be granted in due course. The Yarrie Lithium Project is a prize asset in our Australian portfolio and covers a large area in the highly prospective Pilbara region, spanning 1,711 sq km across one contiguous project area. Askari Metals managing director Gino D’Anna

The company says since the applications, it has maintained continuous communications with all relevant stakeholders, including Native Title parties and local pastoralists and has executed numerous agreements and deeds concerning heritage and access, along with other licenses and approvals.

Its efforts are now paying off and the company now sees itself at the starting gates ready to kick off its field exploration in earnest, which it says it will undertake in conjunction with work, including imminent drilling, on its Namibian Uis lithium project.

Askari undertook preliminary phase-1 field work last year to identify initial targets, with a combination of stream-sediment, soil and rock-chip sampling to chase up anomalies defined in its Aster hyperspectral remote sensing surveys.

The combined work identified several pegmatites across the project and 11 lithium and lithium-caesium-tantalum (LCT) style pathfinder mineralised target areas, with five considered to be high–priority that management says will be the focus of its phase-2 exploration campaign, slated to commence as soon as possible.

LCT style mineralisation is a term used to define a suite of minerals associated with extreme levels of fractional crystallisation of S-type granites which are derived from melting of metasedimentary rocks in continental collision zones.

Along with their distinctive physical characteristics and mineral assemblages, elevated concentrations of pathfinder elements in LCT style pegmatites can include lithium, tantalum, niobium, caesium and rubidium and indicate a greater level of prospectivity for these and other valuable metals.

Potentially mineralised pegmatites often occur in areas featuring greenstone Archaean greenstone rock suites adjacent to granites. However, pegmatites may occur some distance from the surface contact between the two rock types.

The company says its Yarrie project is contiguous with Octava Minerals’ Talga lithium project where Octava recently chalked up significant LCT signatures and a large target zone of about 100 sq km with potential to host LCT type pegmatites.

Additionally, some useful gold grades up to 5.45 g/t gold were identified in soil samples at Talga which defined a gold anomalous zone measuring about 400m-by-40m adjacent to the Razorback gold prospect.

Notably, Talga is situated just 10km north of Global Lithium’s Archer lithium deposit, where Global has focused on exploring a swarm of spodumene bearing pegmatites over a 3km by 1km zone. Spodumene is a key ore mineral of lithium.

Global’s 2022 drilling program at Archer added 288 drillholes for a total of 45,528m of RC drilling to the resource database.

The drilling increased the overall tonnage and an indicated resource was defined in an area of infill drilling, with the company reporting an upgraded (JORC 2012) mineral resource of 18.0 million tonnes at 1.0 per cent lithium oxide, a 71 per cent increase over its June 2020 maiden estimate of 10.5Mt at 1.0 per cent lithium oxide.

Askari has managed to get its foot onto a good address which is remarkably underexplored considering the frenetic exploration taking place within the surrounding 100km radius.

With one licence granted and another eight in the pipeline in this classy neighbourhood, Askari looks like it has plenty to go on with in the new year.

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