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Chinese giant runs rule over Askari Metals lithium project

Updated: Mar 26

Huayou Cobalt geologists watching over Askari Metals’ channel sampling in Namibia. Credit: File

Senior geologists from giant Chinese battery raw materials supplier Huayou Cobalt have made a snap visit to Namibia to assess Askari Metals’ trenching and channel sampling progress at its Uis lithium project.

Huayou, a major supporter and key strategic and technical partner of Askari, is listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange with a market capitalisation of about US$12.8 billion (AU$19 million). The Namibian visit comes after Askari sealed a $2.5 million strategic equity investment from Huayou in May last year to help turbocharge lithium exploration at the Uis project.

Management says its Namibian crew accompanied the Huayou visitors around each of the targets being trenched. It added that significant progress has been made on the program, with 200 samples currently in the laboratory and a further 650 slated to be delivered in the coming days from the company’s four priority pegmatite targets in the north-eastern extremity of its northern licence area.

After holding several technical workshops with the team from Huayou Cobalt, it was a pleasure to welcome technical representatives from Huayou to the Uis project. Our exploration activities on site have successfully identified major lithium mineralised pegmatite targets, including our OP target, which has been trenched and mapped across a strike length of more than 1.8km with an average width of 15m on surface. Askari Metals managing director, Mr Gino D’Anna.

The company says it has completed the trench excavations and that mapping and channel sampling are now a current priority and well underway, with samples being shipped in small batches to ensure speedy laboratory turnaround.

Just two days ago, Askari revealed that analytical results from the Uis project turned up lithium oxide grades going as high as 2.91 per cent in its southern licence and 1.92 per cent in its northern licence. The results were accompanied by tantalum oxide grades of up to 339 parts per million and 757ppm from the north and south licences, respectively, accompanied by a best tin oxide hit of 0.52 per cent.

Askari says the anomalous results all fall within an elongated corridor of interest about 15km long and 5km wide, with the most anomalous section passing through both licence areas. The corridor was defined through interpretation of regional aeromagnetic data and geochemically significant potassium-rubidium ratios.

The interpretation revealed that parts of the corridor feature more highly-fractionated, lithium-caesium-tantalum (LCT)-type pegmatites, suggesting greater fertility and prospectivity for lithium and related mineralisation.

The key areas of interest within the corridor are subdivided into three relatively parallel zones with a north-easterly strike. They can be characterised as dominantly lithium-tin-tantalite, with the two north-western areas separated by a mostly tantalite zone.

Management says the first quarter of the year is shaping up as a busy period for the company while its phase-one trenching program in the northern licence area is finalised.

Mapping and channel samples are being prepared for submission to the laboratory and results are expected to soon be returned and interpreted. Concurrent stream sediment and soil sampling programs are being put into play, all in a well-orchestrated effort to tease meaningful drill targets from the stark terrain.

Askari is focussed on resuming drilling in the first quarter of the year, with emphasis on its four high-confidence pegmatite targets in the northern licence where minimal previous exploration has been undertaken. Promising trenching results will be certain to be among the first targets for the diamond drill bit.

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