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High-grade Pilbara lithium in Liatam, Novo Resources sights

The Liatam Mining-Novo Resources Quartz Hill JV ground near Nullagine features abundant lithium-rich pegmatites. Credit: File

Perth-based Liatam Mining has today confirmed it will spend $6 million this year in a new hunt for lithium at the Quartz Hill joint venture (JV) project it shares with Novo Resources (ASX: NVO) in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

Exploration to date has extended the known hard rock lithium mineralisation at the JV’s Lepidolite Fields prospect, with sampling results reading as high as 2.71 per cent lithium oxide and 828ppm caesium oxide.

Other results include 2.37, 2.14, 1.98, 1.64 and 1.24 per cent lithium oxide, with respective tantalum oxide content in parts per million including 303, 615, 277, 651 and 722ppm. Additionally, respective caesium oxide results include 883, 1195, 882, 2390 and 1722ppm.

Novo says a second pegmatite swarm exhibiting lithium-caesium-tantalum (LCT) fertility characteristics has been identified by mapping and sampling at Quartz Hill West and at The Gap. The three best results obtained were 2.45 per cent lithium oxide and 589ppm caesium oxide, 2.23 per cent lithium oxide and 1290ppm caesium oxide, and 1.22 per cent lithium oxide, 181ppm tantalum oxide and 780ppm caesium oxide.

Activities to date have validated the potential of the area. Novo’s ongoing exposure to future exploration and discovery success on battery metals projects via JV agreements is a core component of delivering long-term shareholder value.
Novo Resources executive co-chairman Mike Spreadborough

The company has 20 per cent of the Quartz Hill JV that is focused on searching for battery minerals, while Liatam holds the remaining 80 per cent and is the on-ground operator. The partnership was formalised in December last year, after Liatam exceeded the required earn-in expenditure.

The JV consists of five granted exploration licences and 18 prospecting licences that enclose a ground area of about 702 square kilometres centred about 10km south of and extending for about 58km east of the town of Nullagine. A small part of the tenement area extends for about 6km west of the Great Northern Highway.

Exploration kicked off at Quartz Hill in April last year and work since has involved mapping, sampling and analysis of 2068 soil samples and 3181 rock samples, in addition to 25 petrological samples. The area has been confirmed area to be prospective for LCT-style, pegmatite-hosted mineralisation, with geological mapping and surface sampling identifying many pegmatite swarms in two key areas along strike up to several kilometres.

The Quartz Hill West, The Gap and Lepidolite Fields prospects all lie within the string of prospecting licenses about 10km south of Nullagine and feature abundant lithium-rich pegmatites. Immediate further work is proposed to include helicopter-supported heritage and ethnographic surveys in the middle of the year and reconnaissance field mapping and sampling that will include infill work and a regional soil-sampling program to locate possible obscured or buried pegmatites.

The helicopter will also assist airborne reconnaissance and exploration ground access to more remote areas of Quartz Hill.

Liatam has about 9000m of reverse-circulation (RC) drilling planned for mid-year to test the Lepidolite Fields pegmatite swarm that extends for about 6km of strike within a host corridor about 800m wide. It says it has already identified a drilling contractor.

The high potential of the area has been demonstrated by significant lithium analyses and is further supported by strong LCT-indicator elements, while the substantial tenement area leaves ample scope for prospect expansion.

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