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Lithium rising from Venus Metals gold play in Mid West

Venus Metals has been buoyed by early lithium soil geochemical results in WA’s Mid West. Credit: File

Venus Metals’ (ASX: VMC) hunt for lithium at its Penny East project in Western Australia’s Mid West region – within ground initially secured for gold and base metals prospectivity – has revealed encouraging soil geochemical results.

The company says it identified an anomalous area measuring about 800m by 600m, while a second 800m-wide anomaly remains open to the north. Further soil sampling and shallow drilling is planned in the short term, in conjunction with follow-up work at the Youanmi Deep South prospect that sits 20km to the north-east.

A peak of 182 parts per million lithium oxide was returned from Venus’ soil sampling campaign at Penny East where the 800m-by-600m anomalous area going more than 110ppm was identified.

Earlier mapping suggested sparse outcrop is underlain by granite. However, management’s interpretation of recent aeromagnetic data suggests that a series of local lithium-bearing pegmatites/granites are adjacent to a sheared intrusive body.

The shear zones lie along an extensive corridor about 8km to the east of the regionally-significant Youanmi Fault Zone. The company considers them to be splays from the regional fault and believes they are particularly prospective for pegmatite emplacement.

It says the geological setting may be similar to that at the Earl Grey deposit at Mount Holland where lithium mineral domains are structurally controlled by shears.

The recent success in identifying high-grade lithium in our maiden drilling at the Deep South prospect has provided validation in our geological modelling which suggests the Youanmi Lithium Project may host a district-scale system of lithium-rich pegmatites. We eagerly anticipate drilling and field work at both Deep South and Penny East to further advance these exciting discoveries.
Venus Metals managing director Matthew Hogan

Recent drilling at Youanmi Deep South intersected 24m at 1.71 per cent lithium oxide, including 14m at 2.54 per cent. Management particularly noted the occurrence of coarse-grained petalite in addition to spodumene within outcropping pegmatite.

One outcrop sample returned 4.2 per cent lithium oxide and drilling has since confirmed widespread petalite mineralisation.

Petalite is somewhat rare with generally higher lithium grades, having fewer contaminants than spodumene. It is known to occur at the major Arcadia and Bikita lithium projects in Zimbabwe – both world-class lithium deposits – and at Covalent Lithium’s Mount Holland operation about 150km south of Southern Cross that holds 189 million tonnes at 1.5 per cent lithium oxide.

Hogan said that in addition to previous announcements by long-term joint venture (JV) partner Rox Resources (ASX: RXL), there were now reported lithium anomalies or mineralisation through some 30km of strike within the Youanmi Fault Zone.

Last year, Venus and Rox simplified their ownership interests. Rox handed over a share package to Venus in return for gold rights at various Youanmi JVs. Venus then distributed half of the Rox shares to its shareholders and retained the other half.

Rox now wholly-owns the Youanmi Gold Mine, which has an indicated resource of 2.3 million ounces at 4.4 grams per tonne gold, while Venus is now its top shareholder with 18 per cent.

Within the Youanmi tenement group, Venus retains full control of the Pincher Well zinc-copper prospect. Studies to progress the Youanmi vanadium project that has 134.7 million tonnes at 0.34 per cent vanadium pentoxide are also continuing.

Venus had not yet closed out on Youanmi Deep South before Penny East was identified and now the reporting of good grades for a highly-sought commodity within an under-explored area should help the company’s cause – as should a geological model that is firming up and the simplified JV arrangements with Rox.

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