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Multiple lithium hits for Future Battery Minerals

Updated: Apr 19

Future Battery Minerals’ drill core showing visible spodumene. Credit: File

Future Battery Minerals has hit multiple near-surface spodumene-bearing pegmatites with widths of up to 23.8m as part of its latest diamond drilling campaign at its Kangaroo Hills project in Western Australia’s Goldfields region.

Management says visual spodumene was identified from core as part of a five-hole diamond drilling program that targeted an area of high-grade lithium uncovered during previous exploration.

While the company waits on assay results from its diamond drilling, in addition to 23 recently-drilled RC holes, it plans to use its cores for early-stage metallurgical testwork and for ongoing mineralogical assessment and characterisation studies.

The company’s earlier results from the main targets of its campaign include a wide 27m hit going 1.32 per cent lithium oxide from 64m, including a 4m section at an impressive 2.5 per cent lithium oxide from 80m. Additional results include 19m grading 1.03 per cent lithium oxide from 42m, 16m at 1.09 per cent lithium oxide from 11m and a 12m hit going 1.02 per cent lithium oxide from just 8m.

Given the early exploration success at Kangaroo Hills, FBM moved quickly to diamond drilling in order to understand the potential of this significant discovery. The diamond drilling core samples give our geological team the ability to observe the pegmatite mineralisation with a level of detail not possible in RC drill chips and allows for the accurate logging of the Li mineral spodumene, which has been identified as the dominant lithium mineral in fresh rock. Future Battery Minerals technical director Robin Cox

Clearly keen to build on its momentum, the company has already kicked off the planning and permitting process for a new phase-three RC drilling program as it looks for strike extensions while it also probes other regional targets.

The Kangaroo Hills lithium project is an 80-20 joint venture between Future and Lodestar Resources and sits about 17km south of Coolgardie. Phase-two exploration at the site kicked off early last month, with 2500m of RC drilling and 500m of diamond drilling planned.

Formerly known as Auroch Minerals before a name change in March this year, Future is building an impressive portfolio with a focus on minerals critical to present and future battery needs.

The company’s flagship Saints nickel sulphide project sits 70km north of Kalgoorlie and hosts a high-grade komatiite nickel sulphide deposit. Last year, Future completed resource drilling and mineral resource estimates to upgrade to a JORC 2012-compliant 911,000 tonnes at 2.3 per cent nickel, 0.17 per cent copper and 0.07 per cent cobalt for 21,000 tonnes of nickel, 1500 tonnes of copper and 600 tonnes of cobalt.

The resource is mainly in the indicated category, with a scoping study into the viability of an underground mining operation set to lead to an ongoing pre-feasibility study and further exploration at the site.

Saints comprises two mining leases covering an area of about 20 square kilometres of prospective Archaean greenstone belt geology within the Eastern Goldfields province of the Yilgarn Craton. The operation sits in the same sequence of rocks as the historical Scotia nickel mine that produced 30,800 tonnes of contained nickel at 2.2 per cent nickel before closing in 1977.

Future’s portfolio also includes an 80 per cent share in the Nepean nickel project, with Lodestar controlling the remaining 20 per cent. The site near Coolgardie contains the historic high-grade Nepean nickel sulphide mine that produced more than a million tonnes of ore between 1970 and 1987 for 32,202 tonnes of nickel metal at an average recovered grade of 2.99 per cent.

In March, the company also completed its maiden drill program at its 80 per cent-owned Nevada lithium project in the United States. It has identified five key prospects, with its Traction, San Antone, Heller, Lone Mountain and Western Flats targets within 90sq km of tenements.

Future also holds 100 per cent of highly-prospective exploration ground at the Leinster nickel project in WA, in addition to 90 per cent interests in the Arden, Bonaventura and Torrens base metals projects in South Australia. The company is continuing to explore these projects with the aim of discovering significant mineralisation.

Lithium has a spring in its step today after analysts from investment bank Citi tipped the lithium market will rally up to 40 per cent this year. The analysis points to the price of the commodity in China rallying to $28,000 a tonne in the past fortnight after plunging 70 per cent in the previous five months to a low of $22,000 a tonne.

In a note to clients, Citi recommended they buy lithium. Future will be hoping some of the love washes its way as it prepares to get back on the rig.

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