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Pegmatite hits propel Askari Metals lithium play in Namibia

Reverse-circulation drill rig on Askari’s Namibian lithium project. Credit: File

Askari Metals has intersected several 100m-wide pegmatites with multiple zones of lithium-bearing minerals in second-phase drilling at its Uis lithium project in Namibia.

While assay results are pending, the company isn’t slowing its exploration efforts, with its next round of drilling – including the project’s first diamond drill holes – slated to begin in just weeks.

Askari’s 3367m, 55-drillhole phase-two reverse-circulation (RC) drilling program on EPL 7345, which is one of two tenements at the Uis project, successfully logged 180 intervals containing visible spodumene across 25 drillholes.

This included “extraordinary” intersections of wide pegmatites with visible mineralisation, including an interpreted 112m-wide pegmatite. That section forms part of a continuous mineralised pegmatite, interpreted to be at least 780m long and which outcrops between 36m and 106m wide at the surface.

Two of the holes within the 112m-wide pegmatite intersected an abundance of spodumene and polylithionite, as identified within the drill chips. Polylithionite is a dark lithium-rich mica where the spodumene mineral has oxidised to a mica state.

Drilling was designed to test pegmatites with potential economic width and visible mineralisation, including high-grade spodumene-rich lithium rock chips grading up to 3.1 per cent lithium oxide. The program also drill-tested high-grade tin, tantalum and rubidium areas.

In addition to the visible spodumene across 25 drillholes, Askari also logged 283 intervals containing visible polylithionite across 15 drillholes and lepidolite across three holes, while petalite, amblygonite and hiddenite were also logged. The company made note that not all of the exposed pegmatites identified within the tenement were drill-tested.

The lithium content of the identified minerals will be revealed with assay results from the RC drilling program expected in late July and August.

The Company has completed the second phase of drilling in EPL7345, intersecting several 100-metre-wide pegmatites with lithium-bearing minerals identified in the drill chips, and we eagerly await the assay results. We are very excited by what we have found thus far and are busy planning subsequent drill phases for the project, which will include the first diamond drilling on the tenure. Askari Metals vice president of exploration and geology Johan Lambrechts

Meanwhile, Askari is wasting no time planning its first round of diamond drilling required to test the deeper mineralisation within the pegmatites, with the diamond drill rig due to mobilise to site in the coming weeks. An ongoing mapping program is also continuing to identify future drill targets, adding to the follow-up targets already identified.

Management expects mapping of the second tenement at the project, EPL 8535, to be completed this month. The identified targets will help inform the company’s next phase of RC drilling.

With assays due in about two months and diamond drilling to start soon, there is plenty of newsflow to look forward to … and the timing couldn’t be better as lithium prices extend their recovery.

After peaking at all-time highs last December, prices of the battery material steadily declined through to April this year. Yet over the past six weeks, that trend has reversed course with lithium bouncing some 80 per cent off its recent lows.

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