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Venus unearths high-grade lithium petalite pegmatites

Updated: Apr 17

Outcrop of Venus Metals’ petalite-rich pegmatite. Inset: detail of petalite crystal. Credit: File

ASX-listed Venus Metals has uncovered two neighbouring pegmatite outcrops, with visible coarse lithium-bearing petalite running up to 4.6 per cent lithium oxide, after completing a mapping and field program at its Youanmi project in Western Australia.

Management says the program was aimed at discovering the cause of a prominent lithium soil anomaly labelled the “Deep South Target”. Results also revealed a separate assay of 3.26 per cent lithium oxide.

Venus says highly-anomalous ultrafine soil samples with up to 305 parts per million lithium were mapped to delineate north-east trending anomaly with a strike length of at least 900m. Intriguingly, the anomaly was discovered in an area not previously explored for lithium pegmatites, despite several of them visibly sticking out of the ground.

The company’s reconnaissance fieldwork included rock-chip sampling, with an additional 60 soil samples on a 200m-by-200m grid. It says the geological mapping identified thin sand cover over poorly outcropping mafic and ultramafic rocks, with granitoid rocks and associated pegmatites.

The results of the reconnaissance field visit are highly encouraging and warrant further closely spaced soil and rock sampling, with the aim to better define the general outline/dimension of the newly discovered lithium mineralisation and specifically the outcropping petalite zone. Being close to the major, crustal-scale, Youanmi Fault Zone augurs well for the discovery of a cluster of deep-seated pegmatites. Venus Metals managing director Matt Hogan

Petalite is a lithium mineral that occurs in pegmatites, along with spodumene. It has a slightly lower lithium content than spodumene, but typically has less iron impurities.

Examples of lithium petalite deposits include Dakota Minerals’ Sepeda lithium project in Portugal and the Bikita mine in Zimbabwe. Additionally, high caesium revealed by the company in rock-chip samples could also point to the presence of lithium-bearing micas.

Venus’ mapping and sampling project also outlined a second lithium anomaly that it says is open to the south and could point to the presence of multiple lithium-bearing pegmatites. And it is wasting no time in investigating the anomalies, with infill soil sampling and more targeted rock-chip sampling all set to start next week, in preparation for definitive drill testing.

The Youanmi lithium project in WA’s Mid West region is about 20km south-west of the Youanmi gold mine, in the Youanmi greenstone belt considered prospective for pegmatite-hosted lithium-caesium-tantalum (LCT) mineralisation. Positive rock-chip samples, in addition to promising assay results from 158 soil samples collected as part of an initial regional geochemical program, encouraged the company to launch its previous drill program.

Management believes its latest lithium discovery shows the potential for the largely under-explored pegmatite zone to host further LCT mineralisation along the granite-greenstone contact.

Venus has recently been proactive with its WA lithium projects.

Last year, it hit returns of 5.8 and 3.6 per cent lithium dioxide from its Henderson tenements near Menzies. In June last year, IGO snapped up an interest in the company after acquiring 9 million shares and securing an exploration deal at its Bridgetown Greenbushes project in WA’s South West region.

In March, Venus identified a strong lithium anomaly in soil sampling at Bridgetown East, just 20km south-east of the world-renowned hard-rock lithium mine at Greenbushes.

The market will surely now be keeping a close eye on what the company can uncover at Youanmi during its upcoming drill campaign.

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