Altura Mining Limited (ASX: AJM) has reported a substantial lift in confidence for the commissioning of the 100% owned Pilgangoora Lithium Project early next year following increases to the Project’s Mineral Resource and Ore Reserve estimates.
The improved numbers, which include a significant portion in the Proved and Measured categories, enhances the Company’s knowledge of the orebody and significantly reduces the risks commonly associated with grade control for start-up projects. The increase relates to infill and confirmatory drilling and sampling data following the completion of a closely spaced infill drill program conducted from May to July 2017.
Pilgangoora Lithium has a revised Mineral Resource estimate of 44 million tonnes at 1.00% Li2O and 441,000 tonnes of contained Li2O representing an increase to the previous estimate of 40.3 million tonnes at 1.04% Li2O (see ASX Release 30 January 2017). This upgrade now includes 8.5 million tonnes in the Measured Category and 35.5 million tonnes in the Indicated category.
The revised Ore Reserve estimate of 34.2 million tonnes at 1.04% Li2O and 357,000 tonnes of contained Li2O represents an increase of 3.7 million tonnes over the previous ore reserve estimate (see ASX Release 30 January 2017). It includes 8.1 million tonnes in the Proved category and 26.1 million tonnes in the Probable category.
The material change in the Mineral Resource estimate is a result of the infill and confirmatory drilling improving the geological interpretation of the deposit and significantly reducing the risk associated with the categorisation of Measured and Indicated Resources. This improved confidence has resulted in a conversion of 78% of the Mineral Resources to Ore Reserves.
Altura Managing Director Mr James Brown said the resource and reserve upgrade was extremely positive with construction currently about 50% complete in duration and commissioning earmarked for Q1 2018.
“While the increase is modest by total number it is extremely significant given the inclusion of Proved and Measured tonnes and how that strengthens our understanding of the geology of the deposit, particularly over the first five years of operation. As we head into commissioning of the plant early next year the risks around grade control have been significantly reduced and will ensure we are getting the right ore into the plant. We are also now armed with more valuable information as we continue to rapidly progress a Stage 2 expansion study aimed at increasing production to 450,000 tonnes per annum of spodumene concentrate, from the start-up capacity of 220,000tpa.”
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