The updated reserve numbers follow a pit design change that came about as a result of infill drilling completed in late 2017.
Tawana Resources (ASX:TAW), in conjunction with its partner Alliance Mineral Assets (SGX:40F), has announced an upgrade in reserves for the Bald Hill lithium-tantalum mine, located in the eastern goldfields of Western Australia.
The update in reserves, released last Wednesday (June 6), follows a pit design change that came about as a result of infill drilling completed in late 2017.
“The increased reserves along with the potential for additional reserves resulting from infill drilling of inferred material, provide strong support for significantly increasing processing throughput rates,” Tawana Managing Director Mark Calderwood said in a press release.
With the increase, Bald Hill now has a mine life of nine years at the current processing rate of 1.2 million tonnes per year.
The project holds a tantalum ore reserve of 2 million tonnes at 313 parts per million Ta2O5 — a 43-percent increase from a study completed in July 2017. Meanwhile, the site’s lithium ore reserve stands at 11.3 million tonnes at 1 percent Li2O and 160 parts per million Ta2O5. That’s a 105-percent boost in contained lithium, also from July 2017.
Total lithium resources at Bald Hill clock in at 26.5 million tonnes at 1 percent Li2o (using a 0.3-percent Li2O cut off), while the project’s lithium indicated resource is 14.4 million tonnes at 1.02 percent Li2O. That represents an increase of 55 percent in contained lithium from October 2017.
“We are actively reviewing the options to best increase throughput in the existing plant and/or add an additional DMS circuit and fines circuit. There has been strong interest from a number of parties to obtain concentrate supply from Bald Hill,” Calderwood noted.
Production of lithium and tantalum concentrate began at Bald Hill in mid-March, and two shipments were completed in May. The company expects that additional shipments will be completed in late June or early July of this year.
The Bald Hill mine consists of an open pit, dense media separation and spiral circuits as well as waste rock dumps and associated infrastructure. The lithium concentrate produced there is hauled from the site along Binneringie road to the Port of Esperance; the tantalum concentrate is packed into 205-liter drums and bulka-bags and exported via Fremantle in standard shipping containers.
Moving ahead, the joint venture partners anticipate adding an approximate 8.8 million tonnes of inferred resources at the Western Australia site. They also plan to begin testing for additional reserves over the next six months.
Tawana’s share price took a slight tumble on Monday (June 11), dropping 2.33 percent to AU$0.42 at 12:00 p.m. EST.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Georgia Williams, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.