Neometals says it has discovered visible spodumene, the major hard-rock source of lithium, under ultraviolet light in historic diamond core from its Spargos exploration licence, which straddles the prospective Mt Ida fault, north/north-west of Norseman in Western Australia. No modern or older lithium assays are available, but resampling and verification work is underway on selected old core retained by the company.
Neometals says it has discovered visible spodumene, the major hard-rock source of lithium, under ultraviolet light in historic diamond core from its Spargos exploration licence, about 120km north/north-west of Norseman in Western Australia.
The company says the revelation has prompted a detailed review of reverse-circulation (RC) and diamond drill core from historical nickel exploration, with evidence supporting the potential for multiple stacked pegmatite intrusions at its 100 per cent-owned, 55-square-kilometre operation.
Management’s ground truthing of historic mapping has identified pegmatitic textures in felsic outcrops in multiple locations over a 2km strike length, while the resampling of selected historic core is in progress and assays are expected by the end of the year.
Neometals managing director Chris Reed said: “We are excited by the presence of fertile, spodumene-bearing pegmatites in diamond core from historic nickel exploration. The geological model is reminiscent of our former Mt Marion project and analogous to significant deposits further north up the Mt Ida Fault. It is important to note that there has been no historic or recent drilling for lithium. Whilst Neometals core focus remains the commercialisation of our downstream battery materials technologies, our senior executives have the capacity and expertise to maximise value from what could be an exceptional upstream lithium opportunity.”
The company’s Spargos licence covers the major Mt. Ida Fault. It had originally acquired the ground primarily for nickel given the known multi-commodity prospectivity of the Mt. Ida Fault, but identified extensive pegmatites following a review of historic RC drillholes, diamond drilling and surface mapping results.
The Mt Ida Fault runs northwards from around Norseman for at least 425km and about as far as Kathleen Valley, some 30km north-west of Leinster.
Along with its associated shear structures, the fault hosts significant lithium projects such as Delta Lithium’s Mt Ida play that has an estimated mineral resource of 14.6 million tonnes at a grade of 1.2 per cent lithium oxide and Liontown Resources’ Kathleen Valley operation with an estimated mineral resource of 156 million tonnes at a grade of 1.4 per cent lithium oxide and 130 parts per million tantalum oxide.
The key aspect of the Mt Ida “nearology” is that both the Delta and Liontown resources share similar geological settings to Neometals’ Spargos ground, where pegmatites have intruded greenstone belts near the Mt Ida fault. Both are flanked by large granitic fluid sources and have been intruded by late-stage Proterozioic dykes.
Many of WA’s pegmatite fields, from the State’s south-west to the Pilbara region, share the association.
Neometals proposes that the key characteristics of its Spargos project include its position straddling the Mt Ida Fault and that local fault splays embrace an Archean greenstone belt made up of mafic, ultramafic and interbedded meta-sediments. Additionally, the company says up to 13 interpreted granitoid/pegmatite units have been identified, which intrude the greenstone stratigraphy and that the greenstone belt is sandwiched between the Woolgangie Monzogranite and the Burra Monzogranite.
It also says all units in its project area are cut by late stage, Proterozoic dolerite dykes. In the mid-to-eastern half of the Yilgarn Craton, including in Neometals’ licence, the majority of Proterozoic dykes trend east-west, while closer to the Darling Scarp, just east of Perth, they trend sub-parallel to parallel with the line of the scarp.
Recognition of the analogous geological setting of its ground to other important lithium pegmatite projects prompted Neometals’ review of historic data relevant to its project area. It found that at the Spargos tenement, historic diamond core and RC holes have recorded multiple pegmatites in 20 historic drillholes out of a total of 29 that feature pegmatites.
The company says it still has core from 11 of the original 29 diamond holes put into its project and is undertaking resampling and assaying of selected priority holes and updating its database accordingly, while also mapping and field checking interpretations.
Neometals says going for nickel and ending up with a potential lithium project could be regarded as serendipitous. If it can pull a solid lithium project out of its Spargos hat, it might even look a lot like magic.
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