Aim-listed Premier African Minerals has published a new South African Mineral Resource Committee- (Samrec-) compliant mineral resource estimate (MRE) for its wholly-owned Zulu lithium and tantalum project.
The new MRE is concerned with those areas of the Zulu tenements that are expected to be mined and processed through the present plant, and estimates lithium oxide (Li2O) that is contained in spodumene, specifically Li2O that is attributable to spodumene at 107 366 t and the direct conversion of the contained Li2O to spodumene concentrate 6 (SC6) is 1.7-million tonnes.
Moreover, the new MRE estimates that the orebody contains one-million tonnes of tantalum pentoxide (Ta2O5).
The company said on February 9 that ongoing mineral resource development drilling, with the aim of identifying extensions to the current MRE, was ongoing.
"This MRE supports the development of the Zulu mine on an expedited basis. It underlines our confidence in the medium- and long-term future of this mine and further supports our view that Zulu has the standalone potential to develop a lithium sulphate plant.
“Work continues in the greater exploration and production operations area, and we have now identified areas of future potential mineralisation and secured those areas in the longer term under new mineral claims,” Premier CEO George Roach said.
He said the new MRE is based on an assumed 80% of the total Li2O grade of the orebody being attributable to the spodumene quenching index dominant style of mineralisation, which is conservative in his opinion.
“An ongoing analysis of the mineral assemblage may support an increase in this percentage with potential increases in the contained spodumene. We have previously set out our expectation that Zulu is likely to produce spodumene concentrates with low iron and higher spodumene concentrate grades,” Roach said.
Accordingly, he expects Premier to receive a premium for spodumene concentrates produced at Zulu, thereby supporting the company’s determination to bring this plant into production soon.
“While we do not have the ability to recover tantalite at present, relatively minor plant additions that are under consideration are expected to see production of Ta2O5 concentrate in the future,” Roach said.
He also noted the arrival at site of all plant components and, in particular, the arrival and installation of the new ball mill. Assembly is expected to be completed within the coming weeks.
Additionally, the optimisation of the sorters is ongoing, with the company expecting the overall plant to be back in production during February.