Li3 Lithium Corp. [LILI-TSXV; WD9-FSE] reported identifying high-grade lithium targets from its continuing exploration program at the Mutare lithium project, located in Zimbabwe. Li3 Lithium holds a 50% ownership interest in the Mutare lithium project, with the remaining 50% owned by Premier Africa Minerals Ltd., operator of the Zulu lithium and tantalum mine in Zimbabwe.
The company, as operator of the Mutare lithium project, has received assay results from 72 grab samples collected during the initial phase of the 2023 exploration program. The exploration program includes geological mapping, and a surface rock sampling program to assist in identifying priority targets for the trenching and 5,000-metre exploration drilling program, scheduled to start in the coming weeks.
Highlights: 72 samples sent for analysis in April; highest grade returned in initial phase is 4.14% lithium oxide (Li2O) from the Nels Luck group of licences.
The preliminary surface rock sampling program consisted of 72 samples taken from across the Mutare lithium project. The grab samples were from the central and eastern section of the property, including the Nels Luck group of licences, situated in the Mutare greenstone belt (MGB) East zone, one of many target areas within the Mutare lithium project, comprising approximately 2,000 hectares of licences retained in the MGB. The Nels Luck licence hosts a group of lepidolite-, spodumene- and tantalite-bearing lithium-cesium-tantalum pegmatites with an approximate surface expression of 600 metres by 20 metres (up to 50 m). The Nels Luck group of licences is situated about 15 km northeast in the same stratigraphic package, on the southern limb of a regional syncline, that hosts the Sabi Star lithium-tantalum mine.
Francois Auclair, PGeo, MSc, CEO and president of Li3 Lithium, commented: “The initial high-grade results, up to 4.14 per cent lithium oxide, suggest the potential for high-grade lithium oxide mineralization at surface and at depth within the eastern section of the property. We are anxious to commence the 5,000-metre exploration drilling program across the property with emphasis on the Nels Luck group of pegmatites.”
The Mutare lithium project is located adjacent to the Sabi Star lithium-tantalum mine in eastern Zimbabwe’s Mutare greenstone belt, an emerging lithium district. Li3 Lithium is evaluating the acquisition of additional prospective ground, either through staking or agreements with potential vendors. The area was deemed prospective for lithium-cesium-tantalum pegmatites based on prior target generation work. Management believes the lithium exploration potential of the MGB is analogous to that of the Pilbara craton pegmatites in Western Australia.
Zimbabwe, which is estimated to hold Africa’s largest lithium resources and the fifth largest globally, is rapidly emerging as an important player within the lithium supply chain. Over the past year and a half, major Chinese battery metals companies have committed approximately US$1.4-billion to acquire and develop lithium projects in Zimbabwe.
Li3 Lithium is focused on acquiring and developing hard-rock spodumene lithium assets in Zimbabwe and Argentina, where the founders have significant experience and relationships. As evidenced by recent market growth, hard-rock lithium deposits are forecast to continue to dominate the global supply of lithium given the scarcity, complexity and capex-intensive nature of alternative brine sources.