Askari Metals on Monday confirmed high lithium and tin mineralisation in rock samples from a promising tenement the company recently acquired in Namibia.
Headline results from the samples, analysed as part of due diligence for the acquisition, include 3.3% lithium oxide, 3.2% tin, 4280 parts per million tantalum and 7980ppm rubidium.
The samples were collected at exclusive prospecting licence EPL 8535 that forms part of Askari’s Uis lithium project in the Erongo region and which was the company’s second acquisition of tenements in that country during Q4 2022.
The first came in October when it signed a binding heads of agreement with LexRox Exploration Services to acquire up to 90% in a lithium, tantalum and tin deposit, EPL 7345, near the town of Uis.
Askari added to its interest in early December with a similar agreement when it acquired an 80% interest in EPL 8535 from Earth Dimensions Consulting.
The recently purchased tenement lies directly along strike of EPL 7345 and about 2.5km from an operating mine with a mineral resource of 71.54 million tonnes going 0.63% lithium oxide, 0.134% tin and 85ppm tantalum. The mine’s deposit also shares the same geology and mineralised pegmatites as Askari’s.
Askari’s Uis lithium project now covers more than 308sq km in a prime pegmatite mineral field with a history of prior production and exploration success. The project hosts more than 150 mapped pegmatites, many of which have been mined historically for tin and semi-precious stones. Altered spodumene is visible both within the workings and in the mined rock around the workings.
High-grade pegmatite samples were collected at EPL 8535 from surface as part of Askari’s initial field evaluation programme last year and assay results returned up to 3.2% lithium oxide. Tantalum rock chip samples returned up to 663ppm tantalum and rubidium rock chip samples up to 1640ppm rubidium.
However, the results were taken from just seven samples and further due diligence delivered a total of 162 samples from exposed pegmatites on EPL 8535 and included several old artisanal workings mined for either tin or semi-precious stones.
Several of the pegmatites are characterised by coloured tourmalines, in addition to examples of altered/weathered spodumene and lepidolite crystals.
These extraordinary results from the due diligence sampling campaign are significant for Askari, including five results greater than 3% lithum oxide, 10 results greater than 0.24% tin and 42 results greater than 100ppm tantalum.
“We see immense potential in our growing Namibian portfolio as we believe the country hosts significant and untapped lithium and critical mineral riches vital for the global energy transition to a lower carbon future,” says Johan Lambrechts, Askari Metals vice president for geology and exploration.
Lambrechtssays the first phase of drilling EPL 8535 is imminent and exploration work on the neighbouring EPL 7345 licence continues to progress.
Askari argues it is particularly heartened by the results because lithium is regarded as a mobile element seldom found at the surface in its original state and grade.
Generally, it is leached and a more representative lithium content of any pegmatite is usually located below the weathered horizon, the company notes.
Management says this feature makes the initial results very encouraging, with 14 samples returning results greater than 0.5% lithium oxide and 26 samples above 0.1%.
The high proportion of samples with high-grade lithium results in the oxide zone correlates well with the visual lithium mineralisation identified in the field, it adds, and this may bode well as an indicator for lithium mineralisation potential below the surface.
“The company has been rewarded for its commitment to unlocking mineral resource potential as efficiently as possible, and strategically manoeuvring to capture shareholder value through the acquisition of the Uis Lithium project next door to an operating world-class tin, tantalum, lithium mine,” Lambrechts said.
“Askari is strategically advancing its drive toward the top of the lithium exploration field in Namibia. We see immense potential in our growing Namibian portfolio as we believe the country hosts significant and untapped lithium and critical mineral riches vital for the global energy transition to a lower carbon future,” he added.
“We are incredibly excited about the future and look forward to keeping our shareholders informed as we progress,” Lambrechts concluded.