Bluebird Battery Metals has entered into a binding letter of intent ("LOI") to acquire a 100% of the shares of Southern Lithium Pty Ltd ("Southern Lithium"), a private Australian corporation. Southern Lithium holds title to several tenements in Eastern Goldfields Region of Western Australia, an area with demonstrated potential for the discovery of economically viable lithium oxide.
Highlights of Southern Lithium Acquisition:
- Twelve (12) tenements totaling 664 km2 within the southern Yilgarn Lithium Province, an area with demonstrated potential for significant lithium oxide discoveries including Greenbushes, Mt Caitlin, Mt Marion, Earl Grey, Bald Hill, Mt Kathleen and Buldania. (Figure 1);
- Historical exploration in the region focused on gold and base metal potential which identified numerous pegmatite swarms, a preferred host rock for lithium mineralization in the region and elsewhere in Western Australia;
- Historical exploration records indicate numerous descriptions of pegmatite within Southern Lithium’s assembled land package, offering a compelling exploration opportunity;
- Western Australia offers excellent infrastructure and is additional refining capacity for lithium oxide is currently under construction;
- Aggressive Exploration programs are planned to commence as soon as possible. Exploration to verify the lithium potential of known pegmatites within the acquired land package is a top priority.
Figure 1. Location Plan of Southern Lithium Portfolio in Western Australia
About Southern Lithium Portfolio and Pegmatite-Hosted Lithium
The Southern Lithium Portfolio consists of nine granted exploration licences, three exploration licence applications and a granted prospecting licence with a total land area of 664 km2. Pegmatite swarms have been identified throughout the assembled tenements. Elsewhere in the region, similar pegmatite swarms are proven to host significant, economically viable lithium oxide mineralization including:
|•||Earl Grey||Development||Resources of 189.0 Mt averaging 1.50% Li2O|
|•||Mt Marion||Producer||Resources of 78.0 Mt averaging 1.37% Li2O|
|•||Bald Hill||Producer||Reserves of 11.3 Mt averaging 1.00% Li2O|
|•||Mt Cattlin||Producer||Reserves of 7.6 Mt averaging 1.05% Li2O|
Initial exploration will focus on mapping, sampling and imaging of the known pegmatites to define drill targets for the subsequent exploration. Geological mapping and sampling will provide a detailed understanding of the fractionation and composition of the pegmatites. Areas of interest will be initially tested by rock chip sampling and soil sampling, where relevant, to define the geochemical distribution of lithium-tantalum-tin minerals present. A combination of magnetics, gravity, radiometrics and thermal imaging will be utilized to further refine structure and geometry of the pegmatite sequences prior to drilling.
Lake Johnson Project
The Lake Johnson Project area is comprised of six exploration licences and a prospecting licence covering a land area of 336 km2 and has been the subject of extensive nickel and gold exploration. Multiple pegmatite fields have been delineated both within the Lake Johnson project area and proximal.
Figure 2. Location Plan of Lake Johnson Project
Taylors Rock Prospect (E63/1840)
Prior exploration across the Taylors Rock Prospect focused on the nickel and gold mineralisation potential. Drilling has intercepted pegmatites of up to 39 m cumulative thickness along a strike length of 7.85 km. Additionally, the trend is open along strike to both the north west and south east. 10km to the east of Taylors Rock, Lithium Australia (ASX:LIT) has reported up to 7.15% Li2O from first pass rock chip sampling. Limited non systematic gold exploration has returned 3 m at 9.84 g/t Au. Significant nickel sulphide exploration results returned include 37 m at 0.48% Ni from 205 m, including 1m at 1.02% Ni.
Figure 3. Taylors Rock Interpreted Pegmatite Trend and pegmatite drill intercepts
Mt Gordon Prospect (E63/1883)
The Mt Gordon Prospect contains three discrete gold targets and a komatiite hosted nickel sulphide target. Exploration across the Richard target has returned up to 5m at 7.15 g/t Au in RAB drilling. The Youanmi Terrane Greenstones underly the Mt Gordons Prospect, host to lithium bearing pegmatites along strike to the northwest.
Figure 4. Mt Gordon Project Geology, Gold/Nickel Targets
Holleton Project (E77/2474, Pegmatite Mineral Rights)
A 1,200 m wide pegmatite unit open in all directions has been defined by drilling within 18 m of surface. Drilling ends in pegmatite units and as such the true thickness of the pegmatite units has not yet been defined, maximum interval intersected in drilling of 13 m. Exploration to date has focused on the gold potential of the Project.
Figure 5. Holleton Project Geology and Drilling
Lake King Project
Extensive drilling has been completed across a strike length of >10km and has intercepted pegmatites from surfaces to depths of up to 550m and thicknesses of up to 30m. Pegmatites are hosted within a package of mafic and ultramafic units. Exploration has historically focused on the nickel mineralisation potential. Youanmi Terrane Greenstone units underly the prospective tenure, host to lithium mineralisation at both Earl Grey (189Mt at 1.5%Li2O) and Mt Cattlin (16.7Mt at 1.28% Li2O), located 115km directly north and 63km south-south-east respectively.
Figure 6. Lake King Project Geology and Drilling
Aztec Project (E77/2413 & E77/2414)
Located 15km along strike from Kidman Resources (ASX: KDR) Earl Grey Deposit, 189 Mt at 1.5%Li2O. Mulitple potential host formations prospective for pegmatite hosted lithium mineralisation. Exploration compelted across Aztec Project focused on nickel potential.
Figure 7. Aztec Project Geology and Proximal Targets/Deposits
About Lithium in Western Australia
Lithium mineralization was first recognized on a significant scale at the Greenbushes Mine which initially focused on the exploitation of tin-tantalum mineralization. With the increasing utilization and strong projected demand for lithium ion batteries, exploration across Western Australia initially targeted former, pegmatite hosted, tin-tantalum operations to evaluate the potential to host economically significant lithium deposits. This approach was adopted by explorers throughout Western Australia leading to the discovery of numerous, pegmatite hosted, lithium oxide deposits.
The Table below summarizes the most significant lithium discoveries associated with pegmatites in Western Australia and is provided for reference only. There are no assurances that BlueBird will achieve similar results or that the Southern Lithium Portfolio, or any portion of it, will become a producing mine.
|Project||Company||Mineral Resources (Mt)||Grade (Li2O%)|
|Earl Grey Deposit||Kidman/SQM||189||1.5|
|Wodgina Mine||Mineral Resources||259||1.17|
|Pilgangoora Mine||Pilbara Minerals||226||1.27|
|Mt Marion Mine||Nometals/Gangfeng||71.3||1.09|
|Pilgangoora Mine||Altura Mining||50.5||1.01|
|Bald Hill Mine||Alliance Mineral Assets||18.9||1.18|
|Mt Cattlin Mine||Galaxy Resources||16.7||1.28|
|Mt Kathleen||Liontown Resources||21.2||1.4|
|Total / Average||988.4||1.4|
Table 1. Hard Rock Lithium Resources in Western Australia
In the past decade, six new lithium mining operations have attained commercial production from lithium oxide mineralization associated with pegmatites throughout Western Australia. Three, new lithium refineries are being either proposed or currently being constructed in Western Australia as the area becomes an increasingly important source of global lithium production. Historical exploration for gold and base metals has identified large, Archaean aged greenstone belts hosting large pegmatite bodies that are untested for lithium mineralization and therefore represent a compelling exploration opportunity.