Leo Lithium bolsters Goulamina mineral resource to 211 million tonnes, Mali

Spodumene mine developer Leo Lithium (ASX:LLL) has increased the Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) at its Goulamina Lithium Project in Mali by 48.2%.

The company reports the updated MRE of 211 million tonnes @ 1.37% lithium oxide for 2.89 million tonnes of lithium oxide was informed by a resource definition drilling campaign undertaken over the second half of 2022 and the first half of 2023.

The updated MRE incorporates all historical data and recent drilling data completed up to 5 June 2023, and the Danaya and Northeast domains have also been updated in this MRE.

Leo commissioned independent resource consultancy CSA Global to update the MRE, which resulted in the classification of measured, indicated, and inferred mineral resources. The reported resources in this MRE are constrained below the Top of Fresh Rock (TOFR) surface and are reported within a US$1,500 optimised pit shell.

The company says mineralised pegmatite material within the optimised pit shell is considered to have ‘reasonable prospects for eventual economic extraction’ (RPEEE).

Leo reports the updated MRE provides scope for further exploration potential, as ‘large’ parts of the resource remain open along strike and at depth, and it sets the foundation for a new ore reserve estimate scheduled to be completed in August 2023.

Additionally, the company says the MRE update is ‘encouraging’ ahead of accelerated Direct Shipping Ore (DSO) revenue in Q4 2023 and first spodumene production in the first half of 2024.

Leo reports only material below the TOFR surface is reported as part of the MRE. Future drilling is planned for after the upcoming wet season and will focus on resource extensions along strike and down-dip, outside the optimised RPEEE put shell. This drilling will also aim to convert inferred material to the indicated category within the pit shell.

Commenting on the updated MRE, Leo Lithium Managing Director Simon Hay says: “We are excited to report a very significant resource upgrade which confirms the outstanding scale, high-grade nature, and further growth potential of the Goulamina Project.

An increase at Goulamina of 68.6 million tonnes from a very moderate drilling campaign is a fantastic outcome”

An increase at Goulamina of 68.6 million tonnes from a very moderate drilling campaign is a fantastic outcome. Furthermore, there is scope for additional growth as the deposit remains open at depth and along strike, creating new drilling targets for the geology team.

This significant upgrade also supports the possible extension of the 23-year mine life of the Goulamina Project and the recent cooperation agreement with Ganfeng. A key aspect of the cooperation agreement is for Leo Lithium to conduct an engineering study into raising Goulamina Stage Two capacity to 500,000 tonnes per annum, lifting overall Goulamina to 1 million tonnes per annum of spodumene concentrate.

Results from the MRE upgrade will flow into the planned ore reserve estimate upgrade, which is scheduled for completion in August 2023. These results are also encouraging ahead of first spodumene concentrate product in Q2 2024 and the early revenue opportunity from the targeted export of direct shipping ore in H2 2023.”

Since the last published MRE on 17 January 2023, Leo has completed an additional 30,853m of reverse circulation (RC) and 9,719m of diamond drilling at an estimated cost of US$5 million. 

Significant intercepts include GMDD033 with 134.89m @ 1.63% Li2O from 99.96m and 59.16m @ 1.58% Li2O from 252.4m; GMRC703 with 141m @ 2.15% Li2O from 81m; and GMRC705 with 158m @ 1.33% Li2O from 118m.

The company says drilling has identified several new pegmatite domains and extended existing domains along strike to the north and down-dip. These dykes are modelled over about 3,000m of strike with individual dyke widths up to 100m.

Leo Lithium is a Perth-based explorer developing the Goulamina Lithium Project in Mali, which is held in a 50/50 joint venture (JV) between Leo and China-based Ganfeng Lithium (SHE:002460). The project is forecast to produce 502,000 tonnes per annum of spodumene concentrate under stage one production, which will increase to 831,000 tonnes per annum under stage two.

Write to Harry Mulholland at Mining.com.au

Images: Leo Lithium Ltd
Written By Harry Mulholland
Hailing from the Central Coast region of NSW, Harry is a passionate journalist with a background in print, radio and ESG news. When not bashing away on his keyboard, he can be found brewing a coffee or playing with his dog.