Intra eyes potential spodumene at new WA project

Intra Energy (ASX:IEC) has identified spodumene at its new Maggie Hays Hill (MHH) Lithium Project in Western Australia through its first round of mapping and rock sampling. 

The junior explorer says the spodumene represents around 5% to 10% of the sample and occurs as one to 2cm crystals forming around the larger quartz and feldspar crystals.

It’s worth noting, however, that lab assays have not yet confirmed the visual spodumene, and Intra says visual estimates should never be considered a proxy or substitute for this kind of analysis.

Nevertheless, preliminary rock chip sampling completed in December by the company as part of its acquisition due diligence showed ‘highly anomalous’ levels of tantalum and niobium in the area.

Intra says it still has ‘extensive’ areas to map at the project, and its soil geochemical survey work is 50% complete, with 591 samples dispatched to a lab for analysis.

The company expects to receive preliminary assays from this work in mid-March. 

Intra Managing Director Ben Dunn says the identification of spodumene at surface on an outcropping pegmatite vein within its new project area is ‘tremendously exciting” for the company. 

“We are very excited by the prospectivity of the MHH Project, and with the exploration program in full swing under the supervision of Todd Hibberd, our Principal Geologist, we believe there is more good news for IEC shareholders in the near future.”

Intra announced its acquisition of an 80% interest in the MHH project from Global Uranium and Enrichment (ASX:GUE) in mid-January for a mix of cash and scrip.

Under the deal, Intra paid the sellers $175,000 in cash and 30 million IEC shares subject to a 3-month voluntary escrow. Intra has also granted Global Uranium a 1% gross revenue royalty, though this is subject to the terms of a future royalty agreement to be entered into between the two parties. 

Further to this initial consideration, Intra could pay another 60 million shares at $1.5 million in cash as a deferred consideration subject to 3 milestones related to exploration results and resource delineation. 

The MHH project lies adjacent to the Maggie Hays and Emily Anne nickel mines, owned by Poseidon Nickel (ASX:POS), and 25km north of 2 separate spodumene lithium discoveries at Burmeister Hill by TG Metals (ASX:TGM) and Lake Medcalf by Charger Metals (ASX:CHR). 

Intra’s fieldwork in the MHH area has identified several new pegmatites mainly to the northeast and east of the main outcrops, ranging from 1m to 5m wide and, in some places, exposed over lengths of 250m. 

However, the company says ‘substantial’ parts of the tenement, particularly to the north, have not yet been mapped due to difficult access conditions. 

Intra had around $2.25 million cash at hand at the end of December 2023, according to its latest quarterly report.

Images: Intra Energy Corporation
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Written By Joshua Smith
Joshua Smith has years of experience in the media sector, having worked as a markets reporter, features writer, and editor since completing a Communications and Journalism degree and a Creative Writing degree. Josh is an avid board game fan and a self-professed coffee snob.

Sayona highlights ‘low-risk’ Moblan operation

Lithium producer Sayona Mining (ASX:SYA) has published a Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) for its Moblan Lithium Project in Canada, highlighting a post-tax net present value (NPV) of C$2.2 billion. 

The DFS forecasts annual production from Moblan, which forms the centrepiece of Sayona’s Eeyou Istchee James Bay Hub in Quebec, of 300,000 tonnes per annum of spodumene concentrate over a 21-year mine life. 

The production is set to come from open-pit mining at a rate of 1.8 million tonnes (Mt) per annum, based on an ore reserves estimate of 34.5Mt @ 1.36% Li2O.

With a forecast process plant feed of 4,800 tonnes per day and an average life-of-mine recovery of 74.7% spodumene concentrate at 6% Li2O, Sayona is predicting net cashflow of C$6 billion over the project’s life from net revenues of C$14.4 billion. 

The DFS outlines a post-tax internal rate of return of 34.4% and a payback period of 2.3 years, with the project to operate on all-in sustaining costs of C$748 per tonne. 

Essentially, Sayona, which has a $658.8 million market capitalisation, says the DFS highlights a ‘low-risk’ operation in the prolific James Bay region.

Sayona Interim CEO James Brown says the DFS positions Moblan as an ‘incredibly strategic and valuable’ asset for the company, representing one of the ‘single largest hard rock lithium resources’ in North America.

“Forming the centrepiece of our northern lithium hub, Moblan has an extremely bright future supplying Québec-produced lithium derivatives into the expanding North American battery and EV sector. 

Moblan has an amenable orebody that will deliver product from an integrated process of both dense medium separation (DMS) and floatation circuits supported by ore sorting technology. 

The offset of delivering such high recoveries is an increase in capital intensity relative to simpler DMS plants. The high expected product recovery will benefit project economics and extend the life of mine.”

Brown adds that recent ‘challenging’ market conditions in the lithium space highlight the importance of developing top-tier lithium projects, and Moblan meets the criteria necessary to deliver high-grade lithium concentrate at ‘industry-low’ and competitive operating costs. 

Looking ahead, Sayona now plans to continue advancing regulatory approvals, seeking community support, and securing financing and potential project partners to advance Moblan to production. 

However, the company says it will review its development timelines in light of current market conditions, although it’s confident the lithium market will recover over the medium term. 

Sayona Mining had around $156 million in cash and $193.5 million in unused finance facilities at the end of December 2023, according to its latest quarterly report. 

Images: Sayona Mining
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Written By Joshua Smith
Joshua Smith has years of experience in the media sector, having worked as a markets reporter, features writer, and editor since completing a Communications and Journalism degree and a Creative Writing degree. Josh is an avid board game fan and a self-professed coffee snob.

Trinex plunges into Ross Lake spodumene

Trinex Minerals (ASX:TX3) has confirmed spodumene at the Ross Lake Lithium Project in Canada, upon conducting further analysis on selected rock chip samples taken from Dyke 75. 

The $8.92 million market capitalisation company reports 5 rock chip samples with elevated lithium oxide (Li2O) assay results from 1.07% to 3.31% were selected for semi-quantitative X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) at SGS Laboratories in Lakefield, Ontario to confirm mineralogy of the samples and the presence of spodumene. 

Further, the XRD results confirmed that spodumene is the dominant lithium-bearing mineral in all 5 samples, with up to 37.3% spodumene in sample D00179806. 

Managing Director Will Dix says although the company anticipated these results, it is reassuring to receive the confirmation. 

“This indicates that should the scale of the mineralisation be significant, the main lithium-bearing mineral at Ross Lake will be highly sought after by refiners and end users.”

Meanwhile, at the MAC Project that company arranged for additional ground to be staked which gives Trinex strategic access to the balance of the remaining prospective ground in the area surrounding the project. 

The tenure abuts an area of withdrawn land, where interests are protected by the Government of the Northwest Territories (NWT) on behalf of the First Nations. 

Trinex says the additional area, which will become part of the MAC Project, is expected to be ratified by the NWT government in the next 2-3 weeks. 

Dix says: “We are also very pleased that in a time of significant activity in staking new land for lithium in the NWT, we have been able to secure this small but strategically important ground immediately to the south of our MAC Project. 

The area has been on our watchlist for some time due to its prospectivity, and having access to it from now enables us to adjust our summer 2024 planned work program and follow the pegmatite fractionation vectors to thoroughly test this new area.”

Trinex Minerals is an Australian-based resources company focused on exploring for critical minerals. The company’s assets are considered prospective for lithium, nickel, copper, platinum group elements, and base metals. 

As of 31 December 2023, the company had $3.313 million cash and cash equivalents at hand, according to its latest quarterly report. 

Write to Aaliyah Rogan at Mining.com.au     

Images: Trinex
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Written By Aaliyah Rogan
Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.

Torque continues turning rigs at New Dawn

Torque Metals (ASX:TOR) is continuing to advance exploration at its New Dawn Lithium Project in Western Australia, upon intersecting thick, continuous pegmatite lodes with spodumene. 

The $30.61 million market capitalisation company’s diamond drilling program is aiming to investigate ‘high-grade’ spodumene areas in hopes of providing ‘crucial’ insights into lode continuity, geometry, structure, and mineralisation. 

Managing Director Cristian Moreno says Torque’s focus remains on advancing exploration at New Dawn, while upholding disciplined capital allocation. 

“I am eager to keep the market updated on our progress as we continue to demonstrate the potential of both New Dawn and the adjacent Paris Gold Project.”

The ongoing diamond drilling will also include collecting samples for metallurgical testwork, which will be carried out by Independent Metallurgical Operations. 

Further, Moreno says Torque recently completed a reverse circulation (RC) drill campaign, and as a result, every hole delivered consistently encountering vertically stacked pegmatites. 

“Further validation comes from the indication of spodumene via Raman analysis and UV light examination. We eagerly await the assay results expected in early March, which will offer crucial insights into lithium grades and potential mineral extensions.

With 17 RC holes awaiting assay results and ongoing diamond drilling, we anticipate announcing positive outcomes later this quarter. We have every confidence the results will validate our geological model.”

Torque completed a 5,000m RC drill campaign aiming to test and extend the company’s maiden exploration target. Thick, continuous pegmatite lodes were intersected with spodumene confirmed by Raman analysis and indicated under UV light remaining open in all directions.

Torque says Raman spectroscopy stands as an analytical method of discerning the intricate molecular architectures and chemical contexts present within organic and inorganic molecules, alongside molecular ions. Through this technique, valuable information regarding molecular structures and their surrounding chemical environments is elucidated, enabling deeper insights into their physical properties.

Raman spectroscopy provides vibrational fingerprints of chemical compounds, enabling their identification via a comparison with reference spectra. Torque notes the assignment of Raman spectra to minerals and, more generally, inorganic phases, is straightforward and unambiguous, if appropriate reference data is accessible.

Meanwhile, Torque has acquired camp facilities at Widgiemooltha in Western Australia, to accommodate up to 18 people. This is expected to provide numerous cost savings and time efficiencies for Torque. 

Torque Metals is an Australian mineral explorer focused on its Penzance exploration camp that covers a 800km-square area and includes 12 wholly owned mining, 4 prospecting, and 26 exploration licences. 

In the New Dawn area multiple pegmatite bodies, primarily found in biotite quartzite and quartz feldspar biotite schist meta-sediments, have been identified. The country rock consists mainly of mafic schist, with chlorite and biotite quartzites likely originating from fine-grained arenaceous and argillaceous sediments. 

Additionally, a quartz-feldspar porphyry dyke forms a low strike ridge along the western boundary of M15/217, with scattered outcrops of feldspar porphyry near the eastern boundary. These pegmatites exhibit massive characteristics, effectively penetrating the host rock as vertically stacked pegmatites. 

As of 31 December 2023, the company had $2.829 million cash and cash equivalents at hand, according to its latest quarterly report.

Write to Aaliyah Rogan at Mining.com.au  

Images: Torque Metals 
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Written By Aaliyah Rogan
Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.