Recent times have seen Australia surpass Chile as the world's largest lithium producer, with production expected to continue to grow through ramping up of existing hard rock spodumene operations and new start-ups. This has been on the back of a number of recent discoveries, including the Pilgangoora deposits of Pilbara and Altura.
The latest to join the discovery club is Liontown, who recently announced a maiden JORC 2012 compliant high grade Resource for their 100% owned Kathleen Valley Project in Western Australia. The Resource, of 21.2 Mt @ 1.37% Li2O and 166ppm Ta2O5 (which is still open) compares very favourably with (including having higher grades than) Resources at some current operations, including Tawana’s 50% owned Bald Hill Mine in southern Western Australia (26.5Mt @ 0.97% Li2O and 149ppm Ta2O5, and Galaxy’s Mt Cattlin operation (which had a pre-mining Resource of 18.2Mt @ 1.08% Li2O, and with current Resources of 9.7Mt @ 1.35% Li2O and 198ppm Ta2O5 excluding low grade stockpiles). The Company is currently undertaking metallurgical testwork on samples from Kathleen Valley, which will be incorporated into a Scoping Study, due for completion in 4Q18.
The second discovery is Buldania, located near Norseman in southern WA (and in the same region as the Mt Marion operation and Bald Hill), which is part of a broader regional play. Drilling to date has returned some impressive shallow intersections, including 58m @ 1.2% Li2O. Drilling is ongoing at Buldania, with the results to be used in a fast tracked initial Resource estimate. There are also a number of other mapped pegmatites in the Company's tenements that are yet to be drill tested.
The third asset is Toolebuc, a large sediment hosted vanadium play near Julia Creek in Queensland, for which an initial Resource of 84Mt @ 0.3% V2O5 has been estimated.
The demand for both lithium and vanadium is forecast to grow strongly for the foreseeable future on the back of strongly increasing demand for electric vehicles, with Liontown now well placed to take advantage of this.
We expect steady positive newsflow from Liontown over coming months, and to read our recent report on the Company please follow the link below.