Highlights of the revised mineral resource estimate

The Zinnwald deposit is now the EU’s second-largest hard-rock lithium resource. What does this mean for the project?

Summary:

  • Measured & Indicated (M&I) resource estimate shows 445% increase to 5m tonnes.
  • M&I resource shows 243% increase, or roughly three-and-a-half times the contained lithium.
  • An extensive drill programme extracted 27 kilometres of core, significantly improving “data density” and knowledge of the deposit.
  • The resource is just over 1km long x just over 1km wide.
  • The vertical depth of the mineralised area is about 80 to 100 metres.
  • Resource consists of two clear domains within the resource: (1) high-grade external greisens and (2) albite granite.
  • The resource is very continuous, which allows for much bigger-scale mining techniques and a direct impact on production cost.
  • Large size allows long life and large scale, justifying the cost of constructing plant and equipment to process the ore.
  • Zinnwald is now the second-largest hard rock lithium resource in the EU and the third largest in Europe.
  • The company believes Zinnwald should be classified as a strategic project in the context of the EU CriticalRaw Materials Act (CRMA).

Transcript

We recently put out an updated mineral resource estimate (MRE) and I wanted to take a few minutes to explain that in a little bit more detail and provide a sense of what it could mean for the project.

 

Highlights of the revised MRE

We published our updated MRE on the 21st of February 2024. And what that showed was a significantly larger Measured & Indicated resource estimate compared to the 2018 MRE. To put some numbers around that: it was a 445% increase in tonnage and a 243% increase, or roughly three-and-a-half times the contained lithium. In overall numbers: 193.5 million tonnes in Measured & Indicated resource, which is roughly 2.3 million tonnes contained lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) and an additional 33.3 million tonnes in inferred resource or 0.4 million tonnes LCE.

What that means all put together is that we’re now the second-largest hard rock lithium resource in the EU. The MRE was prepared by Snowdens in accordance with NI 43-101.

 

2022-23 drill programme added significant data density

The update was based on an extensive drill programme that we ran during 2022 and 2023. During that campaign we drilled an additional 84 diamond drill holes using up to six rigs running in parallel at one time, which made it probably one of the biggest drill programmes running in Europe in that period.

During the campaign we drilled an additional 27 kilometres of core and used that to significantly improve the data density and knowledge of the deposit. And, thereby, it really increased our confidence in the geological model. Over on the right of this page, you can see the drill holes from the original campaign in 2012 to 2017 with a 50-metre radius around those holes so, as you can see, relatively sparse. Overlaying on top of that the holes from the ’22-‘23 campaign you can see that density of data is significantly improved.

 

3D model shows the large scale of the Zinnwald resource

Taking a deeper dive into the drill programme and the resource: what you can see here is an aerial view of the area where we were drilling, so that’s the village of Zinnwald, and the resource sits directly underneath that.

Now the blue pins shown here are the drill holes drilled during the 2012 to 2017 campaign and then you can see the red pins coming in, which are the holes drilled during the latest campaign (‘22 to ‘23). So, a significantly increased density of information. Those holes were drilled to a depth of about 300 metres, so roughly the depth of the Eiffel Tower.

Now, one of the things that came out of the MRE is there are two clear domains within the resource: there’s what we call the external greisens – that area and this cross section which is shown in dark blue ­- and then the albite granite mineralized zone which is shown in the green, which is far more extensive and continuous.

This is just showing the resource in three dimensions and I think what this really illustrates is the, sheer scale of the resource. So if you take that little picture of the Eiffel Tower as an indicator of scale, that’s 300 metres. The vertical depth of the mineralized area is about 80 to 100 metres. And then the resource is just over a kilometre long by just over a kilometre wide. So a very significant size of resource. And by including the albite granites in the resource, the overall size and scale of the resource is very continuous, which allows for much bigger-scale mining techniques, which has a direct impact on scalability, as well as cost.

And then just showing here in the dark blue as before: the high-grade greisen zone, that’s over 11 million tonnes and then the much bigger albite granite domain which, when included with the external greisens, is 193 million tonnes in the Measured & Indicated category. So, a very significant resource that will support mining for many decades.

 

The second-largest hard rock lithium resource in the EU

Following the resource upgrade, we’re now the second-largest hard rock lithium resource in the EU and that’s illustrated in the bar chart on this page. I think the numbers to focus on are in the blue coloured bars so that’s Measured & Indicated resource which is what will ultimately be converted to reserve.

The importance of being a large resource is that it allows a long life, greater production. And long life, especially if one is trying to build an integrated project, is important because it justifies the construction of the processing plant and equipment needed to process the material. Size is also important in terms of how the project is perceived and certainly it justifies, we believe, that we should be classified as a strategic project within the context of the EU.

 

The third-largest hard rock lithium resource in Europe 

If we broaden that out to Europe: on this page we show the broader European project where it’s still of significant size. We’re the third-largest in that context. A few other interesting things to note here: the majority of European projects are focused on developing Zinnwaldite ore, and actually spodumene, which is perhaps more common for hard rock projects around the world, is fewer in number and those projects typically have very small resources which as such don’t support such long-life operations.

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