Auroch hits spodumene lithium at its WA Nepean project, proving nickel-lithium potential

Thu 24 Nov 22, 11:54am (AEST)
A photograph of a spodumene processing plant at an unknown location in WA
Source: iStock

Key Points

  • Auroch has hit lithium in spodumene at its Nepean play, formerly a nickel project in its own right
  • Nepean is located 60km southwest of Kalgoorlie
  • Nepean is held in a JV between Auroch and privately held ‘Goldfellas Pty Ltd’

Auroch Minerals’ (ASX:AOU) shareholders are keeping tabs on the company’s operations today as it reports the successful intersection of lithium-in-spodumene at its WA-based Nepean project, formerly a pure-play nickel project. 

Nepean hosts a historic nickel sulphide mine which was once the second producing nickel mine in Australia, pushing out 32.2kT of nickel between 1970 and 1987. 

Very little deep exploration beneath the existing mine was ever tested, Auroch notes. 

What’s this about lithium? 

Somewhat surprising, then, is the fact Auroch have been able to successfully hit lithium at Nepean, and not only that, but lithium in spodumene; the most desired form of hard-rock lithium. 

Today is not the first time Auroch has turned its attention to lithium at the nickel project (both materials are technically battery metals.) 

Spodumene is desirable for it poses implications of easier downstream processing, been well understood and common geological feedstock in Australia. 

Auroch today reports: 

  • 6m @ 1.88% lithium from 198m, including: 

    • 2m @ 3.26% lithium from 198m depth (NPRC084)

  • 3m @ 0.36% lithium from 165m depth, including:

    • 1 m @ 0.52% lithium from 167m depth (NPRC085)

  • 4m @ 0.29% lithium from 242m depth 

The first two results are by far the strongest, with the latter two drillholes failing to meet high-grade cutoffs (typically 1% or over for hard-rock lithium.) 

However, with those results both occurring at nearly 200m depth, the company will have no small task on its hands figuring out how to get to that mineralisation, if it can prove that a large high-grade system exists that deep. 

Still, some shareholders at least are demonstrating a bullishness for Auroch Minerals in Thursday trades. 

Exploration to commence immediately 

Auroch will now kickstart a “high priority exploration programme to potentially delineate further high grade spodumene mineralisation.” 

Auroch’s exploration team will now commence ground sampling and mapping of pegmatites at Nepean North, where focus is most gathered. 

Further geochemical investigations will be undertaken (soil and rock samples,) and permitting for an RC drill run will now commence. 

Auroch will “potentially” also move toward procurement of a diamond drill rig for deeper testing. 

All about spodumene 

“Limited work on the pegmatites thus far has successfully confirmed high grade lithium mineralisation, and even more importantly spodumene mineralisation,” Auroch exploration chief Robin Cox said. 

The company’s executive chair, Mike Edwards, was in the same boat. 

“The discovery of high grade lithium within spodumene at Nepean is a great addition to our strategy as a battery metals focussed resource company,” Edwards commented. 

“This nicely compliments our efforts at the Nevada Lithium Project.”

Auroch's six month charts
Auroch's six month charts


Written By

Jonathon Davidson

Finance Writer

Jonathon is a journalism graduate and avid market watcher with exposure to governance, NGO and mining environments. He was most recently hired as an oil and gas specialist for a trade publication.

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