Red Dirt Metals kicks off 2023 lithium drilling

Wed 11 Jan 23, 1:18pm (AEST)
A road stretching to the horizon in the Australian outback beneath a blue sky
Source: Unsplash

Key Points

  • Red Dirt Metals has no less than seven drill rigs currently under hire across its two lithium projects
  • The 2023 campaign at the newly acquired Yinnetharra Lithium Project is larger in size than that for its flagship Mt. Ida project
  • Open pit mining proper at Mt. Ida is expected to kick off in the December quarter of this year following key WA government approvals

Five drill rigs have been mobilised to Red Dirt Metals’ (ASX:RDT) flagship Mt. Ida Lithium Project to kick off the 2023 exploration drilling campaign, the company highlighted on Wednesday. 

A further two rigs are present at the company’s separate Yinnetharra Lithium Project, bringing the total count to 7. A third rig will be delivered to Yinnetharra before Q2. 

Despite the bullish news on the hottest battery metal commodity after a strong start for the ASX Materials sector in 2023 so far, the company’s share price was down -3.19% to 45.5c in lunchtime trades. 

Mt. Ida operations 

The five rigs at Mt. Ida are plugging away at a 60,000m drilling campaign. 

The rigs will target known exploration targets and the surrounding areas to test how far lithium mineralisation extends and in which directions. 

The company is intending to upgrade the maiden lithium resource it published in October last year of 12.7 million tonnes (Mt) of ore at an average grade of 1.2% lithium oxide.

That 1.2% read comes in just above the 1% high-grade cutoff published by investor advisors Next Investors. 

This drilling campaign will also provide data to Red Dirt Metals allowing it to begin crafting technical documentation regarding the design of proposed open pit mining operations. 

Acreage designated for waste dumps in the future will also be sterilised. 

Mining proper at Mt. Ida is intended to commence in Q4 of the 2023 calendar year, pending receipt of key approvals from the WA government. 

Yinnetharra operations 

The Yinnetharra project was acquired by Red Dirt Metals only last September, with first stage drilling kicking off in November 2022. 

That campaign saw a 3,250m drill run using diamond tipped drill rigs for a total of 16 drillholes. 

By late February at the latest, the company expects to have assay results on that drilling campaign revealed to the market. 

The 2023 campaign kicking off this month is a 90,000m drill program. The aim of this campaign is to discover new lithium deposits ahead of resource drilling towards a JORC-compliant Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) later in 2023. 

The company has 40 targets to drilltest at Yinnetharra already on its books. 

“Very exciting year” 

One diamond drill and one reverse circulation (RC) drill rig are currently onsite. A second RC rig is due to arrive later this quarter. 

A diamond drill rig returns cylindrical intact cores to the surface for analysis, whereas an RC rig effectively collects rock chip samples from underground in a receptacle which is then considered a core equivalent. 

Diamond rigs can reach further depths than RC rigs. 

“The plan is to complete a big campaign of drilling and permitting leading into the development of Western Australia’s next lithium mining project at Mt Ida in late 2023,” Red Dirt Metals chief David Flanagan said.

Flanagan described an exciting year ahead.

A look at Red Dirt's three month charts
A look at Red Dirt's three month charts


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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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