Battery Metals

Riversgold readying 2023 lithium drilling in WA near Wesfarmers’ battery metals play

Fri 10 Feb 23, 12:36pm (AEST)
A road stretching to the horizon in the Australian outback beneath a blue sky
Source: Unsplash

Key Points

  • Riversgold has submitted program of works with WA government to kick off lithium drilling in Southern Cross
  • Riversgold picked up a tenement northeast of an existing lithium play co-owned by Chile’s SQM and Wesfarmers
  • Company already has surface rock targets which might host lithium

Emerging lithium and rare earth elements (REE) explorer Riversgold Limited (ASX:RGL) confirmed its set to kick off 2023 lithium drilling at the Earl Grey deposit in WA on Friday. 

The company has lodged a works application with the WA state government for the tenement in question, E77/2784.

That land parcel is to the northeast of the same-name Earl Grey lithium deposit currently being mined by a partnership comprising Chilean SQM and Wesfarmers (ASX:WES)

Surface rock targets

The big takeaway? 

Riversgold has already mapped pegmatite outcrops on-site. 

“The Earl Grey Prospect’s attraction lies in its proximity to the existing orebody currently being mined by SQM and Wesfarmers,” Riversgold chief Julian Ford said. 

“In 2016, Kidman interpreted the orebody to be open to both the north and the north-east.”

Kidman refers to Kidman Resources, a company that was acquired by Wesfarmers. 

High-grade hits nearby 

Historical drilling at the Wesfarmers-SQM project southwest of Riversgold’s tenement has turned up impressive high-grade results. 

Investor advisory firm Next Investors classify high-grade lithium as that in concentrations over 1% per sample. 

SQM and Wesfarmers have found: 

  • 11m @ 1.13% lithium from 324m depth 

  • 09m @ 1.27% lithium from 384m depth 

  • 10m @ 1.81% lithium from 395m depth 

The fact that mineralisation is at depths greater than 300m ought to be considered by prospective investors, especially with a view towards future capex requirements should Riversgold find similar results at its parcel. 

The implication of such depths is that an underground mine would need to be developed. How much, exactly, that would cost the company is the kind of thing only a scoping study can being to quantify. 

Gold mining province turning to battery metals 

The Earl Grey prospect is located in the prolific gold mining Southern Cross-Marvel Loch region of WA and Riversgold is seeking to acquire 80% interest in the tenement. 

That land straddles the Archaean Southern Cross Greenstone Belt, which itself forms part of the larger Yilgarn Craton, a bonafide hotspot for WA gold miners. 

In the 21st century, of course, now explorers are turning their eyes to battery metal potential. Riversgold also manages the Tambourah lithium project. 

“The widths and tenor of the mineralised pegmatites at both Earl Grey and Bounty would be very attractive in today’s lithium market,” Ford added.

RGL's one year chart
RGL's one year chart


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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