Savannah Resources Plc said that it nearly tripled the inferred resource estimate of its Mina do Barroso lithium project in northern Portugal, with an identified initial exploration target that gives a project target of 17 million to 21 million tonnes at 1.0% to 1.2% lithium oxide.
On Feb. 26, the AIM-listed company announced an increase of about 200% in the project's inferred resource estimate to 9.1 million tonnes at 1.03% lithium oxide containing 94,100 tonnes of lithium oxide, using a 0.5% cut-off grade. The previous inferred resource estimate was 3.2 million tonnes at 1% lithium oxide containing 32,000 tonnes of lithium oxide, which was defined at the Reservatorio deposit, one of three targets currently being evaluated.
The initial exploration target for the Grandao and Reservatorio deposits were defined at 8 million to 12 million tonnes at 1.0% to 1.2% lithium oxide, and further drilling is now underway targeting both down-dip and strike extensions of the resource estimate.
There is further upside afoot, as that mineral resource estimate only covers three of at least eight known pegmatites on the mining lease, while the Grandao resource is only based on the first 40 holes drilled of the 61 drilled to date.
However, the company cautioned that the exploration targets' potential quantity and grade was still conceptual at this point, and noted that there had been insufficient exploration work to estimate a mineral resource.
It is also uncertain if further exploration will result in defining a mineral resource.
Yet Savannah CEO David Archer was upbeat on the project's potential, saying that the resource estimate defined from the 2017 drill program supported the company's belief that Mina do Barroso is "one of Europe’s most promising lithium projects."
"Whilst we are delighted with the results to-date, the exploration target underscores the potential to increase the aggregate mineral resource estimate over the coming months, especially as we now have two drilling rigs on site," he said.
"This potential is matched by excellent first pass metallurgical test results with conventional processes, the spodumene dominant nature of the deposits, open-cut potential, access to excellent infrastructure including roads and ports, and the premier nature of the jurisdiction."
Savannah is now progressing with more detailed, second pass metallurgical test work and hopes to shortly commission a scoping study to lead into a definitive feasibility study later this year.
The company said it is on track to make a development decision by the end of 2018.