Maiden Thailand lithium resource shows Pan Asia potential

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A field geologist measures drill cores at Pan Asia Metals’ Reung Kiet lithium project in Thailand.
Camera IconA field geologist measures drill cores at Pan Asia Metals’ Reung Kiet lithium project in Thailand. Credit: File

With mineralisation at surface, open along strike and depth suited to open-cut mining, Pan Asia Metals says its Reung Kiet lithium prospect maiden mineral resource estimate is the outcome it was looking for.

The company has announced a resource at the prospect in southern Thailand of 45,600 tonnes of lithium oxide or about 113,000t of lithium carbonate equivalent that Pan Asia expects to increase after more drilling.

The figure is calculated at a 0.25 per cent lithium oxide lower cut-off of 10.4 million tonnes at 0.44 per cent lithium oxide, 0.04 per cent tin, 0.16 per cent rubidium, 0.02 per cent caesium and 0.009 per cent tantalum pentoxide.

The resource estimate is based on 7280m of diamond drilling across 46 holes using triple tube methods to maximise core recovery.

Pan Asia says whilst the grade at the prospect is in line with or greater than similar lepidolite projects, the company can see potential to increase the run-of-mine grade.

Notable intersections include one 15.6m section at 0.82 per cent lithium oxide from 55m including 9m at 1 per cent, with another 30.2m hole going 0.69 per cent lithium oxide from 37.3m including 6m grading 1.08 per cent from 38.5m and 4.5m going 1.44 per cent from 47.6m.

In terms of shallow results, a 22.1m intersection recorded 0.72 per cent lithium oxide from surface.

Working with a 5 x 5 x 10m block model means that we capture low grade or waste siltstone in the block, which will see the average grade of the MRE diluted, as much of the lithium mineralisation is contained within the pegmatite. Ore sorting can address this by rejecting the siltstone, and is being used successfully on many projects globally, and will form part of PAM’s scoping study work.

Pan Asia Metals Managing Director, Paul Lock

The company says metallurgical work will investigate the amount of tin and tantalum that can be extracted during beneficiation, in addition to the potential to produce industrial-grade bulk materials such as feldspar and quartz.

Additional holes are currently being drilled, with a further 20 holes in the works as part of an extensional and infill program.

Lithium mineralisation at Reung Kiet is hosted in lepidolite or lithium mica-rich pegmatites.

Management says the lithium derived from lepidolite is one of the most cost-effective sources of lithium hydroxide on an all-in sustaining cost basis, with one of the lowest capital costs per tonne lithium carbonate-equivalent after by-products are taken into account.

Pan Asia has loaded its portfolio with lithium projects and one tungsten venture, all in Thailand.

It sees the country as a low-cost, advanced industrial economy fitting the company’s strategy of developing downstream value-add opportunities in locations close to end-market users.

Pan Asia’s projects are also within range of key local infrastructure, including the 240MW Rajjaprabha hydro power station, Phuket International Airport and Phuket, Ranong and Surat Thani ports.

Once drilling is completed at Reung Kiet, the company says it will move its rigs to the Bang I Tum prospect, where the program will continue drilling that started early last year and identified a pegmatite dyke swarm more than 100m in width.

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