- Tawana is earning a 50% interest in the Bald Hill Lithium and Tantalum Mine, WA.
- The Bald Hill Mine comprises: four mining leases, 16 exploration/prospecting licences and five applications totalling 791.3km2, excellent existing infrastructure including an operating tantalum plant, camp and machinery and is permitted for operation.
- Bald Hill has a maiden Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resource estimate of 12.8Mt at 1.18% Li2O and 158ppm Ta2O5 at a 0.5% Li2O cut-off (high grade)
- A Pre-Feasibility Study released in July 2017 confirmed the technical and financial viability of a 1.2Mtpa lithium Dense Media Separation circuit adjacent to the existing tantalum processing facility
- Early works including ordering of long lead capital items is currently underway at Bald Hill
- Tawana is targeting first shipment of lithium concentrate from Bald Hill in 1Q 2018.
The Bald Hill Mine is owned by Singapore Exchange-listed Alliance Mineral Assets Limited (AMAL) with Tawana earning a 50% interest.
The Bald Hill project area has traditionally been explored and mined for tantalum and tin at the Bald Hill and St John prospects. From July 2001 to December 2005, Haddington Resources Limited undertook shallow open-pit pegmatite mining, processing 1.35Mt of ore through a 340,000tpa gravity plant which produced 364t tantalum pentoxide for sale. During mining, it was noted that the pegmatite ore contained varying amounts of spodumene (up to 50%), though lithium was not assayed for or recovered until this was again noted by the plant’s new owner Alliance Mineral Assets Limited (“AMAL”) in 2015.
Beneficiation processes undertaken as part of AMAL’s refurbishment, upgrade and recommissioning of the plant in 2015-16 produced non-magnetic -1mm concentrates containing high levels of lithium in the form of spodumene. The +500µm lithium concentrate totalling 5.9 tonnes averaged 6.73% Li2O and the 250-500µm lithium concentrate totalling 3.5 tonnes averaged 5.75% Li2O.
Tawana’s review of extensive exploration data, as well as metallurgical testwork, provided encouraging early results. Analysis of material crushed to 6.3mm resulted in 93.3% of contained lithium and 86.3% of tantalum reporting to +250µm fractions.
Tawana commenced engineering studies to assess the installation of a 1Mtpa front-end spodumene recovery circuit to the plant.
A maiden Indicated and Inferred lithium Mineral Resource estimated by CSA Global Pty Ltd for the deposit in June 2017 included a high-grade component of 12.8 million tonnes at 1.18% Li2O and 158ppm Ta2O5 at a 0.5% Li2O cut-off.
The company has signed an offtake agreement with a subsidiary of Burwill Holdings Ltd.
Tawana expects to achieve its first shipment of lithium concentrate in 1Q 2018.
TERMS OF AGREEMENT WITH AMAL
As part of its Farm-In and Joint Venture arrangement with AMAL, Tawana must spend a minimum of $7.5 million on exploration, evaluation and feasibility by 31 December 2017 (“expenditure commitment”) and $12.5 million to upgrade and convert the plant to process ore from the project, as well as infrastructure, pre-stripping activities and operating costs (“capital expenditure”).
Once the expenditure commitment is complete, Tawana will be entitled to 50% of all rights to lithium from the project. Upon completion of the expenditure commitment and the capital expenditure, it will be entitled to a 50% interest in the project, being all minerals from the tenements, the processing plant and the infrastructure at Bald Hill.