Lithium explorer, Pan Asia Metals continues to deliver solid lithium hits at its Reung Kiet prospect in southern Thailand in anticipation of a maiden resource estimate for its broader Reung Kiet project tabled for early in the new year. Latest hits from four holes at the prospect include 26.35 metres going 0.84 per cent lithium oxide and add to other significant lithium hits recently reported.
Importantly, the four new holes and previously announced intercepts at Reung Kiet also take in an assortment of other valuable by-products associated with lithium, including tin and some rare earths.
The new 26.35m lithium hit includes two zones of mineralisation where a plethora of other minerals were also intercepted.
One 10.6m interval was mineralised with a multitude of different minerals including 1.24 per cent lithium, 540 parts per million tin, 144ppm tantalum pentoxide, 400ppm caesium, 0.43 per cent rubidium and 3.21 per cent potassium from just 28.3m downhole.
Another 6.4m intersection grading 0.51 per cent lithium with strongly mineralised by-products was also intercepted from 55.8m.
A wider 35.35m hit in another hole retuned 0.65 per cent lithium oxide, including a 20.7m interval grading 0.66 per cent lithium oxide, 1149ppm tin, 128ppm tantalum pentoxide, 216ppm caesium, 0.35 per cent rubidium and 2.66 per cent potassium from 46.2m.
Other new lithium hits with associated by-products included 12.2m at 0.66 per cent lithium oxide from 61m and 2.0m at 0.51 per cent lithium oxide from 66m.
Reung Kiet is a hard rock project where lithium mineralisation is hosted in lepidolite, or lithium mica rich pegmatites.
Pan Asia says the grades of lithium oxide and other by-products intercepted in its drilling are consistent with other lepidolite projects globally.
It believes lithium sourced from lepidolite could potentially be one of the lowest cost sources of lithium hydroxide on an all-in sustaining cost basis, with one of the lowest capital cost incurrences on a per tonne lithium carbonate equivalent basis after by-products are incorporated.
According to Pan Asia, lithium can be extracted from lepidolite without the need for energy intensive roasting that is necessary in lithium production from the more common spodumene hosted lithium deposits.
Pan Asia says lepidolite is the only source of lithium with a suite of by-products such as tin and tantalum that are recoverable at the concentrator and processing stages of the flow sheet. The by-products play a role in reducing processing costs says Pan Asia.
The company is looking to define a mineral resource at Reung Kiet to feed into a scoping study where production of up to 10,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent per annum will be evaluated.
Its drilling at the project has been consistently returning solid lithium and by-product intercepts, including a recent 22.8m intersection going 0.84 per cent lithium oxide and another 27.9m hit grading 0.70 per cent lithium oxide.
As per our recent release we continue to be very satisfied with the results we are seeing, which compare very favourably with the lithium mica peer group. We remain on track to deliver a Mineral Resource in 1st Quarter 2022. Our drilling results suggest that a 10,000 tonne per annum lithium chemical plant is a realistic objective.
Pan Asia continues to pepper Reung Kiet with drill holes in the lead up to its maiden resource estimate at the project.
Assay results from another five holes are due before the end of the year, with samples from seven more holes also shipped to the labs for analysis.
Pan Asia has set its goals beyond just a mining operation at Reung Kiet and is seeking to eke out a future in production of precursor chemicals to sell onto battery manufacturers in the lucrative electric vehicle and lithium-ion battery markets.
Reung Kiet is advantageously wedged between the industrial centres of Thailand and Malaysia, with proximity to electric vehicle and lithium-ion battery manufacturers.
According to the company, the Thai auto industry alone ranks as number one in South-East Asia. Household automotive names such as Nissan, Volvo, Toyota, BMW, Mitsubishi, GM, Mercedes and Ford also have a presence in the region.
Recent research by global financial services company, JP Morgan concluded that by 2030, lithium demand is forecast to surge by more than 500 per cent from 2020 levels, driven by appetite from the electric vehicle sector where demand is estimated to grow nearly ten-fold.
With Reung Kiet located on the doorstep of industrial Asia and with demand for lithium projected to surge, Pan Asia could make its way onto a few radars if its upcoming resource estimate delivers the goods.
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