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Kangaroo Island shows rock-solid promise for lithium

Mining & Resources

Mining and energy company Lithium Australia has reported it has found anomalous lithium and tantalum samples that suggest mining potential on Kangaroo Island in South Australia.

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In a report to the Australian Stock Exchange, Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) managing director Adrian Griffin said they found samples containing significant levels of lithium at 2010 ppm and tantalum at 770 ppm in rock-chip and float assays.

Griffin said the evidence from the lithium-anomalous pegmatite dykes at its Dudley prospect at the Kangaroo Island Project in South Australia were promising.

“Early results from the Dudley prospect indicate good potential for a new LCT pegmatite field, and we look forward to extending our exploration coverage later in the year,” he said.

Fieldwork confirmed the presence of lithium pegmatites in the historical Dudley tourmaline mine. The mine has produced gem-quality elbaite (lithium tourmaline) since 1899.

Griffin sees this as a significant finding because the lithium samples were taken from weathered outcrops and exposures. Lithium is typically leached from weathered rocks which suggests the unweathered bedrock boasts a significant yield.

The lithium was found in mineral forms such as lithium tourmaline (indicolite and rubellite varieties of elbaite), lithium micas, and petalite.

Lithium is an important mineral in aircraft parts, bipolar disorder medication, and is used in a range of batteries from mobile phones and laptops, to electric cars.

The tantalum values in the outcrop rock chips were also highly significant at 770ppm. Values above 200 ppm are considered economic grades. Tantalum is used in electronics, alloys, and surgical and dental implants.

Lithium Australia found these anomalies while investigating the main Dudley pegmatite trend, which consists of approximately 30 intermittently exposed dykes up to 80m thick over a 450m span.

Lithium Australia believes that the combination of these dykes, the shallow cover over the site, and anomalous samples in unfavourable condition all point to the site being part of a lithium-caesium-tantalum (LCT) pegmatite system.

Griffin is planning a geochemical soil-sampling project to examine the surrounding areas where the anomalous lithium samples were obtained to locate potential LCT pegmatite dykes and further lithium and tantalum minerals.

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