Prospect Resources: Arcadia lithium ore reserve is 39% more than previously estimated

A high grade core sample from Arcadia's drilling programme

Prospect Resources says a new survey shows that the ore reserves at Arcadia lithium mine are 39% more than previously estimated, which extends the life of the mine and makes the project more viable.

The company, listed on the Australia Stock Exchange, says the revised estimates are a “pathway to updated project economics”. The ore reserve is the economically mineable part of he indicated or confirmed mineral resource.

An optimised definitive feasibility study (DFS) – an evaluation of whether mineral resources at a proposed project can be mined profitably – is now being finalised to reflect this increased ore reserve, Prospect said in a notice on Wednesday. The optimised DFS will reflect the optimisation work that has been undertaken over the past 12 months to better reflect the economic potential of the Arcadia project, sited in Goromonzi.

“The upgraded ore reserve of 37.4Mt “represents a 39% increase on the Ore Reserve announced in December 2017, incorporates updated pricing provided by Benchmark Minerals Intelligence following the completion of the low iron petalite market assessment in July 2019 and updated petalite recovery in line with recent testwork developments”, the company said.

The estimates mean that the proposed mine would last beyond 15 years, and makes Arcadia the seventh largest hard-rock lithium asset in the world.

Prospect Managing Director Sam Hosack said: “This incredible result confirms Arcadia as a globally unique and significant lithium deposit to supply the glass and ceramics market with technical grade ultra-low iron petalite. We see the battery market as a key driver of lithium demand growth but remain focused on the glass and ceramics market where Arcadia seeks to become a significant, consistent and reliable high-quality supplier and access the premium prices available in this market”.

Earlier in November, Prospect announced that its ultra-low iron petalite product had progressed through the initial qualification process with two of the world’s largest glass-ceramic manufacturers, both based in Europe.

The company expects to start development in 2020.