THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Pioneer Resources (ASX: PIO) has entered in to a Farm-in Agreement with Lepidico (ASX: LPD) at the company’s Pioneer Dome lithium-caesium-tantalum (LCT) pegmatite project in the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia.
Pioneer Resources said that under the farm-in agreement, Lepidico can earn a 75 per cent interest in PEG009 Lepidolite.
Lepidolite is a lithium-bearing platy mineral and is the subject of extractive metallurgical testing by Lepidico using its registered L-Max hydrometallurgical process.
Lepidico will drill outcropping PEG009 lepidolite targets until it meets a designated milestone of at least 500,000 tonnes at 1.2 per cent lithium oxide (Li2O) in lepidolite within two years, an amount considered sufficient to feed Lepidico’s proposed Phase 1 L-Max plant for five years.
The initial Joint Venture area covers approximately two per cent of the total Pioneer Dome LCT project area of 338 square kilometres.
Pioneer Resources explained that although the deal is restricted to lepidolite and minerals able to be treated by the L-Max process sourced initially from the PEG009 prospect, it also provides for the addition of other lepidolite targets as the JV advances successfully.
This allows Pioneer to focus on commercialising its Sinclair caesium prospect by advancing other lithium (in spodumene) and caesium (in pollucite) targets, including those at PEG004, PEG008 and PEG009, within the Pioneer Dome.
Under the JV terms Pioneer specifically retains 100 per cent of pollucite and spodumene mineralisation.
“Pioneer congratulates Lepidico on the recently received Innovation Patent Certification for its L-Max process, and its announcement that test work from the Phase 1 Plant pre-feasibility study continues to provide excellent results,” Pioneer Resources managing director David Crook said in the company’s announcement t othe Australian Securities Exchange.
“From Pioneer’s perspective, it’s exposure to the advancing L-Max process that is the catalyst for today’s transaction.”
A sample of lepidolite from PEG009 is currently undergoing bench-scale test-work to confirm its suitability as a potential ore feed for the L-Max process, which directly produces lithium carbonate and variouschemical by-products from platy/micaceous ores.
Results are expected later this month.