Exploration/Development, Lithium, News

Significant lithium discovery at Mt Marion

MinRes Essential Metals

Mineral Resources (MinRes) has made sweeping updates to the known resources across several of its lithium and iron ore deposits.

Mt Marion and Wodgina lithium

MinRes has delivered updated mineral resources and ore reserves at the company’s Mt Marion and Wodgina lithium deposits in WA.

Mt Marion lithium mine has seen a significant increase in resource, with the mineral resources increasing 26 per cent (from June 2022) to 64.8 million tonnes (Mt) at 1.42 per cent lithium oxide.

Mt Marion’s ore reserve increased 107 per cent to 35.7Mt at 1.42 per cent lithium oxide.

The Mt Marion figures are also based on an open pit scenario. This means that pending further deep drilling success, there is an additional opportunity to incorporate underground ore reserves.

MinRes managing director Chris Ellison said Mt Marion shows excellent potential for underground mining.

MinRes co-owns Mt Marion (50:50) with Ganfeng Lithium Group.

The Wodgina mine resource shrank by 16 per cent to 217.4Mt at 1.15 per cent lithium oxide, while its ore reserve increased 12 per cent to 164.6Mt.

MinRes manages all mining operations at the Wodgina site, including a spodumene concentrate plant currently featuring three processing trains each with a capacity of 250,000 tonnes per annum.

This year MinRes and lithium giant Albemarle announced the restructure of a joint venture (MARBL JV), whereby MinRes’s ownership of Wodgina increased to 50 per cent.

As part of the restructure, MinRes sold its share in the Kemerton lithium hydroxide facility in WA to Albemarle.

A transitional tolling agreement has been signed with Albemarle to enable MinRes to convert its share of Wodgina spodumene at Albemarle’s facilities until the end of the 2023–24 financial year (FY24).

Then the major miner will be going it alone, having set up its own office in Ningbo, China, where it will look to market its spodumene independently.

MinRes is also working on a preliminary study for its own Australian lithium downstream plant, which it expects to release in the September quarter.

“Building downstream capacity in Australia remains MinRes’ preference if the project economics deliver value,” MinRes said in a statement. 

Ken Bore iron

MinRes also delivered a maiden resource at its Ken Bore iron ore mine. The resource came in at 394Mt at 56.4 per cent iron, with an ore reserve of 207Mt at 58.1 per cent iron.

“Our maiden ore reserve and mineral resources at Ken’s Bore underpins the transformational Onslow iron project currently under construction, and together with the other joint venture resources will see MinRes deliver low-cost, quality iron ore for decades to come,” Ellison said.

The Onslow iron project is one of the largest iron ore projects currently under development in Australia. MinRes jointly owns Onslow with joint venture partners Baowu, AMCI and POSCO.

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