Mr. Eric Allard reports
TANTALEX LITHIUM ANNOUNCES IMPRESSIVE MAIDEN MINERAL RESOURCE ESTIMATE FOR THE MANONO LITHIUM TAILINGS PROJECT
Tantalex Lithium Resources Corp. has released
a maiden mineral resource estimate for its majority owned Manono lithium tailings project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
5.46 million tonnes at 0.2 per cent
Li2O (lithium oxide) in the measured and indicated category;
6.63 million tonnes in total inferred mineral resources at a grade of 0.49 per cent
Lithium contained in spodumene and amenable for production of 6 per cent Li2O spodumene concentrate (SC6);
- Mineral resource defined by 11,922 metres of drilling in a total of 368 drill holes;
Quick path to production: material on surface, already crushed; no strip ratio, low mining costs.
Manono tailings mineral resource statement
The mineral resource was estimated using the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) Best Practice Guidelines and is reported in accordance with the 2014 CIM Definition Standards, which have been incorporated by reference into National Instrument 43-101 -- Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects (NI 43-101).
A summary of the mineral resource estimates per deposit as well as the total measured, indicated and inferred mineral resources is shown in the attached table.
The mineral resource is classified into the measured, indicated and inferred categories, and is reported at a cut-off grade of 0.20 per cent lithium oxide (Li2O).
The cut-off grade and reasonable prospects for eventual economic extraction (RPEEE) were determined using the following assumptions:
Mining will be undertaken using bulldozers and loaders;
Mining cost: $2.17 (U.S.) per tonne of rock;
Mining recovery: 99 per cent;
Processing cost: $11.18 (U.S.) per tonne processed (RoM);
Revenue royalty: 3 per cent;
Payability: 98.5 per cent;
Process recovery LiO: 50 per cent to 70 per cent;
Lithium price: $4,000 (U.S.)/tonne (SC6 -- spodumene concentrate).
The assessment to satisfy the criteria of RPEEE is a high-level estimate and is not an attempt to estimate mineral reserves.
Eric Allard, president and chief executive officer, commented:
"With this mineral resource estimate, Tantalex Lithium now enters a select group of near-term lithium producers. Our relatively easy and low-cost mining process gives us an incredible advantage on our speed to market compared to other lithium peers.
"With SC6 lithium prices likely set to remain above $4,000 (U.S.)/t for the next six to eight years, our focus is now to bring an initial production of 100,000 tons per annum of SC6 to market by 2025. With no offtake agreements yet entered into, our project is currently attracting important offtaker interest."
The Manono tailings project is composed of 11 technogenic deposits made up of the reject LCT (lithium-cesium-tantalum) pegmatite material processed at the Manono-Kitotolo mine from 1919 to the mid-1980s.
Tailings from the Manono-Kitotolo mine were deposited on ground adjacent to the various open pits. The coarse tailings were deposited over several years into raised heaps that reach, in some dumps, a maximum height of 70 metres above surface. The fine tailings material was deposited into flat terraces adjacent to the coarse tailings dumps.
Geology and mineralization
The lithium mineralization is contained within technogenic deposits, consisting of 11 individual tailings dumps, of which five form part the mineral resource, namely Cc, Ic, Gc, Gf and K. The tailings deposits consist of a combination of processed pegmatite, laterite and clay material sourced from the historical Manono-Kitolo mine which operated from 1919 to the mid-1980s. The deposits vary in shape and size, with Cc, Ic and Gc being lobate in shape, extending 815 m by 580 m for the Cc dump, 530 m by 315 m for the Ic dump, and 500 m by 320 m for the Gc dump. The height of each dump varies, with some stacked up to 78 m high above the surrounding planes. The Gf and K dumps occupy a larger footprint, with the Gf extending 760 m by 530 m, up to a maximum thickness of 33 m, while the K dump has an extent of 700 m by 630 m, up to a maximum depth of 24 m. The K dump contains stacked tailings located in the northeast and eastern portions with a maximum vertical thickness of 45 m. Spodumene is the main lithium-bearing mineral.
Many of the tailings deposits are composite in nature, consisting of layers of pegmatite, laterite and/or clay layers. These layers were deposited by mechanical means, including most of the deposits denoted as fines, for the exception of the Hf and Gf deposits. These are assumed to have formed due to the settling of fine material in standing ponds of water as evidenced by the presence of clay layers in these deposits.
Sampling and mineral resource estimation techniques
The mineral resource estimate was based on geochemical analyses of samples obtained by aircore drilling undertaken by Tantalex from September, 2021, to July, 2022. A total of 368 drill holes have been drilled across nine tailings deposits, totalling 11,922.24 metres of drilling. The majority of the drill holes were collared on the K dump, with 2,120 metres drilled from 156 drill holes. Fifty drill holes were collared on the Gf dump, 34 on the Ic dump, 25 on the Gc dump and 20 drill holes were collared on the Ic dump.
Due to the nature and angle of repose of the stacked tailings, drilling on the slopes was not possible. Hence a majority of the material in the slopes has been included in the inferred category.
Samples were taken in one-metre intervals and composited to three metres. Three sample preparation protocols were used during the drilling campaign. The first protocol was used early in the program and involved crushing the sample down to two millimetres using a roll crusher, after which a 200-gram subsample was obtained from a Jones Riffle splitter. This 200 g sample was then subsampled by the cone-and-quartering
method to obtain a 100 g sample which was pulverized to better than 80 per cent passing 75 mum. The crushing, splitting and pulverizing were carried out on site by Tantalex. The second sample preparation protocol involved the crushed 200 g subsample being prepared on site and then transported to the Congolese Analytical Laboratory (COAL) in Lubumbashi where the subsample was pulverized to 85 per cent passing 75 mum. For the third protocol in the latter part of the project, 400 g of sample were submitted to COAL where it was crushed to a two mm size fraction using a bench-top jaw crusher and then pulverized to 85 per cent passing 75 mum.
The samples were subjected to a quality assurance and control (QAQC) program consisting of the insertion of certified reference materials (CRMs), blanks and the inclusion of coarse duplicates. The primary laboratory assay results were confirmed by duplicate samples assayed at a second laboratory. Check samples selected by the QP were used for further confirmation of the lithium assay values and the QP is satisfied that the results are of sufficient accuracy and precision for use in mineral resource estimation.
Three-dimensional volumes of the tailings were constructed using drill hole data. The lithium grades were estimated into block models using ordinary kriging for the low-lying material of the K dump. The stacked material of the K dump and the Cc, Gc, Gf and Ic dumps were estimated using inverse distance weighting. Average densities were assigned to each material type.
A summary of the HLS results is available in the attached table. The HLS test produced concentrate grades of 6.5 per cent Li2O spodumene at overall recoveries across the size range of 47 per cent and 63 per cent for G dump and K dump respectively. The testwork did not produce an SC6 product from the C dump this requiring further investigation. These results are for all the dump material with a PSD smaller than five mm.
The lithium recoveries increased with size fraction while the tin and tantalum required further liberation to improve recoveries.
Filling of report
The National Instrument 43-101-compliant technical report will be filed on SEDAR within the next 45 days.
The qualified person for the mineral resource estimate is Rui Goncalves (BSc, Hons, MSc (Eng)), who is a geologist with 13 years of experience in base and precious metals exploration, mining geology and mineral resource estimation. He is a senior mineral resource consultant for The MSA Group (an independent consulting company), is registered with the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP) and is a member of the Geological Society of South Africa (GSSA). Mr. Goncalves has the appropriate qualification and experience to be considered a qualified person for the style and type of mineralization and activity being undertaken as defined in National Instrument 43-101 -- Standards of Disclosure of Mineral Projects.
Neither Mr. Goncalves nor any associates employed in the preparation of the mineral resource report have any beneficial interest in Tantalex Lithium Resources. These consultants are not insiders, associates or affiliates of Tantalex. The results of the report are not dependent upon any prior agreements concerning the conclusions to be reached, nor are there undisclosed understandings concerning any future business dealing between Tantalex and the consultants. The consultants are to be paid a fee for their work in accordance with normal professional consulting practices.
Rui Goncalves, PrSciNat, is the qualified person and has reviewed and approved this press release. The information in this press release that relates to the estimate of the mineral resources for the Manono tailings project is based upon, and fairly represents, information and supporting documentation compiled by Mr. Goncalves.
About Tantalex Lithium Resources Corp.
Tantalex Lithium is an exploration- and development-stage mining company engaged in the acquisition, exploration, development, and distribution of lithium, tin, tantalum and other high-tech mineral properties in Africa.
It is currently focused on developing its lithium assets in the prolific Manono area in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; the Manono lithium tailings project and the pegmatite corridor exploration program.
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