Iris Metals (ASX: IR1) ASX-listed share price is currently standing at $2.14 having surged 38 per cent (10:59 UTC +8 hours) today as the explorer returned multiple wide, high-grade and shallow lithium intersections up to 60m @ 1.21% Li₂O at its Beecher Project, drawing investor attention to the promising South Dakotan project.
Wide High-Grade Lithium
Assays returned are from the first six holes from a total 38-hole reverse circulation drilling program undertaken to confirm the Project’s potential to host an economic lithium deposit targeted pegmatite strike extensions for the historic Longview, Beecher and Black Diamond Lithium Mines, with top intersections from the first six holes including:
o 54m @ 1.30% Li₂O (true width) from 1m in BDH-23-009, including:
▪ 35m @ 1.58% Li₂O from 4m and
▪ 13m @ 2.10% Li₂O from 24m
o 40m @ 1.10% Li₂O (true width) from 48m in BDH-23-002, including:
▪ 11m @ 1.53% Li₂O from 48m and
▪ 10m @ 1.97% Li₂O from 78m
Figure 1: Cross section showing reported lithium intersections
Significant near-surface mineralisation was hit in all six of these initial holes which covered 240m of the Longview pegmatite’s 500m mapped strike length, with the Company noting that these results do not include the significant 88m downhole width pegmatite intersection it returned from Longview last week.
Historic Black Hills
While the Company is still awaiting results from the remaining 32 holes, which it expects to be delivered over the coming weeks, these excellent initial results have given Iris cause to begin planning additional exploration by indicating that all three major pegmatite bodies remain open both along strike and at depth, giving it the potential to extend known mineralisation even further.
Iris is now in the process of fast-tracking a diamond drill rig to the site to continue testing pegmatites along strike and at depth, with applications being prepared for additional drill pads to facilitate this additional drilling.
Diamond drilling will also provide metallurgical and geotechnical samples for planned mining feasibility studies which will be critical as the Company moves to develop the promising Project, already holding permitted mining licences across the Project and enabling it to begin mining activities at its election should it be feasible.
Completion of this initial drilling campaign is a massive step forward for both the Project and the Company since it returned to the ASX in June following an oversubscribed $15 million dollar capital raise, with these initial results providing more validation to the shift in strategy Iris made to focus on its South Dakotan lithium projects
The Company first acquired Beecher in March alongside the historic Edison Lithium Project in an acquisition the Company claimed as “transformational,” making it the largest lithium claim holder in the legendary Black Hills region with a staggering 42 thousand acres of lithium prospective land to its name.
The Company said these broad near-surface results bolster its confidence in both the Beecher Project and the Black Hills region as being of great importance to supplying the US’ growing demand for lithium and it appears investors agree, with IR1’s share price being at it’s highest since the start of the year.
“These first drill holes are testing only a tiny portion of the Company’s 2,400+ mining claims staked over fertile LCT pegmatites that were historically mined for lithium from the 1940s,” Technical Director Chris Connell said.
“As IRIS is the only ASX-listed company with granted hard rock lithium pegmatite mining licences in the US, we currently are aggressively ramping-up drill testing of the Beecher Project. Importantly, wide, high-grade results from the surface will support mining to a low mining strip ratio which is of enormous benefit to mining economics, combined with granted mining licences.”