Patriot Lithium (ASX:PAT) plan to accelerate its exploration program at the prospective Keystone and Tinton West Projects in the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming, following a successful reconnaissance which identified several areas of potential pegmatite hosted lithium mineralisation.
In August, the Company announced the completion of its initial reconnaissance mapping and sampling program at Black Hills, revealing the discovery of potentially fertile pegmatites at its Keystone Project in South Dakota, along with the identification of numerous fractured pegmatites through portable X-Ray Fluorescence (pXRF) readings.
Following these results, Patriot Lithium plans to complete and extend the sampling and mapping of the pegmatites identified potentially lithium fertile across the Keystone and Tinton West claims, with the aim of generating drill targets the Company can later exploit.
The Keystone Project
Patriot’s Keystone Project, which unveiled promising lithium-bearing pegmatite findings earlier this year, enjoys a strategic location just 3.5 kilometres from the historic Etta Lithium Mine. This Mine boasts a track record of high grades, including an impressive head grade of approximately 6.0% Li2O and the recovery of spodumene crystals exceeding 14 metres in length, marking them as the largest ever mined.
Figure 1: Initial area of interest in the Keystone Project, where potentially lithium-bearing pegmatites have been mapped.
The Keystone Project is also surrounded by historic mines Edison and Hugo which, along with Etta, are the largest and most significant lithium producers in the Black Hills.
The Company has outlined its priority at Keystone is to systematically map and sample the previously identified, potentially Li-bearing pegmatites, followed by additional exploration across the Keystone claim package to identify new outcrops not evident in satellite imagery.
Tinton West Project
Like the Keystone Project, Patriot’s Tinton West land claims lie adjacent and within pegmatite outcrops identified through historic mapping, with one of these outcrops, discovered in 1941, reportedly 465 metres long and up to 50 metres wide.
Patriot have outlined the current exploration program will initially focus on the historically identified outcrops then expand to locate new outcrops within its claim blocks.
Figure 2: Tinton West claim blocks, with outlines of pegmatites mapped by USGS and the location of the Giant Volney and Rough and Ready Sn-Ta-Li deposits. PAT is the largest LCT pegmatite-focused claim holder in the Tinton Inlier.
Additional Lithium Success
Patriot have also noted progress on its other lithium tenements, reporting the launch of Phase 3 follow-up exploration at the Gorman Project in Canada, to uncover the extent of its lithium-caesium-tantalum (LCT) pegmatite deposits, following significant rock sample results of 3.71% Li2O.
Figure 3: Figure showing Gorman G0-G3 pegmatite outcrops with photos from G1, G2 and G3.
The Company estimates the Keystone mapping and sampling program should take up to four weeks of field work, followed by an additional two weeks on the Tinton West tenements.
The rock chip and soil samples collected will then be sent for assaying with laboratory turnaround expected to be no longer than six weeks.
Only once the assays have been received, will the program results be assessed to define and prioritise drill targets.
Patriot Lithium’s CEO and Managing Director Nicholas Vickery said the Company is pleased to recommence exploration within the Black Hills portfolio following the exciting identification of potentially fertile lithium-bearing pegmatites at Keystone.
“[The Keystone Project] is only 3.5km from the historic high-grade Etta, Edison and Hugo Lithium mines and in the same region as Iris Metals’ Beecher project,” he said.
“The historic Etta mine operated from 1898 to 1960, recording a head grade of up to ~6.0% Li2O and yielded up to >14m-long spodumene crystals, believed to be the largest ever mined.”
“This program will systematically sample and map pegmatite intrusions identified as potentially lithium fertile across Patriot’s Keystone and Tinton West claims.”
“This follow up program is designed to help generate drill targets across Patriot’s Black Hills claims, particularly in areas where we have previously identified potentially Li-fertile pegmatite outcrops.”
PAT’s Australian Stock Exchange-listed share price is currently trading at 19 cents (10:15am UTC+ 8 hours).