Iris Metals Confirm Major Lithium Discovery at Beecher Project

9 October 2023 12:37

Iris Metals (ASX:IR1) has announced assays from an additional 12 drillholes of a 50-hole RC drilling program completed at its Beecher Project in South Dakota, identifying a major new lithium discovery.


Figure 1: RC drill plan of hole locations.

Significant Results

Assays from 12 of the holes have been reported, with results from the final 20 holes of the Stage One drilling program imminent, and the additional results from 12 holes from Stage Two to follow.

Intersections include:

  • 78m @ 1.03% Li₂O (70m true width) from 19m in BDH-23-020, including:
    • 46m @ 1.36% Li₂O
    • 10m @ 2.00% Li₂O
  • 62m @ 1.02% Li₂O (60m true width) from 15m in BDH-23-011, including:
    • 25m @ 1.30% Li₂O
  • 27m @ 1.54% Li₂O from 9m in BDH-23-019, including:
    • 21m @ 1.81% Li₂O
  • 24m @ 1.00% Li₂O from 82m in BDH-23-017, including:
    • 17m @ 1.23% Li₂O

To further highlight the significant widths of mineralised pegmatite at the Beecher project, mineralisation in BDH-23-020 was returned over 105 metres for:

  • 105m @ 0.88% Li₂O (True width 93m) from 19m in BDH-23-020

Figure 2: Cross section showing reported lithium intersections.

The Drilling Campaign

The Beecher Project is located in South Dakota on a 15-acre patented claim, surrounded by 20,300 hectares of Bureau of Land Management staked claims

In August of this year, the inaugural RC drilling campaign at Beecher concluded, encompassing 38 holes across 4077 metres. Assay outcomes from this RC drilling unveiled substantial, expansive pegmatite encounters, underscoring the extensive project potential.

Following the maiden drilling of 38 holes, the Company completed an additional 12 RC holes at the Beecher Project with all samples sent to SGS laboratories in Canada.

A total of 50 RC holes have now been completed at the Project with all samples sent to SGS Laboratory in Canada for assaying.

The drilling demonstrates the continuation of shallow, broad lithium intersections which greatly boost the economics of the deposit.

A diamond drill rig is on site and has commenced drill testing deeper spodumene pegmatite extensions at the Beecher Project. Diamond core will also provide metallurgical and geotechnical samples to inform mining feasibility studies.

The assays returned demonstrate shallow, wide zones of the mineralised pegmatite further emphasise the potential economic advantages the Beecher Project has over deposits comprising thin, stacked pegmatites at depth. Mining dilution is one of the key factors negatively affecting recoveries in spodumene processing.

Future Outlook

Based on the drilling and results, Iris estimates the Black Diamond pegmatite is dipping back towards the east with the Longview pegmatite, and projected to intersect the Black Diamond pegmatite at around 180 metres below surface.

The Company intends to conduct future diamond drilling to test this theory.

A diamond drill is on site and has commenced drilling depth extensions and conceptual targets. Results for an additional 20 holes are expected imminently with a further 12 holes to be returned over coming weeks.

Iris also plans to source an additional diamond drill rig to to rapidly advance the Project towards a maiden resource estimation.

The Company says it will continue to assess and undertake due diligence on other South Dakota based tenure for acquisition with the potential to enhance and complement the existing portfolio.

Iris Metals Technical Director Chris Connell commented on the results.

“Some of the greatest challenges faced by current hard rock spodumene lithium mines is achieving good recoveries in the processing of the ore,” he said.

“A significant obstacle to spodumene recoveries is mining dilution with host country rock. The wide consistent mineralised zones of pegmatites at Beecher will mitigate dilution as a risk when mining the project.”

“Combining the likely positive recoveries with the shallow depths and consequent low mining strip ratios are extremely positive for likely Beecher economics. The Beecher project also provides speed to market with granted mining licences. With its granted mining permits, IRIS can fast track its plans to become the first modern day hard rock lithium mining company in the US.”

IR1’s Australian Stock Exchange-listed share price is currently trading at $1.70 (12.30pm UTC+ 8 hours).

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