Piedmont Lithium has become the latest US-focused exploration company to use Micromine modelling to refine its mineral resource estimate – reporting a 47% increase in the process.
The company is on track to own the US’ largest spodumene orebody, located in the Carolina Tin-Spodumene Belt, in North Carolina, after increasing the mineral resource estimate to 27.9 Mt grading 1.11% Li2O, with further drilling to come, MICROMINE said.
The Piedmont lithium project is located along trend to the Hallman Beam and Kings Mountain mines, historically providing most of the western world’s lithium from the 1950s through the 1980s.
A scoping study on the project envisaged production of 22,700 t/y of lithium hydroxide over an initial 13-year mine life. This would involve a staged development to minimise up-front capital requirements and equity dilution, with stage 1 coming in at $109 million for the mine/concentrator and by-product circuits. Stage 2, for the chemical plant, would be funded largely by internal cash flow, the company said.
An estimated 74% of the mineral resource is located within 100 m of surface, while some 97% of the resource lies within 150 m of surface, according to MICROMINE. To date, drilling on the project’s 1,004 acre (406 ha) core property consists of 326 holes totaling 51,047 m, with the mineral resource estimate using all 326 holes. In general, drill spacing has ranged between 40 – 80 m, according to Piedmont.
Wireframe models of some 95 pegmatite dykes, a diabase dyke and one fault were created in Micromine by joining polygon interpretations made on cross sections and level plans spaced at 40 m. Weathering profiles, representing the base of saprolite and overburden, were modelled based on drill hole geological logging and a topographic digital terrain model was derived from a 2003 survey, MICROMINE said.
Micromine is an exploration and mine design solution offering integrated tools for modelling, estimation, design, optimisation and scheduling. It provides users with an in-depth understanding of their projects, so prospective regions can be targeted more accurately, increasing the chance of success, MICROMINE says.
The latest version of MICROMINE’s exploration and mine design solution, Micromine 2018, comprises 10 modules. “As a scalable and flexible solution, Micromine 2018 provides you with the flexibility to choose the functionality you need when you need it. Additionally, the application’s new 64-bit support means that you can work with more data than ever before,” the company said.
Micromine’s wireframing module enables very accurate models to be created that can be further analysed and interpreted to produce a precise estimation that aligns with industry codes of practice and standards, the company said.
Piedmont Lithium expects to complete its prefeasibility level metallurgical test work program, followed by a scoping study update, this month, MICROMINE reported.