Blenheim Natural Resources Plc, the AIM-quoted investing company, is pleased to announce that it has received the results for the second stage of the exploration programme being executed across its lithium portfolio in southwest Mali. Blenheim has exposure to these exploration permits through its 40% and 30% shareholdings in Xantus Inc and Nashwan Holdings Limited respectively.
· Geological Reconnaissance including systematic mapping and sampling, was undertaken by Sahara Mining Services (Sahara) across four lithium exploration permits in southwest Mali.
· Permits are located in close proximity to Birimian Limited’s and Kodal Minerals Plc’s project areas, both of which have made significant lithium discoveries.
· 53 samples were collected from outcropping pegmatites across the permits with 16 confirming elevated levels.
· Elevated Li2O in the pegmatites show the potential for better grades to be identified at depth or along strike.
· Following the positive indications from the initial field reconnaissance, further exploration will now commence to test for high grade Li2O below the extensive tropically weathered surface.
· The planned programme will provide sampling for 90% of the prospective permit area, testing for hidden mineralisation below the soil cover. The initial geological reconnaissance covered less than 5% from available outcropping rocks.
· Follow up exploration including auger drilling to test the potential higher grade subsurface mineralisation will commence during Q1 2018.
Blenheim Chairman, Chris Ells, commented, “We are pleased with the progress being made across the West African lithium projects and with these latest results which confirm the potential of the projects. It is encouraging that anomalous lithium values have been obtained in several sampled locations. We are therefore optimistic about the future potential of Blenheim’s West African lithium interests as they progress to the next stage of exploration. We look forward to receiving further positive results and updating our shareholders.”
Beau Nicholls of Sahara commented, “Sahara is a West African focussed consultancy business providing Exploration Project Management services to a number of ASX Lithium and Gold Explorers working in Mali and across West Africa. Sahara have managed the first pass geological reconnaissance completed to date. The permits are located in favourable host rocks similar to, and in close proximity to peer lithium explorers in the region. Sahara geologists have identified pegmatitic rocks (host rocks for Li2O) that have returned above background Li2O. This result combined with the regional geology setting, is a positive indication to finding mineralised pegmatites below the majority cover. Auger geochemistry has been very successfully applied by ASX clients in the same region”
Following a one-month reconnaissance and sampling survey, completed in Q4 2017, the samples collected were submitted to the SGS laboratory in Bamako for sample preparation and then shipped to SGS South Africa for analysis by ICP-MS.
This reconnaissance campaign follows the Stage 1 Geographic Information System (GIS) and geophysical interpretation of the existing geophysical data, during which six pegmatite outcrop clusters were identified and sampled on three of the four permits.
Sahara’s scope of work included first pass reconnaissance mapping and sampling which includes traversing through the permits with an emphasis on the target areas identified during Stage 1; drawing maps detailing the locations of pegmatite outcrops encountered; sampling all pegmatite outcrops to submit for multi-element analysis; making recommendations regarding further work to be completed for each permit.
The SYSMIN Project geological mapping of the area characterises the geology as Proterozoic-age granitoid complexes, volcano-sedimentary conglomerates, greywacke formations and flysch-type sedimentary rocks, and granitic intrusive rocks. Metasediments, granites, diorite and volcanic dykes are mapped. Granites, quartz-pegmatite, metasediments, granodiorite, metagreywackes, greywackes, granitic intrusives, limited glassy quartz veins and pegmatite dykes were encountered during the fieldwork.
The samples have returned elevated Li2O in the pegmatites. Additional work is now required to test for higher grade material below the effects of weathering. Lithium and associated minerals such as tin and tantalite are often zoned along strike and by elevation. They are also controlled by distance from granites.
The lithium projects are located within <40km from Birimian Limited’s Goulamina project (contiguous to the Dieba Concession) which has a mineral resource of 15.5 Mt at 1.48% Li2O. Additionally, Kodal Minerals Plc’s Bougouni Lithium project (the Kolassokoro and Madina concessions) is contiguous to the Djidje and Nimisilla permits. Kolassokoro and Madina have recorded lithium grades >2% Li2O from RC and diamond drilling programmes.
Sahara have concluded from the work undertaken that the Company’s Bougouni lithium projects are prospective for lithium due to their proximity to known lithium projects in the region, the identification of pegmatites and elevated (above background) Li2O defined in the first pass grab samples.
BNR owns 40% of Xantus Inc, and 30% interest in Nashwan Holdings Limited with exploration permits located in the Bougouni district of southwest Mali. Bougouni district is in the administrative region of Sikasso. The town of Bougouni is 170km to the south of Bamako, and 210km to the west of Sikasso town.
Competent Persons Statement
The exploration results and activity reported in this announcement are based on information compiled by Mr Michael Cantey (BSc Geology, Member of the Australasian Institute of Geoscientists). Mr Cantey is a full-time employee of Sahara Mining Services and has sufficient experience which is relevant to the style of mineralisation and type of deposits under consideration and to the activities undertaken to qualify as a Competent Person under AIM Guidance for Mining and Oil & Gas Companies and as defined in the 2012 edition of the Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves. Mr Cantey consents to the inclusion in the release of the statements based on his information in the form and context in which they appear.
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