Prior to publication, the information contained within this announcement was deemed by the Company to constitute inside information as stipulated under the UK Market Abuse Regulation. With the publication of this announcement, this information is now considered to be in the public domain.
Zinnwald Lithium plc / EPIC: ZNWD.L / Market: AIM / Sector: Mining
23 November 2022
Zinnwald Lithium plc
("Zinnwald Lithium" or the "Company")
Zinnwald Lithium plc, the German focused lithium development company, is pleased to provide an operational update as it advances its 100% owned Zinnwald Lithium Project (the "Project") in Germany towards its goal of a materially expanded Mineral Resource Estimate ("MRE") and completion of a Bankable Feasibility Study ("BFS") by the end of 2023.
· Completed 13 in-fill drillholes and 4,311m at core Zinnwald license - programme aims, inter alia, to assess the potential to accommodate greater mining capacity for expanded lithium output
o First assays from four drillholes include long mineralised intervals such as 2,503ppm Li over 86.4m and 1,846ppm Li over 121m within which there are several high-grade core intervals including of 4,286ppm Li over 4.6m and 4,345ppm Li over 6.5m
o Initial drill results support the plan to consider the Albite Granites (previously referred to as "Ore Type 2" in the recent Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA")) for the Mineral Resource and future mine plan, with potential to materially increase the total Mineral Resource
· Awaiting initial assay results at Falkenhain exploration license where the first drillhole has been completed to a depth of 600m
· Extended exploration license at Falkenhain by three years
· Advancing testwork related to production processes
o Confirmed ratios of high grade technical / fertiliser grade by-product that can be achieved, which will form the basis for higher level engineering studies
o Additional tests being undertaken to confirm the mineral processing assumptions for Albite Granites as part of the future mining feed
· Completed environmental surveys at areas under consideration for the Project, which will be utilised to determine the scope of the Environmental Impact Assessment ("EIA")
· Strengthening relationships with leading partners:
o SRK Consulting UK Ltd - providing Competent Person ("CP") support and guidance for the Project
o TheiaX GmbH - assisting with cutting edge hyperspectral scanning of drill-core to be used in the geo-metallurgical optimisation of the Project
o Metso Outotec - providing expert support in advancing the mineral processing concept and engineering
o Epiroc - developing plans for an electrically powered mining operation
o GICON / GLU - supporting in the permitting process of mining assets in the state of Saxony
· As at the date of this announcement, the Company has funds on hand of €4.4 million
Zinnwald Lithium CEO, Anton du Plessis, said: "We continue to make excellent progress advancing multiple workstreams, including drilling, testwork and permitting, with the aim of publishing a BFS by the end 2023; this will further quantify the economic returns of the recently published PEA, which reported a pre-tax NPV8 of US$1,605m, IRR of 39.0%, $192m EBITDA and a payback of 3.3 years.
"Accordingly, initial results from an in-fill drill programme at our key deposit to optimise the mine plan and build the scale of our lithium hydroxide output have supported the potential to apply larger scale mining methods that can deliver higher economic returns. Furthermore, testwork programmes related to mineral processing and by-product production are making headway, while studies to advance the various permit applications including the EIA are also advancing. We hope to keep up the pace of activity as we move into 2023."
Zinnwald Lithium has made good progress advancing its 100% owned Zinnwald Lithium Project in Germany as it looks to become an important supplier of lithium hydroxide to Europe's fast-growing battery sector.
The Company's plan is to complete a BFS by the end of 2023, subject to financing, with a key interim stage being the completion of an updated MRE. The Project's historic MRE was based solely on the Greisen beds and excluded the Albite Granites. One of the goals of the ongoing in-fill drilling programme is to materially increase the MRE, which could, in turn, accommodate greater mining capacity for an expanded Li-product output. Historic estimates quantified the tonnage potential of the Albite Granites alone at above 200Mt, an estimate that the Company is working to verify.
1. Resource Development
Zinnwald Lithium Deposit
The Company is progressing an in-fill drilling campaign at its core Zinnwald Lithium license area (see RNS dated 27 July 2022) to study the mining scale variability of the ore with the view of applying larger scale mining methods.
To date a total of 4,311m over 13 drillholes have been completed with assays received for 592 m in four of these drillholes. Drilling results have shown a high degree of grade continuity within the Albite Granite lithology. These also include significant levels of lithium ("Li") bearing mineralisation that were excluded from the previous MRE from 2018. The Company intends to further investigate the option to include this material in a future update to the MRE.
First assays include long mineralised intersections such as 2,503ppm Li over 86.4m and 1,846ppm over 121m as well as high grade core intervals of 4,345ppm over 6.5m and 4,243ppm over 9.0m. Selected assay intervals are included below. While the first drill-holes have focussed on the western side of the deposit, they confirm the prospect of applying larger scale mining methods.
The Albite Granite rock indicates favourable geotechnical strength parameters with good core recovery and Rock Quality Designation ("RQD") values typically above 90. This is a crucial metric for the application of high productivity mining methods, which are expected to be a key driver of the Project's potential economic returns. One of the objectives of this drill campaign is to further strengthen the geotechnical dataset of the deposit, which will be a key input into future mine planning activities.
On-going hyperspectral results are now being gathered in conjunction with the logging, cutting and sample preparation of the drill core. This includes the application of AI-driven computer processing of hyperspectral images of drill core. The inclusion of geo-metallurgical testing at this stage is critical for the optimisation of mineral processing design and mine planning.
Highlights of Zinnwald In-fill drilling
To test priority geological targets, the Company decided to focus the first drill-holes on the western side of the deposit, with over 300m long holes aimed to identify the contact between the Rhyolite host rock and the Albite Granite, which hosts the Greisen style mineralisation. In addition, the distribution of high-grade Greisen pockets where grades commonly exceed 4,000ppm Li have been of interest.
Continuous mineralisation intercepts exceeding 1,000ppm Li were selected to highlight the dimensions of the mineralisation. The high-grade selection was based on lithology and a minimum length of four meters.
The first results from this programme include the following and confirm the expectations regarding high grades in the Greisen:
· Drillhole ZGLi- 024 - 135.79-227.00m (91.21m) Average 1,786ppm Li
· Drillhole ZGLi- 025 - 93.00m-97.60m (4.60m) Average 4,286ppm Li
· Drillhole ZGLi- 025 - 111.00-232.00m (121.00m) Average 1,846ppm Li
· Drillhole ZGLi-026 - 166.60-253.00m (86.40m) Average 2,503ppm Li
o Including 209.00-218.00mm (9.00m) Average 4,243ppm Li
· Drillhole ZGLi-028 - 54.77-107.60m (52.83m) Average 2,587ppm Li
o Including 74.47-81.00m (6.53m) Average 4,345ppm Li
Falkenhain Exploration drilling
During September, the Company was informed by the Saxony Mining Authority ("SOBA") that its application to extend its exploration license at Falkenhain was successful. The exploration license is now valid until the 31 December 2025. This exploration licence is located 7km north from the core Zinnwald License.
The Company is currently undertaking an exploration drill programme consisting of ten diamond drill holes at the Falkenhain license to test historic drill data and better determine the deposit's resource potential. The first exploration drill hole has been completed to a depth of 600m and the Company is awaiting the initial assay results.
2. Testwork related to Production Processes
The technical scoping study for potassium sulphate ("SOP) and precipitated calcium carbonate ("PCC") product optimisation has been completed, which confirmed the ratios of high grade technical / fertiliser grade SOP products that can be achieved. This work specifically considered the operational aspects of producing various quantities of SOP products and will form the basis for higher level engineering studies.
Additional tests to further confirm the mineral processing assumptions for the Albite Granites as part of the future mining feed are being undertaken at UVR FIA GmbH in Freiberg. This principally considers the processing characteristics, mineralogy, and geo-metallurgy of the Albite Granite, which also holds significant amounts of lithium bearing mineralisation.
3. Permitting / ESG / Sustainability Matters
The Company has started the process to secure its Mandatory Framework Operation Plan ("MFOP") permit required for the commencement of all operations. The MFOP permit includes all required environmental permits.
In line with its strict environmental policy, the Company is closely monitoring site conditions with regards to current drilling activities at the Zinnwald and Falkenhain licenses and frequent coordination meetings with the regional nature protection agency and environmental surveyors have been held. The preservation of the existing nature and areas of recreation is a key concern to the Company.
Additionally, this month, environmental surveys were completed at areas under consideration for the Project. The surveys will be utilised to determine the scope of the Environmental Impact Assessment ("EIA").
The Company maintains a positive relationship with the local community and continuously engages with various local organisations and authorities. As well as conducting a public information event about the Project in Zinnwald, local elected representatives are continuously updated about the progress of the drill-campaign and the Company's local site office in Zinnwald is almost permanently open to address any questions by local stakeholders. Furthermore, the Company has donated to several local associations and public institutions such as the local Kindergarten and the volunteer fire brigade.
SRK Consulting UK Ltd ("SRK")
SRK is providing CP support and guidance for the campaign. SRK is an independent, international consulting practice providing focused advice and solutions to clients, mainly in the earth and water resource industries offering specialist services for the entire lifecycle of a mining project from exploration to closure and across the full spectrum of mineral commodities.
TheiaX GmbH ("TheiaX")
Following on from initial tests completed earlier in 2022, the Company engaged TheiaX to carry out a large-scale tailored hyperspectral imaging and characterisation of historic and new drill cores from both the Zinnwald and Falkenhain license areas. When identifying and mapping the distribution of key minerals, TheiaX's products can be used to derive geometallurgical parameters.
TheiaX has its headquarters in Freiberg and is a recently established start-up company spun out from the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resources Technology.
Epiroc Rock Drills AB ("Epiroc")
As announced 1 November 2022, the Company entered into a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with Epiroc, a leading provider of electric and battery-operated mining solutions, to collaborate in the development of a state-of-the-art mine at the Project. Designing an underground mine to be operated with fully electrical equipment from the outset can provide material environmental and cost benefits in terms of reduced ventilation requirements, lower lifetime operating costs.
Metso Outotec Corporation ("Metso Outotec")
The Company has engaged Metso Outotec to assist it in further refining its process flow sheet ahead of delivery of the BFS. The scope of work includes verification of historic engineering, the development of a conceptual study to produce engineering deliverables to enable a smoother transition into basic engineering and support of further development stages of the Project. Within this, state-of-the-art solutions for water recycling and energy optimisation across mineral processing, pyro- and hydrometallurgical processes are essential deliverables for the Project.
Metso Outotec is a frontrunner in sustainable technologies, end-to-end solutions and services for the aggregates, minerals processing and metals refining industries globally. Headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, and listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki, Metso Outotec employs over 15,000 people in more than 50 countries and its sales for 2021 were about EUR 4.2 billion.
GICON® Großmann Ingenieur Consult ("GICON Group")
For support in all permitting matters, the Company has engaged Geologische Landesuntersuchung GmbH Freiberg ("GLU"), part of the GICON Group, which has extensive experience in the permitting process of mining assets in the state of Saxony.
The GICON Group is a group of independent, internationally operating engineering service providers. GICON's motto is "Sustainable and Innovative", and the companies of the Group provide complete interdisciplinary engineering services "from one source". GLU is an engineering service provider with broad geological, mining, and geotechnical expertise, that can plan and implement complex interdisciplinary projects. GLU contribute not only methodological, scientific, and technical know-how, but also extensive experience in the fields of mine planning and raw material exploration, as well as from the specialist areas of engineering geology and geotechnics.
The Company's near-term priorities are the completion of the in-fill and exploration drill campaigns. In addition, it is focused on the delivery of a BFS by the end of 2023, further building on the technical concept detailed in the PEA published in September 2022. The PEA demonstrated a robust Project with very attractive economics and the team is working hard to advance this to the next stage.
As at the date of this announcement, the Company has funds on hand of €4.4 million.
The technical information in this announcement has been reviewed on behalf of Zinnwald Lithium by Martin Pittuck CEng, FGS, MIMMM of SRK Consulting. Mr Pittuck is a Corporate Consultant of SRK Consulting Ltd. Mr Pittuck has sufficient experience relevant to the style of mineralisation and type of deposit under consideration, and to the activity which he is undertaking to qualify as a Competent Person in accordance with the guidance note for Mining, Oil & Gas Companies issued by the London Stock Exchange in respect of AIM Companies, which outlines standards of disclosure for mineral projects.
For further information visit www.zinnwaldlithium.com or contact:
Anton du Plessis
Zinnwald Lithium plc
+44 (0) 20 3328 5656
Oberon Capital Ltd
+44 (0) 20 3179 5300
Isabel de Salis
St Brides Partners
AIM quoted Zinnwald Lithium plc (EPIC: ZNWD.L) is focussed on becoming an important supplier of lithium hydroxide to Europe's fast-growing battery sector. The Company owns 100% of the Zinnwald Lithium Project in Germany, which has an approved mining licence, is located in the heart of Europe's chemical and automotive industries and has the potential to be one of Europe's more advanced battery grade lithium projects.
Reference to Ore / Lithology Types
In historic reporting and regulatory news releases, the Albite Greisen mineralisation, commonly surrounding the higher-grade greisen ore material has been referred to as "Ore Type 2". In this release, this material will be referred to as Albite Granite.