ioneer Ltd (ASX:INR) has increased the JORC resource estimate for its 100% owned Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project in Nevada, US.
The project’s overall resource now stands at 154 million tonnes for 1.3 million tonnes of lithium carbonate and 12.4 million tonnes of boric acid.
The upgrade represents an increase of 200,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate and 3.8 million tonnes of boric acid.
Comparison with previous JORC resource estimate
Notably, the increase in the boric acid grade in the Measured Resource equates to increased boric acid revenue of US$12/tonne of ore processed based on the PFS assumptions.
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ioneer’s managing director Bernard Rowe said: “This upgraded Mineral Resource is exactly what we were aiming to achieve with the 2018/2019 drill program at Rhyolite Ridge.
“The higher confidence Measured Resource relates to the planned starter pit and due to the significantly higher grades, we can expect to see a material increase in the projected early operating cash flows.
“The total Resource has continued to grow with step-out drilling to the south where both the lithium and boron grades are some of the highest we have seen in the deposit.
“The lithium-boron mineralisation remains open to the south where it continues to be shallow and we expect further increases to the Resource with additional drilling.
“With the recent focus by the US Government on ensuring the supply of critical minerals, ioneer is well placed to become the first major domestic supplier of lithium to the American electric vehicle industry.”
DFS expected to be complete next quarter
The definitive feasibility study (DFS) is expected to be complete in the September quarter and will build on the October 2018 PFS that forecast a two-stage mine with a life of over 30 years.
The planned starter pit being developed as part of the DFS is expected to provide stronger cash flows in the early years of the project compared to the PFS.
These improved cash flows will become evident upon completion of the updated mine plan and schedule currently being undertaken as part of the DFS.