- Arcadia updated on the progress of the regional study for the district-scale lithium in brines at the Bitterwasser Lithium Project.
- Arcadia has planned a systematic work program for the project to be undertaken in several phases.
- Exploration work would include stratigraphic drilling of the basin, airborne geophysics and expansion drilling of the existing clay JORC mineral resource.
- On target definition of potential lithium brine aquifers, the Company would look to follow up with drilling.
- Water sampling of groundwater and hot springs to estimate mineralogical content and potential to harvest geothermal energy would also be undertaken, followed by drill targeting of geothermal structures.
Diversified minerals exploration company progressing on Tantalum, Lithium, Nickel, Copper and Gold projects, Arcadia Minerals Ltd (ASX:AM7, FRA:8OH) has shared a significant update about its Bitterwasser Lithium Project.
The substantial update on the project coincides with the persisting strong lithium market amid booming demand for lithium for energy storage. In early May, lithium carbonate in China traded at RMB462,500 a tonne. Since the beginning of 2022, lithium prices have rallied sharply on the back of booming demand from electric vehicles.
Geological literature and the latest exploration at Bitterwasser
The company reported the progress of the regional study of the Bitterwasser project and highlighted the possibility of the presence of an extensive lithium-in-clay and lithium-in-brines minerals system. Mineralisation systems are interpreted to arise from underlying lithium-bearing basement rocks, activated by geothermal activity to make its way to sedimentary-clay environments and sub-terranean Bitterwasser brine aquifers.
The academic literature review confirmed large rift-related fault structures at the project had defined the Bitterwasser Basin. The entire Basin is held by Arcadia’s associated companies, Bitterwasser Lithium Exploration (Pty) Ltd and Brines Mining Exploration Namibia (Pty) Ltd. The Bitterwasser Basin is a very large basin, stretching over 403,000 hectares. Arcadia believes that a systematic and phased exploration program would optimise the potential of lithium in brine discovery at the basin.
With exploration commencing at the Bitterwasser Basin, Arcadia is yet to test targets at 12m or more beneath the surface and extensively explore the Eden Pan, a 2 by 5km area which only represents 19% of all the exposed clay pan surfaces identified at the project to date.
An extensive review of the available geological literature and the latest exploration at Bitterwasser confirmed –
- Vast tectonic rift-related fault structures with a closed basin (the Kalkrand half-graben), similar to the Clayton Valley in Nevada
- Basement rocks amenable to Lithium-rich source rocks for sub-terranean and already proven lithium-enriched sedimentary clay pans.
Lithium-in-clay mineralisation is associated with rift-related fault structures and is possibly caused by a fluctuating lithium-enriched water table. Historical water borehole samples at the property contain saline water with high Boron and Potassium content that is typically present at lithium brine deposits.
Arcadia’s geological model of the Bitterwasser Basin Source: Arcadia Minerals 9 May 2022
The geological model has been developed to refine and progress Arcadia’s work to include -
▪ Stratigraphic drilling to determine basin parameters
▪ The water sampling of groundwater and hot springs to estimate mineralogical content and potential to harvest geothermal energy
▪ Airborne geophysical surveys to delineate basin aquifer targets
▪ Focused drilling program to test potential trap sites of lithium in brine aquifers and additional lithium clay layers
Arcadia has planned a systematic work program for the project to be undertaken in several phases. The exploration work would focus on easily accessible and relatively inexpensive existing lithium-in-clay mineralisation to explore it to the fullest extent. It is possible with an objective to expand the existing clay JORC mineral resource (15.1 Mt @ 828 ppm Li + 1.79% K at a cut-off grade of 680 ppm Li). Concurrently, the exploration program would also explore Lithium-in-Brine mineralisation at the project.
Exploration activities have been planned in four phases –
- Phase 1 (Completed) – The acquisition and consolidation of all historical geology, geohydrology, geochemical and geophysical data for the lithium project and its surroundings
- Phase 2 (Completed) – The construction of a comprehensive geological and geohydrological model of the regional and the local Bitterwasser System.
- Phase 3 (Ongoing) – Stratigraphic drilling to develop a geological section of the basin, and airborne geophysical surveys to delineate potential trap sites for lithium-in-clay mineralisation and define lithium-in-brines mineralisation at depth.
- Phase 4 (Planned) – Focused drilling activity of potential trap sites to determine the volume and the grade of brines.
- Phase 5 (Under Planning) - Target and drill geothermal structures for potentially harvesting energy that could have a substantial ESG impact.
Arcadia believes that a structured and phased approach would minimse exploration risk and help optimise the company’s funds.