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Mineral Resources has announced early results of the first major exploration program at its Mt Marion lithium mine. Drilling results confirm significant exploration potential at depth, along strike and in the surrounding region.

Early results intersected lithium-bearing pegmatites at the North Pit deep extension, roughly 1km below the current Life of Mine design. MinRes also discovered pegmatites across other extensions at the site.

MinRes has conducted roughly 34km of drilling in 2023 as part of a six-drill rig campaign. Capacity is expected to double by the end of the year, with a 12-rig campaign planned for the following 18 months.

“The exciting exploration results at Mt Marion highlight we are just scratching the surface of the potential lithium resource, including the possibility of underground mining,” MinRes managing director Chris Ellison said.

Ganfeng agreement

The company also announced the early termination of an agreement with Ganfeng Lithium to convert Mt Marion spodumene concentrate into lithium battery chemicals in Ganfeng. The prior guidance of lithium battery chemicals for the year is consequently withdrawn, but MinRes will continue to share its spodumene to Ganfeng.

“The early termination of the Mt Marion toll treatment agreement with Ganfeng is a sensible outcome given prevailing market prices, with our world-class lithium assets well-placed to capitalise on growing demand,” Ellison said.

Striking gas

MinRes has announced a significant gas discovery at the company’s North Erregulla Deep-1 prospect in Perth, marking its second major gas discovery in the last two years.

Drilling commenced in April, yielding elevated gas readings and high rates of penetration, which indicated excellent conventional properties.

“The success at North Erregulla Deep-1 is another stride forward in our Perth Basin exploration campaign and our second significant natural gas discovery in less than two years,” Chris Ellison said.

MinRes has made headlines this week, after a worker was tragically killed at the company’s Onslow Iron project.