Savannah Resources Plc (LON:SAV) Chief Executive Officer David Archer caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss the positive results from their Mina do Barroso lithium project in Portugal
Q1: Now, yesterday you released some encouraging results from the Phase II metallurgical test work at your Mina do Barroso lithium project in Portugal, can you talk us through these results?
A1: It’s the latest piece of news around a really very fast paced programme that we’ve got around our Portuguese lithium project in the northern part of Portugal. These were the metallurgical test work results that we’ve been getting from the work that’s been done in Australia on some of the material that’s been provided as a result of that drilling programme.
So, the results have been very encouraging, it shows that we can produce an industry standard 6% spodumene concentrate for these in much demand, international, by lithium convertors, particularly in China. They then use this material to produce lithium chemicals that go into batteries in things such as mobile phone but probably increasingly importantly into electric vehicles and electric commercial vehicles.
Q2: Similar to the highly successful Western Australian lithium producers, like you say, you’re focus is on spodumene, can you tell us more about that?
A2: There’s a whole series of lithium minerals that can be produced but spodumene is the mainstream lithium mineral, it’s the most traded lithium mineral in the world and in fact, all of the major producers of hard rock lithium in the world produce spodumene.
So, spodumene is the characteristic mineral that we have at our Mina do Barroso in Portugal and it’s a key feature, I suppose. It means that we’re very similar to the very successful hard rock spodumene miners in Western Australia who have secured very very favourable offtakes with Chinese groups and thus very favourable in with investment into their companies as well.
Q3: I know you’ve been very busy but going forward, when can we expect to see Phase III of the test work to begin and when do you think we can expect results from that?
A3: The next phase of the test work is underway at the moment and we’ll be updating the marketing when some sort of further key outcomes are achieved. A lot of that will then feed into a scoping study that we have underway at the moment which is being led by internationally regarded Hatch, which is a firm of consulting engineers who’ve got deep industry experience in the evaluation and processing of lithium ores.
Q4: What else can we look out for in the near term for Savannah Resources?
A4: Well, I think they’ll be a series of positive results that we’re looking forward to being able to release, the results from the Hatch scoping study will be particularly significant and that will the lead the way into a full feasibility study.
In parallel, we’ll be announcing further resource upgrades from Mina do Barroso and you might remember, it was only last week that we actually tripled the resource at Mina do Barroso from 3 million tonnes to 9.1 million tonnes, at just over 1% Li2O, we also defined an exploration target of between 8-12 million tonnes, grading between 1 and 1.2 Li2O.
So, in aggregate, we’re looking at a project target which might be approaching something like 20 million tonnes which would be a very significant resource and could form the basis of a quite sizable lithium mine development in Portugal.