Westwater Resources, Inc. has completed the Phase 1 exploration project at its lithium project in the Columbus Basin in Nevada and reports the following results:
- Three core holes were completed at the 14,200 acre Columbus Basin Project for a total of 3,870 ft. of drilling.
- The maximum drilled depth was 1,680 ft.
- Fluids with high total dissolved solids (TDS) were identified in all three holes.
- In-house laboratory work performed at our Kingsville, Texas facility returned lithium concentrations of up to 43 parts per million (ppm) and boron concentrations of up to 173 ppm.
- Planning is underway for a Phase 2 exploration program at the Columbus Basin Project. Westwater also notes that brines have been discovered near our claims by Caeneus Mineral Ltd. (“Caeneus”) with reported concentrations of up to 95.9 ppm lithium and 1,100 ppm boron at depths of 260-340 feet. As a result of our results and those reported by Caeneus, Westwater has filed a Notice of Intent to drill with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on the nearby Nina Claim Block of our Columbus Basin project. Westwater will drill this block as part of the Phase 2 exploration program. Also, as previously reported on August 22, 2017, Westwater has successfully secured all of the remaining water rights in the Columbus Basin from the State of Nevada, making the Columbus Basin’s water “fully allocated” as defined under state law. As a result, Westwater and a gold mining company with facilities in the western part of the basin, effectively controls all water within the Columbus Basin.
Christopher M. Jones, Westwater President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “With the completion of this initial phase of exploration at Columbus Basin, and the discovery of high lithium brines in the Columbus Basin by others, we are planning our Phase 2 program. In addition, we are also in the process of applying for a permit to explore our Sal Rica Project in Utah, where we have reported positive lithium results in a press release dated September 18, 2017.”
Sal Rica Exploration Planning
As previously announced (WWR New Release, Sept. 18, 2017), a brine sampling program at the Sal Rica Project was designed and implemented to infill previous shallow aquifer sampling completed by Mesa Exploration Corp. in 2016. The resultant combination of the new Westwater data and the existing Mesa Exploration data now provide shallow aquifer lithium concentration data on variable 1 to 2-mile centers, depending on site accessibility, across the entirety of the 13,260 acre project area. The map below presents the results of those sampling events in relation to Westwater’s claim block in the basin.
In addition to the recent groundwater sampling event, Westwater has also completed new geophysical interpretations of the Sal Rica Project area. This data is being integrated into a conceptual model of the exploration target, and will guide the ongoing planning of a drilling and hydrogeologic characterization program to further expand and define the shallow, lithium bearing, brine aquifer. So far, this work has outlined a strong lithium brine anomaly that covers an area of over twenty (20) square miles, with lithium values up to 100 ppm, all at shallow depths.
Westwater has commenced the permitting process with the BLM, and the State of Utah, to field an exploration program that optimizes project access and limits environmental disturbance, minimizes cost, and maximizes overall data quality.
A map accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/0ab4ebed-9f09-4a11-9a24-1914829f19f7
Columbus Basin Exploration Drilling
Exploration drilling at Columbus Basin commenced in late July 2017, and was completed in late October 2017. A total of three exploration drill holes were completed by a combination of core and mud rotary drilling methods. Total drill footage for the program was 3,870 ft., with a maximum drilled depth of 1,680 ft. in drill hole CB-004. Sampling included drill core, drill cuttings, groundwater grab samples, and samples of artesian groundwater flow. Groundwater samples were screened in the field for temperature, pH, conductivity, salinity, and TDS. All field work and sampling were overseen by Matt Hartmann, Director – Technical Services for Westwater.
Analysis of Columbus Basin groundwater samples leveraged Westwater’s in-house analytical laboratory in Kingsville, Texas. All groundwater samples were collected in duplicate with one sample immediately shipped to Westwater’s laboratory for quick-turn analysis. The second sample was held in secure storage for potential confirmatory sampling by an independent laboratory. A total of 22 groundwater samples were analyzed, with no samples exceeding the 50 ppm lithium concentration necessary to justify confirmatory independent analysis. The highest lithium concentration measured from samples collected during the exploration program was 43 ppm in drill hole CB-002 in a groundwater inflow grab sample collected at a depth of approximately 50 ft. (sample no. CBB-010). The same sample, CBB-010, had the highest concentration of boron at 173 ppm.
Groundwater analysis at Westwater’s Kingsville, Texas is completed by ICP-OES. Previous multi-element analysis of groundwater by Westwater, and confirmed by independent laboratory, has yielded excellent correlation. All analytical data presented in this new release was generated by the Westwater’s laboratory, and as discussed above, was not confirmed by an independent laboratory.