Premier African receives initial maiden resource estimate from Zulu Lithium project

Premier African Minerals Limited released a  report of its maiden SAMREC compliant Mineral Resource Estimate ("MRE") on its wholly-owned Zulu Lithium and Tantalum project ("Zulu") in Zimbabwe, a country with a long-established history of lithium production.
 
Highlights:
•Maiden SAMREC Compliant Inferred Mineral Resource Estimate of 20.1 million tonnes @ 1.06 % Li2O and 51 ppm Ta2O5 using a cut-off grade of 0.5% Li2O.
•Containing 526,000 tonnes of Lithium Carbonate Equivalent ("LCE") and 1,025 tonnes of Tantalum Pentoxide.
•Maiden Resource Estimate covers only 35% of Zulu's known 3.5km surface strike length and drilling continues to upgrade and expand this Mineral Resource Estimate.
•Deposit remains open at depth and along strike.
•Exploration target has the potential to increase the maiden Mineral Resource Estimate.
•Metallurgical test work underway.
 
George Roach, Chairman and CEO of the Company, commented, "We are extremely pleased with this initial maiden resource estimate, which reinforces our belief that Zulu is a very significant new lithium deposit with all the hallmarks of a world-class lithium project. The maiden inferred mineral resource estimate is based on our initial 2,511m exploration drilling programme which was focussed on only 1,200m of the southern part of the known 3.5km strike length of the project. The drilling programme confirms that the deposit remains open at depth and on strike.
 
"We commenced an extended drilling programme focussed on infill drilling in the southern part of the deposit as well as step out drilling of various areas along the 3.5km known strike length, which we believe to host further substantial lithium mineralisation. To date, the results have been very good and we are looking forward to delivering further additions to our resource inventory in the coming months and laying the foundations for a substantial, long-life strategic metal business."

Mineral Resource Estimate:

The Mineral Resource Estimate ("MRE") is based on assay results of 20 diamond drill holes totalling 2,511 metres drilled between September 2016 and February 2017, as well as the results of 3 deeper diamond drill holes drilled in 2011.  The Mineral Resource Estimate was carried out by Mr. Gerard Evans, Resource Geologist with the Company, using Datamine resource modelling software.  
 
The geological model is based on the drill hole data and surface observations. A process called Dynamic Anisotropy was utilised so that integrity of the varying strike and dip of the ore body was maintained. The resulting resource model is currently classified as inferred in the model at this stage due to the erratic nature of the ore and spatial distribution of the drill holes. Further drilling, currently underway, is designed to increase the confidence in the resource to the indicated category and expand the inferred mineralisation envelope.
 
The maiden Mineral Resource Estimate set out in Table 1 below is prepared in accordance with SAMREC and in compliance with Appendix 3 of the AIM Note for Mining and Oil & Gas Companies - June 2009.

Exploration Target:

The deposit has not been closed off by drilling and mineralisation remains open along strike and at depth. Additionally, it is possible that more mineralised pegmatites will be discovered in the area east of the southern pegmatites. This region is covered by a thick soil layer, however, during the harvest in May 2017 a new massive petalite pegmatite was discovered which will be the subject of additional drilling later this year.
 
In the north, outcrops are scarce and the pegmatites cannot be followed in a way that would justify immediate additional drilling. The area presumed to be underlain by more pegmatites will first be covered by a Mobile Metal Ion ("MMI") geochemical survey before new drill targets may be delineated.
 
In the coming months, diamond drilling will continue to be carried out in the southern zone where the outcropping mineralisation and trenching from the 1950s justify further drilling. To improve our level of confidence and to establish a continuity of the mineralisation along strike it will require a further 8,000 to 10,000 metres of drilling. Deep drilling is not planned at this stage, as the initial target is an open pit mining operation. Earlier, relatively deep, inclined drilling to depths of up to 524 metres confirmed the presence of spodumene bearing pegmatites down to vertical depths of more than 200 metres.
 
Due to the current Mineral Resource Estimate being in excess of 20 million tonnes based on diamond drilling conducted to date, Premier believes the exploration target for Zulu to be between 60-80 million tonnes. An exploration target is conceptual in nature and there has been insufficient exploration to estimate a Mineral Resource Estimate in compliance with SAMREC and it is uncertain if further exploration will result in the estimation of a Mineral Resource as defined by SAMREC.
 
In addition, the Company is in the process of delineating more prospective ground for lithium bearing pegmatites.
 
About Zulu:

The Zulu Lithium Project comprises 14 mineral claims covering a surface area of 3.5 km² which are prospective for tantalum and lithium mineralisation. The project is located 80 km as the crow flies east of Bulawayo. Fort Rixon is some 15 km further to the west of the project; the nearest village is Pioneer village n°2, some 1 km to the south.    
 
Lithium Mineralisation at Zulu:

To date, three principal lithium bearing minerals, spodumene, petalite and lepidolite are known from the Zulu pegmatites.  Locally the host rocks of the pegmatites contain also noteworthy amounts of holmquistite, a lithium bearing amphibole.
 
The pegmatites of the southern parts of the concession are dominated by petalite, those pegmatites found further north are dominated by spodumene. The quantitative mineralogy of mineralised petalite pegmatites and their mineralised host rocks, as well as the mineralised spodumene pegmatites and their mineralised host rocks is given in Table 3 below.

To determine the mineralogical composition, four weighted composite samples were prepared: a lower cut off was 0.25% Li2O was applied, for each 10 cm of mineralised core 1.0 g of previously pulverised material was weighed. All samples were thoroughly mixed and re-pulverised to obtain four representative samples.

The four samples were re-assayed by SGS, both pegmatite samples contain approximately 1% Li2O on average, the host rock samples contain some 0.32% Li2O on average.

Tantalum Mineralisation at Zulu:

Most of the lithium bearing pegmatites at Zulu are only comparatively weakly mineralised with tantalum. The only tantalum bearing mineral observed to date, is tantalite-Mn. High grade tantalum mineralised pegmatite veins occur mainly in the northern part of the concession. The highest tantalum grades of up to 803 ppm Ta2O5 are observed in so-called albitites. These are products of intense sodium metasomatism at the contact with pegmatite veins.

Exploration History:

The pegmatite was first pegged in 1955 by J.S. Willemse.  Rhodesian Selection Trust Co. Ltd. ("RST") took an option on the claims and carried out an extensive drilling and excavation programme. Though much development work was carried out, Rhodesian Selection Trust declined to exercise their option on the claims. In 1961 and 1962 a small quantity of petalite was mined by W. Burchett in partnership with J.S. Willemse.
In 2010, after decades of no activity, consulting geologist Richard B. Dollar registered the claims in his name and subsequently carried out diamond drilling and trenching financed by Premier. In 2013, the Company exercised an option to acquire the claims.

Mineral Tenement and Land Tenure Status:

The Zulu concession comprises 14 mineral claims owned to 100% by Premier African Minerals. The mineral property is in good standing and there is no known impediment to obtaining a license to operate.
 
Drilling Techniques and Hole Spacing:
In 2011, six diamond drill holes totalling 2,236 metres were drilled by Ox Drilling, Zambia. Core diameters were PQ (85mm) PQ3 (83mm) and HQ (63.5mm). The aim of this drilling campaign was to establish continuation of the pegmatite mineralisation at depth. 1,153 metres of these 6 holes have been surveyed in early 2017 by the new drilling contractor as this had not been done in 2011. The deeper parts of the holes had partly collapsed.
 
The first round of the new diamond drilling programme totalling 2,511 metres for 20 holes started in September 2016 and finished in February 2017. The Zimbabwean company Geodrill, Bulawayo, supplied and operated one and later two drill rigs.  A downhole survey was done on 2,415 metres of the drill holes. Close to surface the holes had HQ diameters, once in stable ground NQ (47mm) was used. 
 
Sampling:

The drill cores were safely packed at site and then transported to the RHA mine by truck. At the mine, the wet cores were photographed and subsequently logged by Wolfgang Hampel, Exploration Manager of Premier African Minerals. The core with visible or suspected mineralisation was marked, numbered and sawn in half, one half was sawn again in half. One quarter of the core was taken for geochemical analysis, the rest is stored at RHA's core shed for future reference.
 
The lengths of the sampled cores varied between 0.16m and 8.79m, depending on the lithology (pegmatite / host rock) and the homogeneity of the pegmatites. Markedly zoned pegmatites have been sampled according to their mineralogical composition.
 
Sample Analysis:

All sample preparation work was carried out at RHA's sample preparation facility at the mine. In a first step, every sample was dried and its density was determined using a density scale (weight wet / weight dry principle). All samples were crushed to -4mm in a jaw crusher and a 200 - 250g split-off was pulverised (minimum of 85% passing 75 microns). A 50g split-off was labelled and sent to SGS South Africa (Randfontein) for multi-element analysis (49 elements). SGS code ICM90A Multi Elements by sodium peroxide fusion, ICP-OES + ICP-MS finish. The sodium peroxide fusion technique is considered to be a "total" dissolution technique for lithium-bearing silicate and tantalum bearing oxide minerals. Detection limits for lithium are 0.01-10% and 0.5-10,000ppm for tantalum.

Certified Reference Material samples (AMIS0343) for lithium, tantalum, niobium, tin and uranium were introduced at a rate of 1:16. Blanks were introduced at the same rate; the blank was a massive barren quartz vein found some 8 km from the Zulu Prospect.
A number of core samples from the earlier 2011 drilling campaign have been re-assayed using the method described above. Initially, the samples of 2011 had only been dissolved using a multi-acid digestion, which is a semi-quantitative technique and not adequate to dissolve certain minerals as for example spodumene and tantalite.

Premier African Minerals Limited is an AIM-traded, multi-commodity resource and development Company focused on Southern and Western Africa.