Lithium Power International (LPI) has announced that it has commenced a drilling programme at its East Kirup lithium prospect, part of the company’s Greenbushes project in Western Australia.
The East Kirup lithium project is located 20km northwest along the Donnybrook Shear Zone from Greenbushes, which is Australia’s largest lithium mine and is operated by Talison Lithium.
LPI’s inaugural drilling programme in the Greenbushes region, especially the East Kirup lithium project, is being carried out in alignment with an approved Conservation Management Plan (CMP). This means that the work suitably aligns with Western Lithium’s sustainable exploration and development practices. Moreover, the work is required to be completed in dry conditions to prevent the spread of phytophthora dieback, minimising the impact on native trees.
Currently, LPI is engaging with two drilling contractors, who have experience carrying out work in forested areas under tight environmental conditions. The rigs being used have a very small carbon footprint and solid removal equipment to minimise water usage.
The importance of drilling sustainably
Despite its potential to power a net-zero future, lithium extraction methods can cause great damage to the environment, with the metal often described as the non-renewable mineral that makes renewable energy possible. Extraction of the product causes several environmental defects, including water contamination and increasing carbon dioxide emissions.
However, like LPI, several companies are now taking the initiative to use environmentally sensitive extraction methods to protect local resources and nature.
Aims of the East Kirup project
The initial stages of the planned lithium project include 960m of reverse circulation drilling and 400m of HQ core-sized diamond drilling. As the area has not been previously drilled, LPI’s objectives for the programme are broad.
The company intends to define the water table, water quality and flow rates, and stratigraphy and geochemical anomalies along the Donnybrook Shear Zone, which has been previously defined by laterite and soil sampling.
LPI has completed detailed two-season flora and fauna surveys on a defined area of the East Kirup lithium project, with all planned drill holes located concerning these surveys on existing tracks where there is sufficient cleared space to allow for drilling without further clearing.
Andrew Phillips, Executive Director of LPI, said: “The results of this drilling programme will be used – along with previously completed environmental surveys – to prepare a CMP to allow drilling on new tracks, which is the commencement of phase three.
“While the core focus for LPI in H2 2022 was the MSB consolidation in Chile, throughout this time the Western Lithium team was expanding and diligently working to add value to the lithium projects. Final approvals were also granted to commence this inaugural drilling programme in the Greenbushes area.”
Phillips concluded: “The project area is large, which requires careful analysis to identify the selected drilling targets. The intention is to get the ground running in 2023, so we are pleased that the commencement of the programme so early in the year.”