• Drilling at the Andover project delivers more thick, high-grade lithium intersections 
  • Results highlight the significant scale of the AP0011 pegmatite in TA1
  • More drilling is currently underway with eight rigs at TA3 and one rig at TA1


Special Report: Azure Minerals’ ongoing drilling at the Andover project in WA’s Pilbara region has delivered yet more stunning lithium intersections that really underscores its massive potential.

While originally explored for nickel-copper-cobalt sulphides, the intersection of thick lithium mineralisation (105m grading 1.26% Li2O) at Andover in June 2023 transformed Azure Minerals (ASX:AZS) into one of the hottest lithium juniors on the ASX.

Subsequent drilling at the project, which is owned in partnership with legendary prospector Mark Creasy’s Creasy Group (40%), proved t this was no fluke by returning multiple +100m intersections.

Demonstrating just how prospective the company believes the project actually is, AZS has defined an exploration target of between 100Mt and 240Mt with a grade range of 1-1.5% Li2O, which would place Andover amongst the largest lithium deposits, even if the resource comes in at the bottom end of that range.

Early stage test work has also resulted in the production of spodumene concentrate with a grade of 5.59% Li2O at recovery of 82.37%.

This was enough to convince Chilean lithium giant SQM, which had originally acquired a 20% stake in AZS at the beginning of 2023, to launch a $2.31 per share cash takeover offer in August 2023 before increasing that bid to $3.52 per share by October 2023.

While the upgraded offer was initially stymied by major parties such as Hancock Prospecting grabbing significant stakes in the company, SQM was able to reach a deal with the Gina Rinehart vehicle for a joint takeover bid of $3.70 per share, which values AZS at close to $1.7bn.

Azure Minerals (ASX:AZS)
Section A-AA through AP0011 / AP0012 pegmatites with reported lithium intersections. Pic: Supplied (AZS)


More broad intersections of lithium

Further highlighting why the company is the target of the joint ~$1.7bn takeover by SQM and Hancock, continued drilling at Target Area 1 has returned numerous exceptionally thick spodumene-bearing intervals within the AP0011 pegmatite.

Notable intersections from the diamond drilling are:

  • 112.9m @ 1.63% Li2O from a down-hole depth of 408.5m including 24.8m @ 2.17% Li2O from 424.7m;
  • 152.3m @ 1.15% Li2O from 330.7m including 34.7m @ 1.73% Li2O from 331.6m; and
  • 112.0m @ 1.24% Li2O from 299.1m including 40.6m @ 1.55% Li2O from 360.1m.

The latest results are some of the thickest and highest-grade mineralised intersections received to date, and also correlate very strongly with previously reported visual spodumene observations.

Drilling successfully demonstrating strong continuity of mineralisation within the eastern portion of the AP0011 pegmatite, while expanding the thickened portion of the mineralisation in the central part of the pegmatite.


And there’s still more to come 

While AZS has completed 217 diamond holes totalling 69,669.8m, 94 reverse circulation holes totalling 18,775m and 28 holes with RC pre-collars and diamond tails totalling 12,700.7m, the drill bit isn’t slowing down at Andover anytime soon.

The company currently has eight drill rigs operating at Target Area 3 to continue extensional drilling aimed at defining the extents of the mineralised pegmatites and infill drilling to provide sufficient density to support a maiden resource estimate.

A ninth diamond rig remains on AP0011 to undertake large diameter core drilling to provide bulk samples for the metallurgical test work program.

AZS expects to release the maiden resource estimate in the June quarter this year after the expected completion of the SQM/Hancock takeover.



This article was developed in collaboration with Azure Minerals, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing. 


This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.