There aren’t many explorers capable of raising $18m right now, but Liontown (ASX:LTR) is having a hell of a year.

As lithium prices circle the drain, the WA small cap darling has consistently defied market sentiment.

The stock is still up 331 per cent since the start of 2019.

Now, following an impressive $18m raising, Liontown is fully funded to enlarge its flagship 74.9-million-tonne Kathleen Valley resource and complete feasibility studies within the next 12 to 18 months.

This is an aggressive timeline, with the immediate focus on completing a pre-feasibility study (PFS) by the end of 2019.

Miners usually undertake up to four different types of studies to see whether or not a resource can be mined economically. These are — in order of importance — scoping, PFS, definitive feasibility (DFS) and bankable feasibility (BFS).

Liontown wants to transition into a DFS immediately following the PFS.

Exploring the head of the octopus

The new 31 hole, 15,000m drilling program will define additional open pit and underground resources which will be included in DFS studies.

A resource extension exploration target of 25-50 million tonnes at grades of between 1.2 to 1.5 per cent lithium is the goal.

Kathleen Valley has a thick, 35 to 75m, high-grade pegmatite body which ‘feeds’ the outcropping Mt Mann and Kathleen Corner pegmatite swarms:

This giant, octopus-looking feeder zone remains open both along strike and at depth.

Liontown has intersected it over a +600m strike length as part of larger high-grade mineralised system which has now been defined over a strike length of +1km.

Drilling will take two to three months to complete, Liontown says.