Widgie Nickel is making a bee-line for the battery metals supply chain at frightening pace, announcing a maiden resource at its Faraday lithium deposit along with plans to be development ready for a DSO operation later this year.

The maiden resource at Faraday, located just 4km west-northwest of the historic mining town of Widgiemooltha in the WA Goldfields, contains 481,000t at 0.59% Li2O at a 0.3% cut-off.

Containing a high grade core of 106,000t at 0.87% Li2O at a 0.8% cut-off, the fast-tracked resource estimate opens the door for Widgie (ASX:WIN) to find a speedy path to market at a time of strong spodumene prices.

Containing 105,000t at 0.65% Li2O in the higher confidence indicated category, the resource has come off just 3234m of RC drilling across 89 holes and 116m of diamond drilling in four holes between late 2022 and early 2023.

There is plenty more to find, with field mapping confirming the Faraday pegmatite continues 300m to the north of the MRE envelope, a more than doubling of the strike of the initial resource.

Met testwork has also been undertaken, confirming the ability for Widgie to produce a saleable concentrate.

DSO the game

But it is the DSO that is taking the focus at the moment, with discussions already underway with potential offtakers and industry participants.

Also known as direct shipping ore, DSO has become a popular way to get product into a woefully undersupplied battery grade lithium market as electric vehicle production has driven way ahead of mine supply.

Spodumene prices are high enough now that low cost DSO, which doesn’t need to be upgraded into a concentrate, are attractive to buyers who can complete the latter step on their end.

A DSO starter pit design has already commenced and the initial development is expected to be a low cost operation due to its shallow outcropping resource and low strip ratio.

Aggressive drilling has already been planned to grow the mineral resource and upgrade the rest of the deposit to indicated status. Indicated resources can be included in mineable reserves.

The DSO pit is expected to be production ready by the second half of 2023, a hallmark of Widgie’s strategy to commercialise its lithium and nickel sulphide resources for the benefit of shareholders.

“Widgie’s lithium is now for real. In just a few months from November 2022 to now be declaring our maiden lithium resource demonstrates Widgie’s resolve to capitalise on the strong demand fundamentals for battery metals,” Widgie Nickel managing director Steve Norregaard said.

“This is just the beginning of a growth story, as we roll our sleeves up to realise value for shareholders in the short term, we have also got our eyes firmly focussed on expanding our lithium vision for the company and its future.

“The Faraday Lithium Project has all the hallmarks of a very low-cost development able to be commercialised in the near term. Interest in the DSO from industry participants is growing rapidly and we expect to provide updates on this in the coming quarter.”

Lithium country

Widgie is located deep in lithium country, surrounded by major producing operations like MinRes and Ganfeng’s Mt Marion mine and the Bald Hill operation.

Its initial test results show a larger scale development could produce an attractive spodumene concentrate feed for lithium chemical and battery producers with a grade of 5.5-5.75% at lithium recoveries ranging from 62.3% to 78.4%.

Future exploration will seek to capitalise on the untapped potential of the Faraday prospect, with Widgie planning to drill to the north and west to extend its pegmatite hosted mineralisation.

Infill drilling will also take place to bring up the confidence in the Faraday resource ahead of the starter pit development.




This article was developed in collaboration with Widgie Nickel, 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.