Charger Metals to partner with Rio Tinto for Lake Johnston Lithium Project
In a significant move for the Australian lithium mining industry, Charger Metals NL (ASX: CHR) has announced a binding farm-in agreement with Rio Tinto Exploration Pty Ltd (“RTX”), a subsidiary of global mining giant Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO). This partnership focuses on the development of the Lake Johnston Lithium Project located in the Yilgarn region of Western Australia, underscoring the area’s growing importance in the lithium market.
Rio Tinto’s Investment and Charger’s Ownership Increase
The agreement with Rio Tinto involves a potential investment of up to A$42.5 million, with RTX aiming to earn up to a 75% interest in the Lake Johnston Project. This substantial investment is earmarked for systematic exploration across the project, with initial efforts concentrating on the Medcalf Spodumene Prospect and the advancement of the Mt Day and Mt Gordon lithium prospects.
Simultaneously, Charger Metals has entered into a separate agreement with Lithium Australia Limited (ASX: LIT) to acquire their minority interest in the Lake Johnston Project for A$2 million. This acquisition is contingent upon shareholder approval and other third-party consents, including the RTX Agreement. Upon successful completion, Charger Metals will hold 100% beneficial ownership of the project.
Key Locations and Prospects
The Lake Johnston Lithium Project, situated 450 km east of Perth in Western Australia, spans a 50 km corridor along the southern and western margin of the Lake Johnston granite batholith. Key areas within this project include the Medcalf Spodumene Prospect, the Mt Gordon Lithium Prospect, and the Mount Day LCT pegmatite field, all of which are prospective for lithium and tantalum minerals.
Strategic Importance and Regional Context**
This project is strategically located approximately 70 km east of the Earl Grey (Mt Holland) Lithium Project, currently under development by Covalent Lithium Pty Ltd. The proximity to one of Australia’s largest hard-rock lithium projects further enhances the significance of the Lake Johnston Lithium Project.
Charger Metals and Rio Tinto’s Vision
Aidan Platel, Managing Director of Charger Metals, emphasized the importance of this partnership, stating, “The Rio Tinto Exploration farm-in agreement is an excellent result for Charger and its shareholders.” Adrian Griffin, Charger’s Chairman, also highlighted the potential of the Lake Johnston Greenstone belt to become a prominent lithium province.
In summary, this collaborative effort between Charger Metals and Rio Tinto marks a significant advancement in lithium exploration and development in Australia, promising to bolster the country’s position in the global lithium market.