THE identification of a second parallel lepidolite pegmatite trend at Viking Mines’ Reung Kiet (RK) Lithium Project has substantially increased the project’s prospectivity with lepidolite being a lithium-rich mica. In November the ASX-listed company announced that it was acquiring Argo Metals Group, which held a 75% in the project.

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Viking Mines has two projects in Thailand’s south, not far from the resort centre of Phuket.

RK, which is 60km north of Phuket in southern Thailand, exhibits several outcropping lepidolite rich pegmatites along strike from historical open cut mines. Viking has been conducting reconnaissance soil sampling, rock chip sampling and mapping programs since announcing the RK transaction.

The Main Trend extends southwest along strike and exhibits excellent exposures of several lepidolite pegmatite dykes in a swarm of about 30 metres wide. Previous rock chip and channel sampling returned results of up to 1.9% Li2O.

The new Eastern Trend is 65-75 metres east of the Main Trend, about 1km long and runs parallel to Main Trend. Minor historical workings are present with individual dykes up to 4 metres wide. Rock chip sampling indicates Li2O grades of 0.99% to 1.49%.

Viking has designed a drilling program with further drill sites being assessed. The 22-hole program of about 2000 metres will test near-surface continuity, grade and widths.

The company is also advancing rock chip sampling, soil sampling and geological mapping at Bang I Tum lithium prospect to the north, which is considerably larger in strike extent.

Meantime, Viking has been negotiating with several potential drilling contractors and rigs will be deployed to its nearby Khao Soon tungsten project, over which it has an option to acquire 75%. This will ensure that drill rigs are secured and upon issuance of the lithium exploration licences, the rigs will be re-deployed to the RK project.

Also in November Viking announced that it had entered in a three month MoU with Lepidico Ltd to explore the option of establishing a joint venture to build a small-scale lithium carbonate plant at or near the RK project however, the two companies agreed not to extend the MoU beyond the three months. This followed Viking’s determination that it was too early in the project’s development to commit to any one process technology although Lepidico’s technology remains an important potential option.

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