Morella Corp – Looking For High Pressure

Morella Corp is the 51% owner of the lithium rights for the following tenements (see below) in the Pilbara. The history of this ownership goes back to June 2021 when Morella Corp (then named Altura) announced they had re-established an earn-in agreement for the assets with Sayona Mining. On 20 December 2022, Morella then announced they had satisfied the expenditure and activity requirements to earn their 51% interest and a Joint Venture (JV) was formed between the two companies, with Morella the Managing Partner.

Morella’s zig-zagging Tabba Tabba East tenement is a distinctive shape. Make a mental note of it as we’ll come back to it in a moment.

Pilbara Tenements the Subject of the Earn-In Agreement. Source: Morella Corp 20 December 2022 ASX announcement

Wildcat Resources‘ Tabba Tabba lithium project came onto my radar late last year and my interest in Morella is due to their Tabba Tabba East tenement – E47/4703. You can read my article on Wildcat Resources here.

The location of Wildcat’s Tabba Tabba lithium project is shown in the following map. It’s more or less in the centre of the map denoted with a blue circle. If you look immediately to the south of the Tabba Tabba, you should see a light brown colour that denotes De Grey’s extensive tenement holding that includes the Hemi gold deposit. You can see that the tenements extend out west. Slightly further below the blue circle you should be able to see a yellow zig-zagging tenement striking south-west to north-east. This is Morella’s ground.

Location of Tabba Tabba Project. Source: Wildcat Resources ASX released 24 January 2024

Here’s a close up that will hopefully make things easier to see.

Close Up of Tenements Around Tabba Tabba. Source: Wildcat Resources ASX released 24 January 2024

Wildcat Resources released an update on 24 January 2024, in which they discussed what they’ve learnt on mineralogy. For lithium mining, mineralogy is crucial. In simple terms, spodumene equals good. Petalite and lepidolite equals not so good. Interestingly, the company have received X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) results for 21 RC samples collected at Tabba Tabba in September 2023. The XRD results, combined with other geological and mineralogical data, highlight Leia as a spodumene-dominant pegmatite with simple mineralogy.

In the news release Wildcat explain how their exploration model has changed since they started exploring mid last year. Initially, they thought there was a zone of lepidolite around the Leia and Chewy deposits. As they explain, ‘Wildcat’s initial mapping and geochemical sampling identified possible spodumene pseudomorphs at Leia and limited surface occurrences of lepidolite proximal to the Tabba Tabba open pit. On commencement of RC drilling, little to no lepidolite was logged at any of the major pegmatite prospects.’ The map below shows their initial exploration model.

The initial Wildcat exploration model interpreted from mapped pegmatites and mineralogical observations from Pancontinental Mining Ltd’s early exploration reports. All drilling prior to Wildcat displayed. Source: Wildcat Resources ASX released 24 January 2024

Wildcat state that at the Hutt deposit ‘the XRD results identify both spodumene and petalite as the lithium bearing minerals.’ and go on to say that, ‘The recently received XRD has improved the geological team’s understanding of the mineralogy and its spatial relationships. The driver for the change in mineralogy from spodumene in the south to mixed petalite and spodumene at The Hutt in the north is interpreted to be a change in pressure at the time the pegmatite melt crystallised. Petalite typically occurs in lower pressure environments, whilst spodumene will typically form in higher pressure environments.’ They also provide this map of their new updated exploration model. Notice the arrow at the bottom showing their belief that pressure is increasing to the south.

The updated Wildcat exploration model adjusted for new observations from XRD, FTIR, geological logging and drilling to date. Source: Wildcat Resources ASX released 24 January 2024

Wildcat go on to say ‘Although based on limited data, the apparent spatial transition from mixed petalite-spodumene mineralised pegmatite in the northern extremities of the Tabba Tabba pegmatite system, to a tantalum pegmatite deposit, and then to the very large spodumene-dominant Leia pegmatite suggests an increase in pressure towards the south. This has implications for prioritisation of exploration of the central and southern pegmatite clusters along their strike extent and at depth as pegmatites which may be thin or geochemically weak at surface can transition into attractive targets due to changes in the geological setting (host rock, lithostatic pressure, etc.).’

Morella Corp’s Tabba Tabba East deposit is a few kilometres south of Wildcat’s Tabba Tabba project.

Morella put out a news release in November 2023 discussing Tabba Tabba East Soil Sampling results stating that ‘Prospective lithium bearing pegmatite targets identified at Tabba Tabba East‘.

Soil assay Li anomaly targets Source: Morella Corp’s ASX release dated 20 November 2023

Morella Managing Director James Brown said:

“We are thrilled with the positive soil sample results obtained from Tabba Tabba East. The successful completion of this program highlights the positive trajectory of the Tabba Tabba East Project, underscoring its potential for future resource definition.

“With the success of Wildcat Resources’ drilling at the nearby Tabba Tabba Lithium-Tantalum Project, just a few kilometres away, we have confidence that this region holds exceptional prospectivity and look forward to sharing the next stages of development “

The news release went onto suggest that future work would include:

  • Additional surface sampling to expand the identified target anomaly.
  • Design and execute a maiden drilling programme to target the most significant geochemical anomalies to establish the presence of lithium bearing pegmatite potential in these areas.

It’ll be interesting to know when drilling is likely to take place. Especially if pressure is on their side!

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