ASX-listed exploration company Torque Metals has reached a binding, conditional option deal with Abeh and a group of private individuals to acquire 14 tenements in the Western Australian (WA) Goldfields covering a 200km² area.

Called New Dawn, the project has unmined lithium and tantalum occurrence and is 600m along strike of the Bald Hill lithium-tantalum mine, which has 26.5 million tonnes (mt) at 1% lithium oxide (Li₂O) spodumene.

The new project will expand Torque’s existing footprint to 500km², with the potential for the discovery of gold, lithium and nickel deposits.

Torque plans to rename its present landholding, along with the acquisition, as ‘Penzance Portfolio’.

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Torque managing director Cristian Moreno said: “The WA Goldfields reigns supreme on the global stage for minerals exploration and Torque is ecstatic to strengthen its presence in this renowned jurisdiction. Our footprint now spans over 500km², bolstered by 12 mining, four prospecting and 12 exploration licences.”

The New Dawn project has two granted mining licences with potential for spodumene.

Torque claims that there are several outcropping pegmatites at the New Dawn project. Rock samples indicate lithium grades of up to 6%. The company plans to conduct diamond drilling (DD) to determine lithium values as part of the due diligence work.

It will dig 20 DD holes to a depth of 100m to validate pegmatite distribution and grade. The drilling is expected to begin later this month.

Torque has paid $150,000 as an exclusive option to acquire the tenement package and the option can be exercised until the end of next January.

Once the option has been exercised, it will have to pay $1.5m in cash and issue 15 million shares of which 7.5 million will be escrowed for six months. It has also agreed to pay a 2% net smelter royalty.

Furthermore, it will issue 85 million performance shares, which can be converted into shares after certain milestones have been achieved. These include a total production of 30mt at a minimum grade of 1% of Li₂O.

Along with the issue of 85 million shares, the company will pay a total of $30m if milestones related to gold production have been met.