The new leases contain known lithium-tantalum-rich pegmatites with historical grades of up to 2.2% lithium oxide from within the Mt Edon tenement package that hosts numerous lithium-caesium-tantalum pegmatites, plus a mining lease previously held by Altura Mining's forebears more than a decade ago, although little exploration has been done in the tenement area.
There are historical beryl workings on the Wydgee tenement, but no prior exploration for lithium in the north.
Some of the surrounding tenements are held by Sayona Mining, which has identified more than 70 pegmatites with rock chip samples assaying up to 1.5% Li2O in 2016.
The company has negotiated a right to earn a 90% interest in the tenement package in exchange for cash consideration of just A$45,000 and undertaking at its sole expense all exploration work, including the drilling of up to eight exploration holes within a two year period from prospector Angelo Levissianos, who has previously been involved with Classic Minerals.
Levissianos will retain a 10% free-carried interest up until a decision to mine or may elect to convert to a 2% net smelter royalty.
MRC may withdraw from the term sheet at any time by giving 30 days' notice.
MRC said the new leases complement its existing Yandeyarra lithium project south of Pilgangoora in the Pilbara, and its promising Munglinup graphite project near Esperance to the south. The new areas were "close to excellent existing infrastructure in a globally significant jurisdiction of hard rock lithium operations" it said.
The company plans field mapping and sampling, with drilling in the second half of the year.
MRC is next expected to release the definitive feasibility study on Munglinup within weeks.
A prefeasibility study completed in early 2018 backed a $52 million development that has better grades than east African graphite operations and a lower cost profile.
If approved, Munglinup would develop a 3.4 million tonne resource grading 15.9% total graphitic carbon over nine years via a planned 400,000tpa plant producing around 54,800tpa with operating costs of US$398/t compared to an expected graphite basket price of $989/t.
MRC shares were unmoved this morning at A19c, valuing the company at $80 million.