Pan American Energy, a 50-50 joint venture between BP and Bridas, has secured regulatory approval for the exploration drilling at its 17,334-acre Horizon Lithium Project.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Tonopah Field Office, has approved the Notice of Amendment (NOA) submitted by the company,

The NOA covers the company’s adjusted drill programme design, which focuses on drilling at the central and Eastern portions of the Horizon Lithium property.

With the amendment approval, the company is fully permitted to drill up to 22 lithium prospecting core holes with associated access to federal surface and minerals.

The drilling will be conducted at around 7.4 miles (12km) west of Tonopah, Esmeralda County, Nevada, under the supervision of the management of the BLM’s Tonopah Field Office.

Pan American has recently completed an eleven-hole first-phase drill programme that led to the discovery of a lithium cluster on the Horizon Lithium Project.

All the drill holes encountered lithium, with wide areas of mineralisation and results as high as 2,040 ppm lithium, said the company.

The initial phase was originally permitted for 22 drill holes, where it has submitted an amendment application to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to adjust the drill pattern.

Pan American CEO Jason Latkowcer said: “In collaboration with RESPEC, our geological and operations partner, we submitted an amended drill programme to the Bureau of Land Management, which was promptly approved.

“The updated program reflects the lessons learned from Phase One and focuses our drilling efforts on the central and eastern parts of the property.

“This approach is expected to help us generate an inferred resource by the end of the year. We are actively assessing the potential for additional exploration and drilling programmes for the remaining two-thirds of the property.”

In August last year, Pan American Energy signed a property option agreement with Magabra Resources to acquire up to a 90% interest in and to the Big Mack Property, located in the Paterson Lake Area, 80km north of Kenora, Ontario, Canada.