Friday 18th August 2017

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘lithium’

Green energy in Utah

August 18th, 2017

Darryl Jones sees distinctive advantages to Voltaic Minerals’ lithium brine project

by Isabel Belger

Isabel Belger

Isabel Belger

Isabel: I would like to introduce the president and CEO of Voltaic Minerals [TSXV:VLT], Darryl Jones. Hello Darryl, it is a pleasure to talk to you again. How are you?

Darryl: I am good, thanks for asking and having me.

Isabel: To get started, could you tell us a bit about your background?

Darryl: I started in investor relations, working for a multitude of junior mining companies. From there I worked my way in with my father, who was a stockbroker. He was in the business for about 28 years. I worked with him for five or six years at Raymond James and moved from there to PI. I was a broker for 12 years. I then moved on to work with an ex-client where I joined the board of Strikepoint Gold [TSXV:SKP] and from there I made my way to Zimtu Capital [TSXV:ZC]. And here we are, almost two years later.

Isabel: Your company is lithium-focused, but not hard rock deposits and not like the classic salars in South America. Where is your project? And what makes it special?

Darryl: We are in Utah roughly 20 kilometres west of a town called Moab. It is a brine project but it is a non-conventional brine. The Green Energy brine project is hosted in what are called clastic units of the Paradox Basin. It is about 6,000 feet [1,830 metres] deep in an old layered bed-type formation. Effectively it is a buried salar, like the South American salars, except much deeper and under immense pressure and very saturated from what we understand. I guess the three things that make it very interesting are that it is super-saturated with a full spectrum of minerals, it is under immense pressure which is phenomenal because we believe it should just flow out of the ground, and being subjected to tremendous pressure leads to a higher temperature as well. Temperature, pressure and saturation are all key factors for a brine project of this nature.

Isabel: What are your highlights on the project so far?

Darryl Jones sees distinctive advantages to Voltaic Minerals’ lithium brine project

Darryl: It is a historic project, where most of the work was done through oil and gas exploration in the ’60s, ’70s, all the way up to current date. We have been compiling existing well logs, existing data and working with some private well owners and oil and gas groups to get a better understanding of the zone we are working in. We have seen multiple wells out of this formation show significant brine flow. We understand that this horizon has the capability to be a very large resource. From that we expect to test it through an existing well. We are working towards our 5,000-gallon sample which will give us a very strong indication of size, I guess you could say, of the potential resource.

Isabel: When will you know that?

Darryl: We are working with a well owner right now to try to get access as soon as possible. We have got two paths going. We have got the project that we really want to get into, then we are also working on developing a process that will help us unlock the super-saturated brine. The closer we get to strong data that gives us the ability to say unlock the brine will push us to that decision to execute to get into the system. We are hoping this year.

Isabel: What are the plans for the rest of the year?

Darryl: In the next couple of weeks, we will have an agreement in place to re-enter that well and alongside that in the next couple of weeks we are hoping to have some really strong process results to show that we can economically extract what we need from it.

Isabel: Do you have already an idea when you could be producing lithium?

We have always had an aggressive timeline. We believe if we have access to this brine, we could then be six to nine months away from producing some small-scale samples, [provided] that we would have the process that can extract lithium from it.—Darryl Jones

Darryl: We have always had an aggressive timeline. We believe if we have access to this brine, we could then be six to nine months away from producing some small-scale samples, [provided] that we would have the process that can extract lithium from it. First, we want to get this initial set of results back in order to really direct the way we want to go with the sampling. In my opinion, we now have all the pieces in place to support our development timeline, once we get some initial feedback on the process and have access to the brine. That nine-months horizon is real.

Isabel: What makes it so difficult to access those wells?

Darryl: Most of the wellheads are either plugged and abandoned or they are owned and operating for oil and gas operations.

Isabel: Oh, so they are still producing oil and gas there?

Darryl: Yes, there is still a lot of oil production in Utah. Accessing a plugged and abandoned well is difficult on the environmental side. It is basically like drilling your own new well, which can be costly and you don’t know what you are going to get when you are re-entering an existing abandoned well. The other avenue would be re-entering a producing well, which is difficult because you might have to tell the oil and gas company to shut their production so that you can test for lithium. It is a matter of building relationships and being able to go down there to show what the potential value could be. I think we have done that. We have the right team and the right people in place so that we could have that within the next week.

Isabel: Talking about cost effectiveness—the price of lithium has been increasing over the past few years, right now about $9,000 per metric tonne. Do you have any idea presently for what price you will be able to produce lithium?

Darryl: From the start our goal was to work always towards a lowest production cost as possible. Most of the major lithium producers in South America are between $3,000 and $4,000 a ton, which is a great number. We are hoping to match those production costs. We enjoy some great efficiencies operating in Utah, which has very good infrastructure.

So that is where we would like to be, anywhere between $3,000 to $5,000 a ton. I think that will make us a very competitive player in the lithium space.

Isabel: What do you think is and will be the key to this new, ongoing demand for lithium for a junior exploration company like Voltaic Minerals?

Grade is usually one of the first things that people will look at. Something that is also important is the speed to market. The faster you can get to market, the more attention you are going to have. —Darryl Jones

Darryl: You want to have a project that has first and foremost the right grade. Grade is usually one of the first things that people will look at. Something that is also important is the speed to market. The faster you can get to market, the more attention you are going to have. In our opinion no one has broken anything open in North America. We believe the window is still open there for somebody to come up with a profitable solution. I think that is going to be the biggest thing. Anyone that comes to market quickly will have a lot of eyes on them and garner lots of attention.

Isabel: You are right and there is almost no lithium being produced in the U.S. right now.

Darryl: No there isn’t!

Isabel: You may have heard about the big Volkswagen diesel scandal. There is a huge discussion going on about the future of diesel technology, and that switching to electric cars is the solution for all our climate problems. But we tend to forget that many lithium projects would have an adverse impact to our planet as well.

In that respect, isn’t your project, with brine situated at a considerable depth and which comes to the surface under its own pressure, the best-case scenario?

Darryl: Yes, environmentally speaking it is great. We are searching for a straight brine zone, which would give us the opportunity to just effectively strip the lithium out, not change anything else associated with the water, not having any hydrocarbons and effectively put the water back into the ground. That would be the ultimate scenario. We feel we could be a very green company or have a green process which doesn’t hurt anything and greatly benefits this revolutionary battery market.

Isabel: How much of Voltaic Minerals does the management hold?

Darryl: About 15%.

Isabel: How much cash do you have right now?

Darryl: About $500,000.

Isabel: It was a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you for the insights.

Darryl: The same. Good talking to you Isabel. Thank you.

 

Darryl Jones sees distinctive advantages to Voltaic Minerals’ lithium brine project

Darryl Jones, president/CEO
of Voltaic Minerals

Bio

Mr. Jones was an investment adviser with PI Financial Corp Canada and Raymond James Ltd Canada and has 15-plus years of capital market experience and an established financial network. He was responsible for raising significant risk capital for growth companies in all sectors, with a particular focus on natural resources. He also serves as director of Strikepoint Gold Corp.

Fun facts

My hobbies: Snowboarding, playing hockey, golf, spending time with my two-year-old daughter
My favourite tradeshow: Mines and Money shows, PDAC
My favourite commodity: Lithium and gold
With this person I would like to have dinner: Timothy Ferriss
If I could have a superpower, it would be: Reading people’s minds
My role model: My father

Read more about Voltaic Minerals.

92 Resources president/CEO Adrian Lamoureux discusses early metallurgical results for his company’s Northwest Territories hardrock lithium project

August 16th, 2017

…Read more

Gary Musil of Belmont Resources comments on lithium exploration in the U.S.

August 11th, 2017

…Read more

Robert Friedland’s favourites

July 28th, 2017

Unprecedented demand calls for unparalleled grades, the industry legend says

by Greg Klein

For all that’s being said about lithium and cobalt, Robert Friedland argues that the energy revolution also depends on copper and platinum group elements. Of course he has a stake in them himself, with Kamoa-Kakula and Platreef among his current enthusiasms. Still, whether motivated by self-interest or not, the mining titan whom Rick Rule calls “serially successful” presented a compelling case for his favourite metals at the Sprott Natural Resource Symposium in Vancouver on July 25.

We’re living in “an era of unprecedented change,” said Ivanhoe Mines’ TSX:IVN founding chairperson. China’s the main cause. That country’s “breeding mega-cities prodigiously.” But one result is “incredibly toxic air… with a whole suite of health effects” from heart attacks to stroke, asthma to Alzheimer’s.

Unprecedented demand calls for unparalleled grades, the industry legend says

A crew operates jumbo rigs to bring
Ivanhoe’s Platreef mine into PGM production.

China’s not alone. Friedland pegs current global population growth at 83 million a year, with a projected 8.5 billion people populating the planet by 2030. Five billion will inhabit urban areas. Forecasts for 2050 show 6.3 billion city-dwellers. But China, notorious for its poisoned atmosphere, “is on an air pollution jihad.” It’s an all-out effort to turn back the “airpocalypse” and, with a command economy, a goal that shall be achieved.

The main target will be the internal combustion engine, responsible for about 60% of urban air pollution, Friedland said. China now manufactures 19 million cars annually, he adds. The country plans to increase output to 60 million, a goal obviously contrary to the war on pollution unless it emphasizes electric vehicles.

Like others, Friedland sees massive disruption as the economics of EVs overtake those of internal combustion engines, a scenario he expects by 2022 or 2023.

Demand for lithium-ion batteries (comprising 4% lithium, 80% nickel sulphate and 15% cobalt) has sent cobalt prices soaring. But bigger EVs will likely rely on hydrogen fuel cells, he pointed out. They’re already used in electric SUVs, pickup trucks, double-decker buses in London, trains in Germany and China, and, expected imminently, autonomous air taxis in Dubai.

Hydrogen fuel cells need PGMs. If only one-tenth of China’s planned EV output used the technology, demand would call for the world’s entire platinum supply, Friedland said.

“I would rather own platinum than gold,” he declared. Additionally, “there’s no platinum central reserve bank to puke out platinum.”

Ivanhoe just happens to have PGMs, about 42 million ounces indicated and 52.8 million ounces inferred, at its 64%-held Platreef project in South Africa.

Unprecedented demand calls for unparalleled grades, the industry legend says

Underground development progresses at the Kansoko mine,
part of the Kamoa copper deposit and adjacent to Kakula.

Electricity for the grid also ranks high among China’s airpocalyptic priorities. A study produced for the United Nations Environment Programme credits the country with a 17% increase in renewable electricity investment last year, most of it going to wind and solar. Almost $103 billion, China’s renewables investment comes to 36% of the world total.

Just as EVs remain more copper-dependent than internal combustion, wind and solar call for much more of the conductive commodity than do other types of electricity generation. Friedland sees additional disruptive demand in easily cleaned copper surfaces now increasingly used in hospitals, care homes, cruise ships and other places where infectious diseases might lurk.

He sees a modest copper supply deficit now, with a crisis possibly starting as soon as 2019. The world needs a new generation of copper mines, he said, repeating his unkind comparison of today’s low-grade, depleting mines to “little old ladies waiting to die.” The world’s largest producer, the BHP Billiton NYSE:BHP/Rio Tinto NYSE:RIO Escondida mine in Chile, is down to a 0.52% grade.

Copper recently hit a two-year high of about $6,400 a tonne. But, citing Bernstein data, Friedland said new mines would require a $12,000 price.

Not Kamoa-Kakula, though. He proudly noted that, with an indicated resource grading 6.09%, it hosts “the richest conceivable copper deposit on this planet.”

I’ve never been as bullish in my 35 years on a project.—Robert Friedland

A JV with Ivanhoe and Zjin Mining Group each holding 39.6% and the DRC 20%, Kamoa-Kakula inspires “a plethora of superlatives.” The veteran of Voisey’s Bay and Oyu Tolgoi added, “I’ve never been as bullish in my 35 years on a project.”

The zillionaire likes zinc too, which his company also has in the DRC at the 68%-held Kipushi project. With a measured and indicated grade of 34.89%, the Big Zinc zone more than doubles the world’s next-highest-grade zinc project, according to Ivanhoe. There’s copper too, with three other zones averaging an M&I grade of 4.01%.

“Everything good in the Congo starts with a ‘K’,” he said enthusiastically.

But recklessly, in light of the DRC’s controversial Kabila family. In June Ivanhoe was hit by reports that the company has done deals with businesses held by the president’s brother, Zoe Kabila, although no allegations were made of wrongdoing.

The family has run the country, one of Africa’s poorest, since 1997. Current president Joseph Kabila has been ruling unconstitutionally since November, a cause of sometimes violent protest that threatens to further destabilize the DRC.

As the New York Times reported earlier this month:

An implosion of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country almost the size of western Europe, could spill into and involve some of the nine countries it borders. In the late 1990s, neighbouring countries were sucked into what became known as the Great War of Africa, which resulted in several million deaths.

Friedland’s nearly hour-long address made no mention of jurisdictional risk. But the audience of hundreds, presumably most of them retail investors, responded warmly to the serial success story. He’s the one who, after Ivanhoe languished at five-year lows in early 2016, propelled the stock more than 300% over the last 12 months.

Far Resources’ Manitoba lithium project reveals additional spodumene-bearing pegmatite

July 27th, 2017

by Greg Klein | July 27, 2017

Far Resources CSE:FAT has identified spodumene-bearing pegmatite dykes at its Zoro project in Manitoba to a greater extent than previously understood, enhancing the property’s lithium potential. The company confirmed the presence of a dyke swarm following a field visit to the Snow Lake region property, which was originally known to host seven spodumene-bearing dykes. Far Resources announced the discovery of additional dykes earlier this month.

Far Resources’ Manitoba lithium project reveals additional spodumene-bearing pegmatite

A drill program would be necessary to determine their full dimensions, the company stated. Eighteen chip samples have been sent for assays.

Prospecting found dyke 7 exposed over 220 metres before it trends beneath a swamp. Dyke 7 has two smaller pegmatite dykes associated with it, both mineralized with spodumene and possible tantalite. One has a strike of about 80 metres and width up to 13 metres. The other shows about 75 metres in strike and two to three metres in width. Twenty-one pits and trenches have been documented from dyke 7, the company reported.

Dyke 6 outcrop was identified for about 100 metres in strike and widths of 0.5 to two metres. “It has not been exposed by trenches or pits and remains untested although spodumene is present in the dyke,” Far Resources added.

Dyke 5 extends for a 250-metre strike with widths from two to 12 metres at surface. Nineteen pits or trenches have revealed spodumene and possible tantalite.

“With the success of this field program we are looking forward to completing further work to assess dykes 2, 3 and 4 for additional mineralized pegmatites,” said president/CEO Keith Anderson. “This field work will lay the ground work for further drilling in the winter of 2017.”

In late June the company closed its acquisition of the Winston gold project in New Mexico. Last week Far Resources announced it would propose to shareholders that a new company be created to manage the project.

Hedging his energy bets

July 24th, 2017

Adrian Lamoureux of 92 Resources pursues green lithium and fossil-fuel frac sand

by Isabel Belger

Isabel Belger

Isabel Belger

Isabel: I would like to introduce the CEO of 92 Resources TSXV:NTY Adrian Lamoureux. Hi Adrian, it is a pleasure to talk to you again. To get started I would like to ask you to tell us a little bit about your background and how you became CEO of 92 Resources.

Adrian: Hi Isabel, thank you for having me. I had been active with finance and investor relations for public companies for about a decade before I received my opportunity to run one. Raising capital and marketing helped me form very strong opinions on how a company should be run, so I was always looking to move up the corporate ranks.

Isabel: 92 Resources has two lithium projects. One is in the Northwest Territories and one is in Quebec. What makes these projects so valuable?

Adrian: Lithium is not only a commodity for today, but rather a commodity for tomorrow. We see today’s strong demand as just the beginning, with a global push towards green energy. Simply put—lithium is the way of the future.

Isabel: What are the highlights on these projects so far?

Adrian: Hidden Lake, NWT, has been successful right from the get-go. Last summer we pulled a sample high of 3.08% Li2O and a channel sample of 1.9% Li2O over 9.02 metres. Most recently we conducted a metallurgical program, where we produced a 6.16% Li2O concentrate.

Adrian Lamoureux of 92 Resources pursues green lithium and fossil-fuel frac sand

Initial metallurgical tests suggest the suitability of conventional
processing methods for pegmatites from Hidden Lake. The 1,100-
hectare property has nearby highway access leading to Yellowknife,
about 40 kilometres west.

Isabel: 92 Resources also has a frac sand project in British Columbia. I am not sure if everyone knows what frac sand is and is used for. Could you give a brief introduction to the application and demand, as well as of course about your project itself?

Adrian: The Golden frac sand property is ideally situated. Our project sits immediately adjacent to a frac sand [deposit] and rail access. Some of the biggest oil basins in North America are shale, and the best method of extraction is through fracking. Sand is forced down horizontal wells under high pressure, bracing cracks within the shale open, which is where the oil can be liberated and pumped out. The demand for frac sand has continued to grow in light of a slip in oil prices. This is attributed to re-fracking of older wells, a higher rig count and increased frac sand intensity on a per-well basis.

Isabel: What is the most exciting thing happening right now at 92 Resources?

Adrian: We’re having success on multiple fronts. I feel we are at the right place at the right time.

Isabel: What are the plans for the rest of 2017 and what are the next milestones for 92 Resources?

Adrian: Our plans are focused, continued growth through acquisition and development. We need to move vertically with current demand and always be looking to where future demand should be.

Isabel: What do you like about the mineral exploration business?

Adrian: I like being able to take an idea or concept and turn it into something real, something that shareholders and hopefully the world can benefit from.

Isabel: What is your favourite commodity and why?

Adrian: Lithium is my favourite. This green energy commodity is changing the world as we know it.

Isabel: Thank you very much for your time, Adrian.

Adrian Lamoureux

Adrian Lamoureux,
92 Resources CEO

Bio

Adrian Lamoureux has worked in the venture capital markets for the past eight years, specializing in the design and implementation of market strategies and corporate development. He has particular expertise in the mineral exploration and development sector. During his time working in venture capital markets, Lamoureux has financed a number of successful private and public companies.

Fun facts

My hobbies: European football

My favourite airport: Schiphol, Amsterdam

My favourite tradeshow: PDAC in Toronto

My favourite commodity: Lithium

With this person I would like to have dinner: Cristiano Ronaldo

If I could have a superpower, it would be: Invisibility

My role model: My father

Read more about 92 Resources’ Hidden Lake lithium project and Golden frac sand project.

Chemical engineer and Voltaic Minerals project manager Tom Currin comments on his research into selective extraction from lithium brines

July 21st, 2017

…Read more

Initial metallurgy looks positive for 92 Resources’ NWT lithium project

July 18th, 2017

by Greg Klein | July 18, 2017

Encouraging metallurgical results have come early for 92 Resources’ (TSXV:NTY) Hidden Lake project. Preliminary beneficiation tests for the road-accessible Northwest Territories property suggest favourable liberation characteristics and “amenability to simple and conventional spodumene mineral processing methods,” the company announced July 18. The lab conducted five flotation tests on a composite sample from four pegmatites on the Northwest Territories project. A standard flowsheet was used.

Initial lithium metallurgy brings 92 Resources a 6.16% concentrate at 79% recovery for NWT project

Backed by encouraging lab work, 92 Resources reactivates
its Hidden Lake camp this summer for another field program.

Results brought a “high-grade” spodumene concentrate of 6.16% LiO2 at 79% recovery, with an average spodumene lithium content of 3.8% lithium (or about 8.2% LiO2), close to the maximum theoretical limit, 92 Resources stated.

A low iron content also suggests the high quality of Hidden Lake spodumene. In a further advantage to mineral processing, the company added, tests confirmed the property’s dominant mica to be muscovite with low levels of lithium. Muscovite with high lithium levels “would dilute the lithium content of a final concentrate, as typically the lithium content would be significantly less than that of spodumene.”

“This initial work demonstrates the high-lithium/low-iron nature of the spodumene at Hidden Lake, as well as its favourable upgrading characteristics, both of which are highly attractive attributes of the project,” said president/CEO Adrian Lamoureux.

Phase II beneficiation tests will include magnetic separation, heavy liquid separation and further flotation on material collected during the upcoming summer field program.

Channel sampling last year tested four of the property’s six known lithium-bearing spodumene dykes, bringing assays up to 1.58% Li2O and 31 ppm Ta2O5 over 8.78 metres.

In January the company filed a 43-101 technical report for Hidden Lake. The 1,659-hectare property has year-round road access to Yellowknife, about 40 kilometres southwest.

92 Resources also keeps busy with its Golden frac sand project in eastern British Columbia, adjacent to Heemskirk Canada’s Moberly silica mine. Last month’s 10-day field program at Golden will provide data for a 43-101 technical report.

In northern Quebec, 92 Resources also holds the 5,536-hectare Pontax River lithium project.

The company closed an oversubscribed $895,199 private placement in February and received a $140,000 award under the NWT Mining Incentive Program in June to offset Hidden Lake expenditures.

NRG Metals readies geophysics, drilling, 43-101 for new Argentina lithium project

July 13th, 2017

by Greg Klein | July 13, 2017

A property optioned in June has a busy agenda scheduled as NRG Metals TSXV:NGZ prepares to explore its Hombre Muerto North project on an Argentinian salar that also hosts an FMC Corp NYSE:FMC lithium mine and Galaxy Resources’ advanced-stage Sal de Vida lithium-potash project. With drill permitting underway, NRG intends to begin with geophysics, followed by up to eight holes ranging from 150 to 200 metres in depth. Results might encourage the company to extend some holes down to 400 metres, with some larger-diameter holes for pumping tests.

NRG Metals readies geophysics, drilling, 43-101 for new Argentina lithium project

A newly commissioned 43-101 technical report
will assess previous surface sample results.

NRG also plans to build a pilot test pond to assess the brine’s evaporative conditions and chemical features.

A 43-101 technical report will be compiled by a Chilean company to verify previous samples and provide details of the upcoming drill program. Twenty surface samples taken in 2016 and 2017 brought non-43-101 results ranging from 48 milligrams lithium per litre to 1,064 mg/L, averaging 587 mg/L. Ratios of magnesium to lithium remained low by industry standards, averaging 4.6 to 1, the company added.

In addition to this 3,287-hectare project, NRG has drill permitting underway for its optioned 29,182-hectare Carachi Pampa property, also on the prolific Salar del Hombre Muerto.

Now leading exploration is NRG’s new director/COO, José de Castro. A chemical engineer with extensive lithium project experience, he headed Orocobre’s (TSX:ORL) Olaroz Salar lithium project from exploration to commercial production. He also supervised exploration of Argentina’s Salinas Grandes salar and developed a patent to produce battery-grade lithium carbonate.

One week before de Castro’s June appointment, Gordon Neal joined NRG’s board. Having served with several explorers, Neal has raised over $500 million for resource companies since 2004.

Update: Far Resources mobilizes for Manitoba lithium on finding more spodumene-bearing dykes

July 11th, 2017

(Update: On July 11 Far Resources announced a helicopter-supported field crew had mobilized to assess the newly found spodumene-bearing dykes, supplement historic data and build a 3D model prior to further drilling.)

by Greg Klein | July 4, 2017

Seeing further potential for its Zoro lithium project in Manitoba, Far Resources CSE:FAT reports additional spodumene-bearing dykes on the Snow Lake region property. A field program found the dykes in trenches, pits and outcrops between previously reported dykes 5 and 7, the company stated. “Accordingly, potential exists for new spodumene-bearing dykes adjacent to dykes 2, 3, 4 and 6 on the property and the area will become the focus of upcoming field work in 2017.”

Far Resources finds more spodumene-bearing dykes on its Manitoba lithium project

Chip sampling results released in May assayed from 1.46% to 6.35% Li2O for Dyke 5 and 1.35% to 2.91% for Dyke 7. Later that month results from a seven-hole, 1,088-metre stepout drill campaign on Dyke 1 showed intercepts up to 1.2% Li2O over 38.3 metres.

Site exploration and 3D modelling has been assisted by advice from Robert Linnen of the University of Western Ontario and Tania Martins of the Manitoba Geological Survey, two pegmatite scientists who accompanied the most recent field study.

In New Mexico, meanwhile, Far Resources last month closed its acquisition of the Winston gold project, where the company hopes to begin an initial program of six to eight holes to confirm historic results. “We have compiled two separate expert teams to advance these projects and, over the coming months, we will be making some strategic decisions on how best to advance both these projects to ensure each is managed to its best advantage,” said president/CEO Keith Anderson.