Friday 18th September 2020

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘utah’

Ares Strategic Mining launches this summer’s second drill program at its Utah fluorspar project

September 9th, 2020

by Greg Klein | September 9, 2020

With Phase I drilling completed in June and assays released just last week, Phase II has already begun at a former mine that this company plans to put back into production. Ares Strategic Mining TSXV:ARS now has an RC rig testing new targets on a program of 10 to 15 holes totalling up to 1,500 metres at its Lost Sheep fluorspar project in Utah.

Ares Strategic Mining launches this summer’s second drill program at its Utah fluorspar project

An example of fluorite-bearing volcanic
breccia found at surface on Lost Sheep.

The company has near-term plans to resume Lost Sheep production without de-risking through successive PEA and feasibility studies. The Mujim Group bought a 9% stake in Ares earlier this year after the multinational fluorspar mining and distribution company visited Lost Sheep. Should all go to plan, the mine would be America’s sole producer of fluorspar, ranked on both the U.S. list of 35 critical minerals and the EU list of 30 critical raw materials.

The current work follows delineation results released August 31 from 12 RC holes totalling 900 metres that brought high grades over wide intervals.

Two or three new holes totalling 200 to 300 metres will test for possible continuity between the recently drilled LGP pipe and the property’s former Purple Pit underground operation. Former miners at the latter area have told the company mineralization continues towards LGP.

At least five more holes totalling 500 to 700 metres will target nearby breccia pipes that show exposed fluorspar at surface. Success in this area would lead to additional holes to delineate near-surface mineralization.

“Ares is currently considering expanding the proposed production capacity and processing facilities at its mine,” said president/CEO James Walker. “The company anticipates secondary and tertiary mining operations at other sites in the future. By moving our drill program forward, we hope to enable faster expansion of our production capabilities once mining operations have commenced.”

The plan calls for supply of both metspar and the higher-priced acidspar. Metallurgical studies have upgraded Lost Sheep material into 97% CaF2 acidspar. 

Ares’ portfolio also includes northern British Columbia’s Liard fluorspar project, which hosts historic, non-43-101 estimates for seven areas of the highway-accessible property.

Read more about Ares Strategic Mining.

Meet the Zimtu teams

September 3rd, 2020

Eight companies offer eight opportunities at one online event

by Greg Klein | September 3, 2020

Eight companies offer eight opportunities at one online event

 

Their projects span early exploration to advanced development. Their goals include base, precious and critical minerals, but also extend to technology and energy. A wide range of potential comes to the fore on September 10, when Zimtu Capital TSXV:ZC presents a Zoom conference highlighting eight of its colleague companies.

Below we offer an overview of each company. But first here’s how to take part.

To attend, RSVP MPatience@Zimtu.com.

The event takes place September 10 at 8 a.m. Vancouver/Pacific time, 11 a.m. Toronto/Eastern time, 5 p.m. Frankfurt/Central European time.

Click this link to connect.

If prompted, enter meeting ID 868 2490 1684 and meeting passcode 679221.

To take part by phone, dial by location:

Canada toll-free
855 703 8985     

U.S. toll-free
833 548 0276
833 548 0282
877 853 5257
888 475 4499       

Germany toll-free
0 800 000 6954
0 800 000 1590

Switzerland
+41 43 210 71 08
+41 44 529 92 72
+41 22 591 00 05
+41 22 591 01 56
+41 31 528 09 88
+41 43 210 70 42

Meeting ID: 868 2490 1684

Click here to find your local number.

 

And here are the companies

 

Arctic Star Exploration TSXV:ADD

Promising geology and proven methodology will come together at Arctic Star Exploration’s (TSXV:ADD) Diagras project in the Northwest Territories’ diamondiferous Lac de Gras region. Currently holding 40% of a joint venture, the company intends to assume operation and increase its ownership when spring offers optimum work conditions.

In addition to drilling, Arctic Star’s plans include gravity and electromagnetic surveys on seven of the property’s 21 known kimberlites. The gravity/EM approach follows that of Kennady Diamonds, which successfully employed the methodology on its Kennady North project two kilometres away. In 2018 Kennady North was acquired by Mountain Province Diamonds TSX:MPVD, De Beers’ JV partner on the adjacent Gahcho Kué mine. Gravity and EM have so far found five drill targets at Diagras.

Arctic Star’s 100%-held Timantti diamond project in Finland hosts nine known diamondiferous kimberlites. With some 150 kilograms of samples ready for processing, ground work is expected to resume once pandemic conditions allow.

Read more about Arctic Star Exploration.

 

Ares Strategic Mining TSXV:ARS

Eight companies offer eight opportunities at one online event

Once re-opened, Lost Sheep will be
America’s only producing fluorspar mine.

The U.S. currently imports its entire supply of this critical mineral but Ares Strategic Mining TSXV:ARS plans to change that soon by opening the country’s only fluorspar operation. Production at Utah’s Lost Sheep mine could begin this autumn without de-risking through successive PEA and feasibility studies, but with the apparent confidence of the Mujim Group. The multinational fluorspar mining and distribution company visited the property earlier this year prior to buying a 9% stake in Ares.

Three of five exploration holes found visible fluorspar, while assays have just been released from 12 holes totalling 900 metres of delineation drilling. Results show high grades over wide intervals from near-surface and at-surface intercepts. Metallurgical tests have upgraded Lost Sheep material above 97% CaF2, achieving the level of higher-priced acidspar.

Ares also holds the Liard fluorspar project in northern British Columbia. Seven areas of the highway-accessible 476-hectare property host historic, non-43-101 estimates.

Read more about Ares Strategic Mining.

September 9 update: Ares launches this summer’s second drill program at Lost Sheep.

 

Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE

Eight companies offer eight opportunities at one online event

Well-understood host minerals, distribution of magnet
feed elements and a friendly jurisdiction distinguish
Commerce Resources’ RE-fluorspar project.

Few if any elements dominate concern about critical minerals like rare earths. That places all the more focus on Commerce Resources’ (TSXV:CCE) Ashram deposit, an advanced-stage Quebec project that also hosts one of the world’s largest fluorspar resources. While working towards pre-feasibility, the company has metallurgical studies advancing on a number of levels, benefiting not only Ashram but the creation of supply chains independent of China. The deposit’s carbonatite-hosted mineralization and relatively simple monazite, bastnasite and xenotime mineralogy complement conventional rare earths processing. Metallurgy has also upgraded Ashram’s fluorspar content to higher-priced acidspar.

Ashram also features a strong presence of high-demand magnet feed elements neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium. Work is underway to upgrade the 2012 resource that used a 1.25% cutoff to show:

  • measured and indicated: 29.27 million tonnes averaging 1.9% total rare earth oxides and 2.94% fluorine

  • inferred: 219.8 million tonnes averaging 1.88% TREO and 2.21% F

The deposit starts at surface.

Looking at other critical minerals, Commerce also holds the advanced-stage Blue River tantalum-niobium deposit in southern British Columbia.

Read more about Commerce Resources.

September 10 update: Saville Resources, Commerce Resources find more fluorspar in re-assayed core from Quebec niobium-tantalum project.

 

Core Assets Corp CSE:CC

Eight companies offer eight opportunities at one online event

Historic results, more recent sampling and a
greater understanding of regional geology prompted
Core Assets’ major land expansion in B.C.

Determined to become a major explorer in northwestern British Columbia’s Golden Triangle, Core Assets Corp CSE:CC started trading in July, then began September with a nine-fold property expansion. The inspiration for boosting its Blue and Silver Lime holdings to 14,815 hectares comes from continual advancements in the understanding of porphyry, skarn and carbonate replacement-type deposits globally and in the Triangle itself.

The new ground covers the Llewelyn fault zone, which the company believes to be the main transport corridor for high-grade metals found on the property at surface. An historic, non-43-101 drill hole at Blue reached 0.27% copper over 173.2 metres. Grab samples from 2018 graded up to 1.57 g/t gold, 46.5 g/t silver and 8.46% copper.

The 2018 grab samples from never-drilled Silver Lime included 1.16 g/t gold, 913 g/t silver, 12.45% zinc and 20% lead. Core’s regionally experienced team plans a regional magnetic survey over the property.

Watch an interview with the Core Assets team.

 

Dimension Five Technologies CSE:DFT

Creating high-value products, even energy, from waste materials is the goal of Aduro Energy, now subject of an LOI for a reverse takeover by Dimension Five Technologies CSE:DFT. Founded in 2012, Ontario-based Aduro has developed a smart chemistry approach using three water-based technologies to transform diverse feedstocks that include renewable oils as well as waste plastics, foams and rubber. The result can be new plastics, foams, hydrocarbon fuels or specialty chemicals.

Aduro has its three areas of technology—trademarked as Hydrochemolytic Plastics Upgrading, Hydrochemolytic Renewables Upgrading and Hydrochemolytic Bitumen Upgrading—now undergoing demonstration and commercialization stages.

Learn more about Aduro Energy.

 

Emerita Resources TSXV:EMO

Eight companies offer eight opportunities at one online event

Despite extensive previous mining, Aznalcollar
hosts an impressive historic base metals estimate.

Most of Spain’s bullion came from the New World but Emerita Resources TSXV:EMO believes there’s untapped gold-silver potential on its Paymogo polymetallic project. Located amid former and current operations in southern Spain’s Iberian Pyrite Belt, Paymogo’s Romanera deposit hosts an historic, non-43-101 estimate of 34 million tonnes averaging 0.42% copper, 2.2% lead, 2.3% zinc, 44.4 g/t silver and 0.8 g/t gold.

Eight kilometres away, Paymogo’s Infanta area has historic, non-43-101 reports of high-grade copper-lead-zinc-silver intervals. While preparing an exploration permit application, Emerita is compiling data from 51 holes at Romanera and 48 at Infanta for a digital database to guide another round of drilling.

The company also awaits a court decision regarding a disputed tender for the Aznalcollar zinc-lead past-producer on the same Iberian belt. In May Emerita signed a binding letter agreement to earn a 55% interest in the Sierra Alta gold property in northern Spain. Company assets also include a 50% JV interest in the Plaza Norte zinc project near Spain’s northern coast.

Read more about Emerita Resources.

September 9 update: Emerita releases historic assays prior to drilling Paymogo.

 

Saville Resources TSXV:SRE

Eight companies offer eight opportunities at one online event

Saville outperformed historic intercepts with its
Phase I drill program on the Niobium Claim Group in Quebec.

Two kilometres from Commerce Resources’ Ashram RE-fluorspar deposit, another company explores for other critical minerals—niobium and tantalum. Working on a 75% earn-in from Commerce, Saville Resources TSXV:SRE has also found fluorspar potential on the early-stage Niobium Claim Group.

Saville sunk five holes last year in a promising Phase I campaign on the property’s Mallard prospect. Along with historic results, three drill programs total 14 holes and 3,537 metres on Mallard. Each program surpassed its predecessor for grades and widths while expanding three zones of mineralization that remain open in all directions. Encouraging historic drill results have also come from the project’s Northwest and Star Trench prospects. Yet to be drilled are other high-priority areas, especially Miranna where high-grade boulder samples have reached an exceptional 5.93% Nb2O5.

The property’s host rock predominates in pyrochlore-group minerals and/or ferrocolumbite, amenable to familiar processing methods as the world’s main source of niobium supply.

September 10 update: Saville Resources, Commerce Resources find more fluorspar in re-assayed core from Quebec niobium-tantalum project.

 

Zinc8 Energy Solutions CSE:ZAIR

Intermittent green electricity, grid backup and off-grid supply call for long-term electrical storage. Zinc8 Energy Solutions CSE:ZAIR has made inroads into New York by offering a low-cost, reliable approach.

The company’s system stores electricity in zinc particles, avoiding expensive battery minerals like lithium, vanadium and cobalt. When the storage system provides electricity, zinc particles combine with oxygen. When the system recharges, the zinc particles are regenerated and oxygen is returned.

Storage can be scaled from 20 kW to megawatts, making Zinc8’s system suitable for microgrids and utilities. The latter have already shown interest. 

In January the New York Power Authority, America’s largest public power organization, selected the Zinc8 system out of more than 60 contenders for a commercial or industrial demonstration facility. Two months later Digital Energy Corp chose Zinc8 to install a 100 kW/1.5 MWh storage system at a combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Brooklyn. Buoyed by New York interest, Zinc8 has since created a U.S. subsidiary.

Read an op-ed by Zinc8 president/CEO Ron MacDonald.

 

The Zoom with Zimtu event takes place September 10 at 8 a.m. Vancouver/Pacific time, 11 a.m. Toronto/Eastern time, 5 p.m. Frankfurt/Central European time. Click here and learn how to attend.

 

Ares Strategic Mining releases high fluorspar grades from near-term U.S. producer

August 31st, 2020

by Greg Klein | August 31, 2020

Buoyed by encouraging drill results, this company advances plans to open what would be the only fluorspar mine in the U.S. On August 31 Ares Strategic Mining TSXV:ARS released assays from 12 RC holes at its Lost Sheep project in Utah. With some grades high enough for direct shipping to customers, the results validate historic reports from the property, the company stated.

Ares Strategic Mining releases high fluorspar grades from near-term U.S. producer

Reverse circulation drilling confirmed high grades at
America’s only permitted site for fluorspar production.

Among the highest grades were:

  • 56.33% calcium fluoride over 42.67 metres, starting at 7.62 metres
  • (including 72.87% over 21.34 metres)

  • 54.3% over 28.95 metres, starting at 12.19 metres
  • (including 68.47% over 21.34 metres)

  • 69.19% over 9.7 metres, starting at surface

  • 58.91% over 30.48 metres, starting at surface
  • (including 68.15% over 25.91 metres)

True widths weren’t available.

“The results have been a great validation of our project assessment and its potential,” commented president/CEO James Walker. “Not only do we have the only permitted and producing fluorspar mine in the U.S., but we can now confirm high grades of naturally occurring fluorspar at our mine.”

Declared a critical mineral by the U.S., that country currently has no significant domestic supply. Metallurgical tests on Lost Sheep material have reached over 97% CaF2, the higher-priced acidspar grade used in refrigerants, pharmaceuticals, electronics, aluminum production and lithium-ion batteries. Metspar, grading under 97%, finds uses in steel and cement production.

P&E Mining Consultants will use the drilling data to compile a resource estimate, economic models and mine design, Ares stated. With veteran mine-builder Keith Minty acting as VP/project manager, the company plans to begin operations without de-risking at the PEA or feasibility stage. “Ares is advancing with its mine construction plans with the anticipation to supply to U.S. industry in the near future,” Walker said.

Read more about Ares Strategic Mining.

Ares Strategic Mining CEO James Walker discusses near-term production plans for America’s only fluorspar mine

August 27th, 2020

…Read more

Ares Strategic Mining appoints Keith Minty project manager for U.S. fluorspar property

August 19th, 2020

by Greg Klein | August 19, 2020

A shares-for-debt agreement solidifies the participation of a seasoned mine-builder in a near-term production plan. On August 19 Ares Strategic Mining TSXV:ARS announced the appointment of Keith Minty P.Eng. as VP/project manager for its Lost Sheep fluorspar project in Utah. The company hopes to begin production as early as autumn of this year, making the operation the sole fluorspar mine in the U.S.

Under the agreement Minty will settle $14,100 of present invoices and 60% of future invoices through shares. The company “welcomes Mr. Minty to its shareholder base and draws great confidence from the endorsement and assessment he has made of the company’s potential,” Ares stated.

Last June president/CEO James Walker told ResourceClips.com that Minty “helped put nine mines into production that are way bigger than ours.”

Ares Strategic Mining appoints Keith Minty project manager for U.S. fluorspar property

Ares plans to re-open a permitted former fluorspar operation
as the United States’ sole producer of this critical mineral.

In 2000 Northern Miner named him Mining Man of the Year for turning around the Lac des Iles PGM mine in Ontario now held by Impala Canada. The publication credited Minty with exploration that expanded the operation, as well as corporate housecleaning and a technical review of mining and processing operations.

“His project development experience will be an invaluable asset to the company during the development stages of our Lost Sheep mine,” commented Walker. “We consider his involvement to be a major validation of our plans and future ambitions.”

The company plans to move to production without de-risking at the PEA or feasibility levels. Fluorspar, also known as fluorite and calcium fluoride (CaF2) is considered a critical mineral in the U.S. and EU. The U.S. currently has no significant domestic production. The 586-hectare Lost Sheep property is permitted for mining.

The company has assays pending from last spring’s 12-hole, 900-metre drill campaign and has conducted metallurgical tests to upgrade Lost Sheep material to higher-grade, higher-priced acidspar. Last month Ares contracted P&E Mining Consultants to complete a mine plan for Lost Sheep.

Ares also holds the 476-hectare Liard property in northern British Columbia, an April acquisition that came with historic, non-43-101 fluorspar estimates.

Read more about Ares Strategic Mining.

Ares Strategic Mining hires P&E Mining Consultants to design Utah fluorspar operation

July 2nd, 2020

by Greg Klein | July 2, 2020

A company with near-term plans to re-open America’s only source of this critical mineral has taken another step towards production. Ares Strategic Mining TSXV:ARS has contracted P&E Mining Consultants to complete the mine plan for the former Lost Sheep fluorspar operation in Utah. P&E has extensive experience in geological interpretation and modeling, technical report writing, mine design, production scheduling, operating and capital cost estimates, and metallurgical engineering, Ares stated.

Ares Strategic Mining hires P&E Mining Consultants to design Utah fluorspar operation

Reduced to quarry operations in recent years,
Lost Sheep could see new life as an underground mine.

The intention is “not to fulfil PEA requirements, but to provide mining personnel the systems and information to efficiently and directly operate and manage the mining operation,” the company added. Ares hopes to re-open Lost Sheep without the de-risking stages of advanced 43-101 reports.

Should all go to plan, Lost Sheep would be the country’s only producer of this mineral considered critical for its applications in refrigerants, pharmaceuticals, electronics, and lithium-ion batteries, as well as aluminum, steel and cement production.

“After having completed our delineation drilling, Lidar and metallurgical work, the company is now moving to the next stages of development which precede mining and production,” said CEO James Walker. “Once this stage is complete, we will have the methodology, models, mining techniques and plans to best exploit the mine and fluorspar deposits. We are very happy to be making continuous progress towards our goals, and we look forward to returning an industry to the U.S. and being the only fluorspar producer in the country.”

Read more about Ares Strategic Mining.

A critical first for the U.S.

June 26th, 2020

Ares Strategic Mining has near-term plans for the country’s only fluorspar operation

by Greg Klein | June 26, 2020

The way James Walker tells it, Utah’s Lost Sheep fluorspar mine was down to a part-time operation for just two men. Having seen better days between 1948 and 2007, operations dwindled to the point that “a couple of old guys were just driving a loader straight into the face of the fluorspar and putting that into bags. The grade was so rich that was all they had to do. So they just did that a couple of days a week and then they’d go off and fish most of the time.”

Ares Strategic Mining has near-term plans for the country’s only fluorspar operation

VP of exploration Raul Sanabria at
one of the project’s fluorspar showings.

Sounds idyllic, but the president/CEO of Ares Strategic Mining TSXV:ARS saw far greater potential. Walker was looking for a project “that was close to cash-flow and didn’t need a huge investment like $20 million to boost production,” he relates. “We looked over a couple of hundred projects and this one came up. It had been overlooked because the mineral itself wasn’t very well known. It was the only mine in all of America that was permitted and producing fluorspar.”

A year of effort consummated in February with Ares’ 100% acquisition which, along with additionally staked claims, delivered a 586-hectare potentially near-term producer that would comprise an American mining monopoly.

That’s based on a bold plan to move forward without the usual 43-101 de-risking stages. Walker attributes his confidence partly to the project and partly to the market.

As he said, fluorspar isn’t well known. But it’s highly coveted nonetheless. Also known as fluorite and more technically referred to as calcium fluoride (CaF2), it’s considered a critical mineral by the U.S. and EU.

Acidspar, the higher-priced fluorspar grading over 97% CaF2, is used to create hydrofluoric acid for refrigerants, pharmaceuticals and electronics, among other applications, and is also used in lithium-ion batteries and aluminum production. Lower-priced metspar, grading under 97%, goes into steel and cement production.

China produced over 57% of world fluorspar supply last year, according to U.S. Geological Survey data, followed by Mexico at 17%. With no significant production of its own, the U.S. has been importing about 66% of supply from Mexico, 13% from Vietnam, 8% from South Africa and 6% from China. Several of the world’s mines have been operating at or near full capacity, the USGS added. Roskill considers China likely to become a net fluorspar importer.

Ares Strategic Mining has near-term plans for the country’s only fluorspar operation

Assays are pending from last spring’s
delineation and exploration drill campaigns.

Ares’ work so far has Walker enthusiastic.

Although assays are still to come, last spring the company sunk 12 holes totalling 900 metres to delineate the old guys’ target area. Another five-hole, 300-metre exploration program revealed visible fluorspar in three holes. Metallurgical tests, meanwhile, upgraded Lost Sheep material beyond 97% CaF2, into the higher-priced acidspar level. That highlights the potential for bulk mining instead of selective extraction, Walker says.

He foresees possible production by October or even September with an initial 15- to 20-person operation. The mine plan calls for an adit to intersect a fluorspar-bearing pipe which would be drilled and blasted from the bottom. An underground loader or conveyor belt would move material to a truck which would carry it to the company’s own crushing, grinding, flotation and bagging facility.

“We also have a stockpile of discarded low-grade just sitting there. The other guys couldn’t sell it, they didn’t have a refining process.”

An impressive vote of confidence quickly came from the Mujim Group, a multinational fluorspar mining and distribution company. Soon after Ares announced the Lost Sheep acquisition, Mujim engineers visited the property. A strategic partnership resulted, with the group buying a 9% stake in Ares. Mujim managing director Bob Li joined Ares’ board earlier this month, bringing with him experience running fluorspar mines in Thailand and Laos, along with fluorspar trading companies in India, China and the Emirates. He’ll advise Ares on topics ranging from equipment selection and mining methods to processing techniques.

Walker himself is an engineer, not a common background for a junior mining CEO but especially suitable for a near-term producer. He’s worked on design projects for nuclear reactors, submarines, chemical plants, factories, infrastructure and automotive machinery, as well as mine processing facilities.

In charge of the Lost Sheep mine plan is Keith Minty, a mining engineer with 26 years of project development and operation experience over three continents. “He’s helped put nine mines into production that are way bigger than ours,” enthuses Walker.

Ares Strategic Mining has near-term plans for the country’s only fluorspar operation

CEO James Walker foresees operations
by September or October.

VP of exploration Raul Sanabria’s 20-year background includes five years with the Minersa Group, an industrial minerals company that’s Europe’s largest fluorspar producer. Denise Nunes brings over 20 years of experience as a process engineer and metallurgist to manage Ares’ bench testing and design a processing facility.

“We’re quite well-connected in the mining world so we have access to the best personnel for this project,” Walker emphasizes.

He points to financial backing too. Sprott Capital Partners helped broker a private placement that closed on $1.97 million in February. Haywood Securities acted as financial adviser on an over-subscribed private placement that closed on $1.13 million earlier this month. Walker anticipates a debt financing with Sprott on completing the mine plan.

In northern British Columbia, meanwhile, the company acquired the Liard fluorspar project last April. The highway-accessible 476-hectare property comes with historic, non-43-101 resources for seven areas. A joint venture, possibly with Mujim, might be the vehicle to drive the project, Walker says.

Other acquisitions are possible too, especially in the U.S., he adds. Should all go to plan with Lost Sheep, Ares would hold an American mining monopoly on fluorspar. That’s a distinction Walker would like to maintain.

Watch a January interview with Roskill analyst Adam Coggins on fluorspar demand and prices.

Voltaic Minerals looks to waste water for lithium, continues selective extraction collaboration

September 21st, 2017

by Greg Klein | September 21, 2017

As the world searches for new supplies of energy minerals, waste water could provide another source for lithium. With that in mind, Voltaic Minerals TSXV:VLT has engaged Whittier Filtration, a division of Veolia Water Technologies, to conduct bench scale tests on samples that Voltaic has collected from industrial sites.

Voltaic Minerals looks to waste water for lithium, continues selective extraction collaboration

Calling it “a natural step in the progression of the company,” Voltaic president/CEO Darryl Jones said the program’s goal is to provide “additional solutions in the lithium brine production space for use at multiple locations worldwide. Veolia has the resources to develop the solutions for Voltaic, as well as to implement, operate and manage world class water treatment facilities.”

Veolia credits itself with over 350 types of technology used internationally, including online diagnostics, evaporation and crystallization, energy-producing sludge treatment, state-of-the-art desalination, laboratory-grade water and mobile water services.

Meanwhile Voltaic continues its collaboration with Lithium Selective Technologies, whose California lab works towards a selective extraction process that could be used for non-conventional lithium brines from Voltaic’s Green Energy project in Utah, as well as projects held by other companies.

In July the company closed the sale of its Stonewall lithium project in Nevada through an all-share deal with Macarthur Minerals TSXV:MMS.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with Voltaic Minerals president/CEO Darryl Jones.

Darryl Jones of Voltaic Minerals discusses the Green Energy lithium brine project in Utah

September 15th, 2017

…Read more

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.