Monday 20th November 2017

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘Voltaic Minerals Corp (VLT)’

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.

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

July 21st, 2017

…Read more

Voltaic Minerals encouraged by lithium brine extraction tests

June 15th, 2017

by Greg Klein | June 15, 2017

The goal of quicker, cheaper lithium extraction came closer as Voltaic Minerals TSXV:VLT announced progress on a new technique to separate the battery mineral from brines. Conducted by Lithium Selective Technologies at its northern California facility, initial tests produced significant enhancement of lithium concentration and lithium-calcium ratios, LiST stated. The company’s staff have over 85 combined years of related experience.

Voltaic Minerals encouraged by lithium brine extraction tests

Lithium occurs with other minerals in an over-
saturated brine at Voltaic’s Green Energy project in Utah.

Their tests apply techniques already used commercially in mineral extraction and water treatment but new to lithium production. The techniques were adapted to an artificial brine based on historic fluid analysis from Voltaic’s Green Energy project in Utah.

Historic data from oil and gas exploration shows lithium-bearing brine originating from clastic units on the 1,683-hectare property, where the company hopes to begin sampling this summer.

“We are extremely optimistic that increased selectivity performance and concentration enhancement can be expected as optimization testing proceeds,” said William Bourcier of LiST.

As research continues, the two companies have extended their exclusivity agreement while a definitive agreement could follow further tests. Meanwhile the initial results will undergo third-party verification. The final outcome could be marketed to other lithium brine projects.

“If successful, this process could create value from known resources in the U.S. and globally,” added Voltaic project manager and 35-year chemical engineer Tom Currin.

Read more about Voltaic Minerals and the selective extraction project.

Voltaic Minerals project manager Tom Currin comments on selective extraction tests for the company’s Green Energy lithium brine project in Utah

May 19th, 2017

…Read more

Lab work evaluates Voltaic Minerals’ potential for domestic U.S. lithium

April 11th, 2017

by Greg Klein | April 11, 2017

A California lab now has lithium extraction tests underway that could prove productive for Voltaic Minerals’ (TSXV:VLT) Green Energy property in Utah, as well as other lithium brine projects. Lithium Selective Technologies has begun work on an artificial brine similar to that determined by historic fluid analysis at Green Energy. With a team comprising 85 years of related experience, LiST endeavours to find a selection process for non-conventional brines.

Lab work evaluates Voltaic Minerals’ potential for domestic U.S. lithium

Selective extraction could open Utah’s potential
for unconventional sources of lithium brine.

The result could open lithium brine potential closer to Tesla’s Gigafactories, without relying on the huge evaporation ponds and exceedingly dry climate that characterize South American deposits.

“If successful, this process could create value from known resources in the U.S. and globally,” said Tom Currin. A 35-year chemical engineer, the Voltaic project manager and LiST principal has extensive experience in lithium projects and selective extraction. “The company is incorporating selective techniques used commercially in mineral extraction and water treatment in a novel fashion to achieve a result not yet seen in the lithium process sector.”

Phase I would take about 90 days and should provide enough data for the two companies to sign a definitive agreement to further develop and market the process.

Last week Voltaic announced an agreement with Stormcrow Capital to provide strategic, technical and business support. Led by Jon Hykawy, a physicist with an MBA in marketing who’s a recognized expert in critical and energy minerals, Stormcrow will introduce Voltaic to potential investors and partners, as well as offer technical analysis regarding selective extraction.

Historic oil and gas exploration data shows lithium-bearing brine originating from clastic units on the 1,683-hectare Green Energy property. Voltaic’s next steps include re-opening the wellheads to conduct sampling, expected to begin in spring or summer.

Voltaic Minerals project manager Thomas Currin discusses a selective extraction process for lithium

December 15th, 2016

…Read more

Voltaic Minerals verifies brine flow, works towards bulk sampling on Utah lithium project

December 12th, 2016

by Greg Klein | December 12, 2016

A thorough review of historic data confirms brine flow on Voltaic Minerals’ (TSXV:VLT) Green Energy lithium project in Utah’s Paradox Basin. Analysis shows that brine flow in five oil and gas exploration wells originated from multiple sources including four of the property’s clastic units.

Voltaic Minerals verifies brine flow, works towards bulk sampling on Utah lithium project

Already figuring prominently in a 3D model created earlier by Voltaic, clastic unit #14 was historically intercepted in three wells at an average depth of about 1,900 metres and measured 6.1 metres thick.

To follow up, Voltaic hopes to re-open historic well heads for bulk sampling, potentially confirming a lithium-bearing zone, as well as verifying brine data including flow rates, temperature and metallurgy.

Historic data reports brine carrying lithium up to 187 milligrams per litre on the 1,683-hectare property and up to 1,700 mg/l 150 metres east.

The company also continues its work with newly appointed director/project manager Thomas Currin and Enertrex Corp to develop a selective lithium extraction process that would cut time and costs, with a plan to market the process to other companies.

Read more about Voltaic Minerals.

Lithium: from brine to market

November 29th, 2016

Voltaic Minerals aims to simplify extraction and commercialize the process

by Greg Klein

Update: With Thomas Currin a principal in the company, Lithium Selective Technologies has taken the place of Enertrex Corp in the selective extraction studies.

Cost of production and timeline to market—those are critical issues for any project in the increasingly crowded lithium space. And that’s what attracted Thomas Currin to Voltaic Minerals TSXV:VLT. The newly appointed director/project manager sees the company’s Green Energy project in Utah’s Paradox Basin as highly prospective for creating a selective extraction process that would address both challenges. With Currin on board, Voltaic hopes not only to develop a successful project but to market the process to other companies.

“Some people like to classify lithium as a commodity, but it’s a specialty chemical,” Currin explains. “In the specialty chemical business you don’t separate R&D and process development from manufacturing. A good specialty chemical company is one that’s been able to integrate all those applications.

Voltaic Minerals wants to simplify extraction and commercialize the process

“I’m a chemical engineer who’s been in the manufacturing process in the lithium field for 35 years,” he adds. “With a manufacturing process background everything is about opex and capex, and how to optimize both.”

Having managed lithium extraction projects in Chile, Peru, Mexico, Canada and the U.S., he’s worked for FMC Lithium, Li3 Energy, his own company Limtech Technologies and currently Enertrex Corp, which signed an MOU with Voltaic late last month.

As technical consultant for Enertrex he’s been working with two PhDs on selective removal of specific minerals from wastewater streams and geothermal brines. “We’ve come up with a technology that can extract lithium selectively, so we were looking for a project that could commercialize our technology. I’ve seen pretty much every lithium project in the world over the last 10 to 15 years, and what attracted me to Voltaic and the Paradox Basin are the oil and gas wells in a Basin that also has lithium salts and potassium salts.”

Located about 965 kilometres from the Tesla Motors Gigafactory and close to road, rail, power and the Intrepid Potash NYSE:IPI Cane Creek solution mine, the 1,683-hectare Green Energy property underwent oil and gas drilling during the 1960s. Historic analysis of regional drilling showed lithium in saturated brines grading 81 mg to 174 mg per litre.

“Here’s a project with historic wells, historic data, a few kilometres from a facility producing potash which is a very similar salt to lithium, and a company that realizes that time to market is critical.

“It seemed like a perfect match, the place to do process development work in parallel with resource development and demonstrate Enertrex’s lithium-specific process. If we could remove the lithium economically, we could market it to other lithium projects. The technology would be a paradigm-shifter.”

After evaluating historic data, Voltaic plans to re-perforate some of the wells and draw samples. While the company evaluates Green Energy’s resource potential, Currin will study the concentrations of lithium and impurities like magnesium, calcium and boron to develop the processing chemistry.

That’s what we’re taking advantage of—existing technologies, proven systems that we can re-configure to extract the lithium from a saturated impurity stream. With all the other technologies, you have to remove all the impurities before you extract the lithium. That’s a tremendous cost.—Thomas Currin,
director/project manager
for Voltaic Minerals

“Sampling traditionally takes 20-litre amounts, but our first sample will be 20,000 litres so we can start processing it,” he explains. “Our money will be invested in developing not only a 43-101 resource but also a process by which we can be competitive.”

Call it optimistic or aggressive, Voltaic believes a property of merit could potentially offer customers a 100-kilogram sample of lithium carbonite within 14 months. Plans call for three 90-day testing phases into H2 of next year, when work would overlap with pilot-scale processing.

“This isn’t my first rodeo,” Currin notes.

With Limtech he developed a selective process to extract and concentrate silica from geothermal brines, which won the company a 2016 Outstanding Partnership Regional Award from the U.S. Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer.

He’s also worked on selective lithium-ion exchange resins with FMC and, in his client project work, evaluated the use of several lithium-selective solvent exchange systems.

“The membrane technology for de-salinization has become much more economical, that technology has blossomed in the last 10 years, and that’s what we’re taking advantage of—existing technologies, proven systems that we can re-configure to extract the lithium from a saturated impurity stream. With all the other technologies, you have to remove all the impurities before you extract the lithium. That’s a tremendous cost.”

In addition to replacing the lengthy solar evaporation stage, the process would feature a modular design that could speed progress from pilot plant to production. With Green Energy’s existing wells, the project’s fast-track potential looks good, he maintains.

Should success be achieved there, the process could be applied to deposits with different metallurgy, making the technique marketable to other companies.

“Chilean brines are the most cost-effective sources of lithium in the world,” he says. “But there’s growing demand for sources outside South America. Our selective extraction process could help other projects compete with the Lithium Triangle.”