Drilling on project to derive lithium from geothermal brine to start in Nevada

Chemetall Foote Lithium Operation in Clayton Valley, Nevada (source: flickr/ Doc Searls, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 26 Jul 2018

MGX Minerals has announced having mobilised a drilling rig for its Kibby Basin Lithium Brine Project. The project plans to use specific technology to extract lithium from geothermal brine.

MGX Minerals Inc. announces the engagement of Harris Exploration Drilling and Associates Inc. for drilling on the Kibby Basin, Nevada lithium brine property. MGX is partnered with Belmont Resources (TSX-V: BEA) on the Property and is currently earning a 50% interest for the purpose of forming a 50/50 Joint Venture (the “Joint Venture”) utilizing MGX’s rapid lithium extraction technology. Drill hole targets were generated based on results from the Quantec MT geophysical survey completed in January. The proposed drill holes are designed to test a large MT conductor, which may represent aquifers containing lithium brines. The drill holes have been designed to intercept the MT anomaly starting at depths of 325 m (1065 ft.) and continue to as deep as 760 m (2500 ft.). The objective is to determine the nature of the conductor, collect sediment samples for lithium analyses, identify aquifers and sample water and any brines encountered.

Harris Drilling will employ a RD 10 rotary drill to complete the holes. Drill samples will be collected continuously on 3 m (10 ft) intervals and analyzed for lithium and associated elements. Water samples will be collected periodically as the hole progresses and will be analyzed for lithium, associated elements, and physical properties (conductivity, pH, TDS). Downhole geophysical logging will be performed by Southwest Exploration Services of Chandler, Arizona to identify permeable/aquifer zones and zones of conductivity. Aquifer water will be sampled using downhole packers to isolate the aquifer intervals. Previous drilling reached a depth of 457 m (1498 ft) in playa sediments outside of the MT anomaly.

About the Kibby Basin Lithium Brine Project

Kibby Basin is located in the western portion of the Great Basin in Nevada. The property covers 2,560 acres located in Esmeralda County, Nevada. Kibby Flat is a dry playa and no springs or water sources occur on the Property. Geothermal research by the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology (“NvBMG”) identified three wells and springs in the region. All three sources indicated near-surface water. Nevada has abundant geothermal resources and NvBMG compilation has outlined areas with potential heat flow, based on surface temperatures of springs, drill hole-water temperatures, geothermal-related geochemical signatures, and associated geologic settings. These areas suggest zones of potential elevated heat flow.

Geologic research of the Kibby Basin has indicated that proximal rhyolitic flows and tuffs surrounding the basin could be a potential source of Li brine in the Kibby Basin Playa. In addition, the Kibby Basin is located within a geothermal cluster at a basin low setting. Regional geophysical signatures in the area reflect similar anomalies comparative to that of Clayton Valley, approximately 50km to the South, location of Abermarle’s Silver Peak Mine, the only North American lithium producer.

Rapid Lithium Brine Extraction Technology

MGX has developed a rapid lithium extraction technology eliminating or greatly reducing the physical footprint and investment in large, multi-phase, lake sized, lined evaporation ponds, as well as enhancing the quality of extraction and recovery across a complex range of brines as compared with traditional solar evaporation. This technology is applicable to petrolithium (oil and gas wastewater), natural brine, and other brine sources such as lithium-rich mine and industrial plant wastewater. The technology was recently chosen as winner of the Base and Specialty Metals Industry Leadership Award at the 2018 S&P Global Platts Global Metals Awards, held in London in May (see press release dated May 18, 2018).

About the Kibby Basin Lithium Joint Venture

MGX will acquire a 25% interest in the Project by spending $300,000 on exploration and 50% by incurring an additional $300,000 in exploration expense at which time the project will become a 50/50 Joint Venture. Upon formation of a Joint Venture, MGX will become the Project operator and can elect to conduct additional exploration drilling, well testing operations, and extraction plant installation. Additionally, MGX will provide access to its rapid lithium extraction technology (see press release dated July 13, 2018).

Source: Company release