Anson’s flagship project is its Paradox Brine Project in Utah, USA for which Anson is developing an industrial scale in-field pilot plant to produce lithium carbonate for supply to lithium ion battery cathode manufacturers for product qualification testing.
Anson is using newly developed technology to economically extract the lithium from the brine in less than 24 hours, compared to the traditional evaporation process which can take up to 12 months.
In addition, Anson is assessing the recovery and processing of other minerals to produce additional chemical products from iodine, bromine and boron also contained in the brine at its Paradox Brine Project. The recovery and processing of these minerals would provide multiple revenue streams for Anson.
Industrial Scale In-field Pilot Plant – Infrastructure Construction:
Supporting infrastructure for the industrial scale in-field pilot plant is being built in parallel with the design and engineering of the industrial scale in-field pilot plant, and a key step is the commissioning of tanks to hold brine extracted from the Cane Creek 32-1 well for use in the industrial scale in-field pilot plant, see Photo 1:
Each tank has a capacity of 400 barrels (63,595 litres) and will be used to feed brine to the industrial scale in-field pilot plant to ensure a continuous, uninterrupted supply of raw brine. Anson has been able to re-use the bunded area that was used during oil production and will use existing underground piping between the well head and the storage tanks and waste tanks that were also used during oil production resulting in a significant saving in infrastructure development costs and time as it continues to fast track the project to production. Further infrastructure development work will be undertaken over the coming months to establish the industrial scale in-field pilot plant at that Cane Creek 32-1 well site.
Industrial Scale In-field Pilot Plant – Design and Engineering:
Hatch and Lilac Solutions are advancing with the design and engineering of the industrial scale in-field pilot plant. Hatch are designing the pre-treatment and is working closely with Hazen on the test work being conducted for the extraction of iodine and bromine which are being considered as part of the pre-treatment process. Lilac Solutions are responsible for their proprietary Ion Exchange Process that extracts the lithium from the brine. Hatch is also working on the design of the process to produce battery grade lithium carbonate/hydroxide during the operation of the industrial scale in-field pilot plant.
Hatch has global network of 9,000 professionals with experience spanning over 150 countries around the world in the metals, energy, infrastructure, digital, and investments market sectors. Anson selected Hatch due to their experience with both hard rock and brine lithium projects globally.
Lilac Solutions has a unique ion exchange technology that enables lithium producers to streamline operations, boost lithium recovery, and access new resources. Anson selected Lilac Solutions’ proprietary Ion Exchange Process due to the speed of processing and high recoveries achieved in bench top test work compared to processes involving evaporation ponds.
Industrial Scale In-field Pilot Plant – Conceptual Flow Sheet:
The conceptual flow sheet of the industrial scale in-field pilot plant is shown below in Figure 1.
The industrial scale in-field pilot plant is one of the steps in progressing to a pre-feasibility study, and to produce lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) and/or lithium hydroxide (LiOH) samples for testing by prospective off-take partners.
The industrial scale in-field pilot plant will incorporate Lilac Solutions’ Ion Exchange technology which was used to produce Li2CO3and LiOH in lab scale experiments. See the announcements of 12 July 2018 and 3 October 2018 for further details.
The industrial scale in-field pilot plant is being designed as a flexible, permanent plant for ongoing test work to support optimising the processing process.
Industrial Scale In-field Pilot Plant – Process Refinement Test Work:
Hazen Research is performing pre-treatment test work. The results will be used by Hatch in the industrial scale in-field pilot plant design and engineering of the brine pre-treat stage prior to the brine being processed in Lilac Solutions’ Ion Exchange.
Hazen are continuing to optimize the by-product removal sections in parallel to the industrial scale in-field pilot plant engineering, targeting the recovery of iodine, boron and bromine products.
Hazen’s core business is designing, performing, and interpreting experimental work to provide design criteria and other technical information for new and existing processes. For more than 55 years, Hazen has provided chemical analyses, bench-scale experiments, continuous pilot plant demonstration, and field and other services. Hazen also designs flowsheets and reduces scaleup risks for commercial plants throughout the world.
Industrial Scale In-field Pilot Plant – Proposed Layout:
A proposed layout of the industrial scale in-field pilot plant is shown in Figure 2.
Finalisation of the location of the industrial scale in-field pilot plant follows the granting of State leases for Oil, Gas and Hydrocarbons (480 acres) and Mineral Salts and Potash Salts (640 acres) both of which cover the Cane Creek 32-1 pad area (10.6 acres) by the State of Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA).
Anson was able to successfully apply for the mineral salts lease because of the earlier purchase of the oil and gas lease. The granting of the lithium and salt lease is significant as it not only allows Anson to produce salts of Li, B, Br, I, Mg, Na and Ca but also enables Anson to build a pilot plant on the existing oil well pad, saving valuable time in advancing the project. The fenced Cane Creek 32-1 well pad covers an area of 10.6 acres (approximately 43,000 square meters) which is considered more than adequate for the planned of the industrial scale in-field pilot plant. In addition to reducing the time required to build the of the industrial scale in-field pilot plant, significant costs will be also saved by utilizing the existing well pad which is construction-ready. In-situ buildings can be erected to contain the of the industrial scale in-field pilot plant equipment.
This strategically important oil and gas lease contains the Cane Creek 32-1 oil well where artesian flow of brine occurred during the recent sampling program. Owning the lease enables Anson to extract the oil and gas which could possibly be used in future production processing, providing a low-cost source of energy for on-site power generation. Oil and gas have previously been produced from the Cane Creek 32-1 well. It is possible to extract both oil and gas and lithium brine from the same well from different clastic zones using separate tubing. Cognisant of this opportunity with the granting of the oil and gas lease when determining the location of the of the industrial scale in-field pilot plant, Anson has maintained the integrity of the oil and gas production facilities for possible future use.
About the Project and Location:
The Project sits on Robert’s Rupture within the Paradox Basin and has several favourable characteristics:
- 500ppm lithium has been assayed historically from Clastic Zone 31, a mere 40m away, with grades comparable to the highest known lithium brine grades worldwide;
- High concentrations of other minerals including boron and bromine were noted in assays;
- Clastic Zone 31 (containing lithium rich brines) is possibly replenished from aquifers below, and there are an additional 20 untested Clastic Zones possibly containing brines;
- Brines from Clastic Zone 31 are at higher temperature (600C compared to 400C) and pressure (twice) than expected; and
- Being located near the town of Moab in Utah, USA, approximately 11 hours by road from Tesla’s Gigafactory.
Tenements / Claims:
The Paradox Brine Project consists of 1,317 placer claims, 87 (the ULI Claims) that are subject to an earn-in agreement [Note 1] and 1,230 (the A1 Lithium Claims) that are 100% owned by Anson. In addition, one state oil and gas lease and a state mineral and industrial lease are included in the project area. Importantly, some of these claims are only 40 metres from a well with historical grades of 500 ppm lithium. The land package is shown in Figure 4.
[Note 1] Anson commenced with a 10% interest in these 87 claims which increased to 50% from the work done, and may be subject finalisation under the terms of the agreement to earn-into the ULI Project.
Anson is targeting subterranean pressurised brines (SPB) from Clastic Zone 31, approximately 6,000 to 7,000 feet below the surface, and 20 additional brine zones above and below Clastic Zone 31 within the Pennsylvanian Paradox Formation, which has been defined in numerous oil wells drilled throughout the region.
Two wells near the south end of the claims (Long Canyon No.1 and Robert’s Well) were assayed for lithium within the Clastic Zone 31 horizon, and historically showed lithium values of up to 1,700ppm, with an average of 500ppm. The higher lithium values were reported closest to the Robert’s Rupture geological formation, which runs through the Project claims. In addition, bromine, boron and iodine were found to be in high concentrations.
The brines from Clastic Zone 31 are contained within up to 36 feet of shale, anhydrite and dolomite, and are not part of any oil reservoir. During historic drilling, over-pressurised brines (approximately twice the expected pressure of 4,953 psi) were encountered in Clastic Zone 31 and were found to be at a higher temperature than expected (600C compared to 400C). This resulted in the brines flowing to the surface when intersected by historic drilling.
Engineering reports from the 1960’s conclude that the brine reservoir is extensive and is likely recharged from fresh in-flows of artesian water as indicated by well pressure measurements and draw-down tests.
A cross section of the project area with wells/drilling shown is presented in Figure 5.
Historical exploration and assays:
The Pennsylvanian Paradox Formation has been defined by numerous oil and gas test wells drilled throughout the region. Most wells were not analysed for lithium, but 6 holes within 100m of Anson’s claims were analysed and identified lithium values of up to 1,700ppm from assays of the Clastic Zone 31 layer, see Table 1. In addition, bromine, boron, iodine and magnesium were found to be in high concentrations.
|White Cloud No2||4268438||611759||1,700||20,000||2,500||450|
|Big Flat No 2||4267478||605659||173||2,922||1,150|
|Hobson USA 1||4264099||608069||134||1,260||1,612|
|Big Flat No 2 (Pure Oil)||4266772||605490||81||780||2,041|
|Cane Creek 32-1||4270986||610154||117||1,632||3,315|
Table 1: Recorded Lithium values in the Project area
Anson has an estimated Exploration Target of 85 to 170 million tonnes of brine grading 100 to 500 ppm of lithium for Clastic Zone 31 only.
Cautionary Statement: The potential quantity (volume) and grade of the Exploration Target is conceptual in nature. There has been insufficient exploration to estimate a Mineral Resource and it is uncertain if further exploration will result in the estimation of Mineral Resources. Anson is not aware of any new information or data that materially affects the information included in the relevant market announcement.
Competent Person’s Statement: The information note above that relates to exploration results and geology for the geological projects is based on information compiled and/or reviewed by Mr Greg Knox, a member in good standing of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. Mr Knox is a geologist who has sufficient experience which is relevant to the style of mineralisation under consideration and to the activity being undertaken to qualify as a “Competent Person”, as defined in the 2012 Edition of the Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves. Mr Knox has reviewed and validated the metallurgical data produced by Lilac Solutions and consents to the inclusion in this announcement of this information in the form and context in which it appears. Mr Knox is a director of Anson and a consultant to Anson.
Chemical Engineer’s Statement: The information in this announcement that relates to lithium extraction and processing is based on information compiled and/or reviewed by Mr. Alexander Grant. Mr. Grant is a chemical engineer with a MS degree in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University. Mr. Grant has sufficient experience which is relevant to the lithium extraction and processing undertaken to evaluate the data presented.
Forward Looking Statements: Statements regarding plans with respect to Anson’s mineral projects are forward looking statements. There can be no assurance that Anson’s plans for development of its projects will proceed as expected and there can be no assurance that Anson will be able to confirm the presence of mineral deposits, that mineralisation may prove to be economic or that a project will be developed.
Historical Results: A Competent Person has not done sufficient work on historical exploration results to disclose the Exploration Results in accordance with the JORC Code 2012; and it is possible that following further evaluation and/or exploration work that the confidence in the prior reported Exploration Results may be reduced when reported under the JORC Code 2012. Nothing has come to the attention of Anson that causes it to question the accuracy or reliability of the former owner’s Exploration Results. Anson has not independently validated the former owner’s Exploration Results and therefore is not to be regarded as reporting, adopting or endorsing those results.