Alba Minerals Provides Preliminary Update on Positive Results from Its VES-Survey at Quiron II and Finances Membrane Development Specialists LLC Proprietary Lithium Extraction and Isolation Metallurgical Process Testing
TSX VENTURE: AA
Vancouver, British Columbia (FSCwire) - Alba Minerals Ltd. ("Alba" or the “Company”) (TSX-V: AA; AXVEF:US; Frankfurt: A117RU) the Company is pleased to announce positive results from electrical geophysical survey program conducted on its 2,421 hectares Lithium Brine Exploration Prospect Quiron II in the Salar de Pocitos, Salta Province, Argentina.
The Company engaged Conhidro S.R.L. - a hydrogeological consultancy company led by Dr. Garcia - to carry out the geophysical prospecting within the Property. This consisted of a Vertical Electrical Sounding (VES) survey with two East-West trending prospection lines to explore the hydrogeological ambient of the property’s subsurface in order to define the potency, thickness and resistivity values of layers, aquifers and related intersections. In optimal conditions and similar environments to the Salar de Pocitos, the Schlumberger Method allows depths of 350 meters and deeper to be explored.
The computer-based mathematical processing and modelling of the data obtained from the VES Program at Quiron II is about to finish, which will be extensively reported on once the complete hydrogeological analysis is available and reviewed by the Company’s experts.
Figure 1: Relative position of the prospection lines (approx.)
To view the graphic in its original size, please click here
As a function of the preliminary results available at the moment, it is interpreted that there is presence of brines within the mining claim Quiron II towards the Salar. This is consistent with the theory of the continuity of the Salar’s aquifers below the alluvial fan.
Sandy MacDougall, Chairman and Director of Alba said: “This is the kind of news we were waiting to receive. The Company has been aggressively pursuing our vison to become a truly international, low-cost and sustainable lithium company. With the recently optioned Chascha Norte concession in Salar de Arizaro, Alba is now in possession of more than 5,250 hectares of lithium brine exploration prospects in Argentina. Our increased position within the Clayton Valley JV with Noram; now 50%, together with the extraordinary exploration results from both sediments and brines in North and South America gives our cause forceful support.”
The Company is now looking forward to receiving the complete analysis of the geophysical survey at Pocitos from Conhydro SRL in Salta.
“Once we are able to examine the whole picture of the complex hydrological situation of Quiron II, we will systematically provide answers and updates concerning the next steps of exploration of our lithium prospects in Argentina.” concludes Mr. MacDougall.
On January 20th 2018, Sandy MacDougall, Chairman and Director, and Arthur Brown, President and Director, travelled to Argentina to coordinate and oversee these next promising phases of development on the properties. While there, they will be considering additional properties with substantial potential that are currently under negotiations. “We expect 2018 to be a milestone year for Alba Minerals. The Company is well positioned to significantly advance the projects in its’ portfolio this year and bring enhanced shareholder value”, said Sandy MacDougall.
Membrane Development Specialists LLC Proprietary Metallurgical Process
Further to the news release dated Feb 22, 2017 and January 11, 2018, Alba earned an additional 25% interest in the Clayton Valley Project for a cash consideration of $350,000 payable to Noram/Green Energy. Alba and Noram are 50:50 joint venture partners on the Clayton Valley Lithium Project.
Of this consideration, $225,000 of the $350,000 will be destined to verify Membrane Development Specialists LLC (MDS)’s path breaking metallurgical process capacity to viably extract and successfully isolate lithium from lithium-rich clays in a scaled-up bulk-sampling-test. For that purpose and directly concatenated with the outstanding drilling results from the Zeus and Hades claim groups (Dec 5 2017) a 10-metric-tons bulk sample of lithium-rich clays from the JV’s Clayton Valley Project will be processed.
MDS creates and develops membrane technology applications and has extensive experience designing, building, commissioning and operating nanofiltration systems for the mining and oil & gas industries.
“In our proprietary process, we are concentrating lithium as a sulfate. The permeate will contain 50–80% of the acid that is used, which is recycled back into the process,” explained Larry Lien, managing director of MDS. The technology may enable the use of lithium deposits that previously were viewed as too dilutive for feasible recovery. The technology has been demonstrated economically and environmentally effective at bench level, and MDS is currently working with stakeholders to develop it for larger-scale operations. Since the process is based on established technologies, and requires no underground mining, Lien is confident in the scale-up potential.
After acidifying the clay, a UF unit removes the suspended solids. Next, a specialized NF membrane removes divalent cations like calcium and magnesium, and in some cases, rare-earth elements (REE) that can be concentrated in this step as well. The resulting permeate is a relatively pure stream of lithium sulfate, chloride or nitrate, which is concentrated with acid. “We concentrate the lithium stream up to 1,000 to 2,000 ppm, depending on what the osmotic pressure will allow,” explains Lien. “We can recover up to 96% of the lithium that is leached out of clays, so it is a pretty attractive solution,” he adds.
The focus of the bulk testing is to assess the economics and substantiate the recovery yield of lithium carbonate directly from the mineralized clays using MDS’s environmentally friendly process. The process captures (should we say “almost” or “most”) all reagents and nearly all the water used in the process for reuse.
Prior to the bulk testing, the samples will be assayed by SGS Labs using a 3-Acid Digestion / ICP method. The samples will then be sent to MDS’s lab in Escondido, California, where the clay samples will be mixed with acid to simulate a Vat Leach process. The resulting compound will be processed by MDS to remove unwanted elements, such as magnesium and calcium thereby isolating the lithium carbonate. The lithium carbonate will then be assayed by SGS Labs for purity.
The JV’s independent technical consultant, Bradley Peek, MSc and CPG, will be preparing the 10 tonne clay samples; one portion from the drilling spoils pile surrounding the Hades bore hole (See Photo) and the other one collected from the location where vertical chip samples ZS-2-029, ZS-2-030 and ZS-2-031 (See Table) were taken through a 12 foot (3.66 meters) stratigraphic section in the central area of the Zeus claims.
“Having everything in place and being fully funded for the next phases of exploration and metallurgical testing we are looking forward to generate decisive results from the MDS bulks-sampling and scaled up process testing in the coming months. As we’re getting closer to demonstrate the viability of the lithium-recovery method, we are also expecting to obtain significant knowledge on how to address process model and plant design for the further development of the lithium clays on our Clayton Valley Project." said Alba’s Chairman and Director, Sandy MacDougall.
A recent NI 43-101 report has shown that the Companies’ Clayton Valley, Nevada property has an Inferred Mineral Resource of approximately 17 million metric tonnes at a grade of about 1,060 ppm Li, which equates to 96,476 metric tonnes of LCE. Details of the inferred resource estimate can be found in the NI 43-101 report at (link to N.I. 43-101).
The technical information contained in this news release has been reviewed and approved by Dr. Peter Born, P.Geo., who is a Qualified Person as defined under National Instrument 43-101.
About Alba Minerals Ltd
Alba Minerals Ltd. is a Vancouver based junior resource company with projects in North and South America, focusing on the development of Lithium properties. The Company’s Lithium Projects are located in Clayton Valley Nevada where it has earned a 50% interest in the Project after completing a 46-hole drilling program showing Li-values over 1000ppm in claystone. The second lithium project, Quiron II, consist of 2,421 hectares of prospective exploration property with a distinguishable location within the Pocitos Salar, Province of Salta, Argentina. The Project is located approximately 7km north of Pure Energy’s Terra Cotta Project and 11km northeast of the Liberty One’s Pocitos West Property. A third property known as “Chascha Norte” has been recently optioned and consists of a single mining claim that covers 2,843 hectares in the southeastern part of the Salar de Arizaro in closest vicinity to both Argentina Lithium & Energy Corp.'s and Lithium X's Arizaro lithium brine projects.