This is the first targeted lithium well drilled in Saskatchewan, drilled by Prairie Lithium in late September. If you looked a little to the right along the horizon, a sharp eye with binoculars would be able to see DEEP’s most recent well. Both wells were drilled by Panther Drilling Rig 2. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

SASKATOON, REGINA – If you stood on the monkey board of the Panther Drilling Rig 2 when it was working on Prairie Lithium Corporation’s first targeted lithium well, northwest of Torquay, you would have would been able to see the lease for DEEP Earth Energy Production Corp.’s Border-6 well.

That well, drilled a few days earlier by the same rig, was drilled south of Torquay this past summer. Both Prairie Lithium and DEEP are working in the same neck of the woods, and both are drilling water wells, not oil wells. Both are seeking energy resources, but in different forms. DEEP is looking for geothermal energy, and Prairie Lithium is seeking, well, lithium, in the brines deep underground.

Instead of competing against each other, on Oct. 25, Saskatoon-based DEEP and Emerald Park (Regina)-based Prairie Lithium announced a collaboration.

DEEP and Prairie Lithium announced an agreement to exchange subsurface mineral permits and to establish an Area of Mutual Interest (AMI) in the Williston Sedimentary Basin in southeast Saskatchewan. The AMI covers a large area of 40 Townships, running along the U.S. border.

Imagine the area running from Bienfait to Lake Alma, and from the U.S. border to Macoun, as a bed covered with a patchwork quilt of mineral rights permits, each running to the PreCambrian basement, i.e. the bed’s mattress. What the two companies did is have Prairie Lithium take the duvet covering the entire bed, and DEEP take the blanket and bottom sheet.

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In the agreement, Prairie Lithium acquires subsurface mineral permits stretching from the top of the Madison Group down to the top of the Red River Formation from DEEP’s subsurface mineral tenure. In exchange, DEEP acquires the subsurface mineral permits from the top of the Red River Formation down to the Precambrian from Prairie Lithium’s subsurface mineral tenure. DEEP retains all lithium potential from the top of the Red River to the Precambrian. The agreement establishes a mutually beneficial co-operation deal between these two Saskatchewan companies, advancing new and innovative energy resources, they said in a joint release.

Prairie Lthium is taking everything from the top of the Madison group to the top of the Red River formation (seen here as the top of the Herald formation.) This is a portion of the stratigraphic column published by the Saskatchewan Geological Survey, Ministry of Energy and Resources, Government of Saskatchewan

The agreement is for select stratigraphic intervals that are approximately 1,500 meters – 3,500 meters below the surface at various locations across the AMI. The exchange covers approximately 110,227 hectares (272,376 acres) of existing mineral tenure, vastly increasing each company’s resource development capacity.

DEEP and Prairie Lithium are also working collaboratively to share well data and potential resource testing opportunities. In the near term, Prairie Lithium will access DEEP’s Border-4 wellbore to test the lithium potential in an upper stratigraphic interval, above DEEP’s geothermal reservoir. That well is located a short distance from the Port of Torquay, just a few hundred metres from the American border.

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Pipeline Online spoke to DEEP’s CEO Kirsten Marcia and Prairie Lithium president and CEO Zach Maurer on Oct. 25 by phone.

Marcia said that DEEP’s Border-4 was drilled as a step-out from their core area to ensure geologic certainty. “We didn’t want to say developing these projects and have a major shift in our geological model,” she explained.

That well will be used by DEEP for monitoring in the future. But Prairie Lithium is currently working on recompleting the well for their purposes. “We’re delineating the lithium around the first test well,” Maurer said.

Staking

Marcia said they had been staking lithium rights, but that became competition for Prairie Lithium.

Mauer said both companies were active in land sales earlier this year, particularly the April 2021 sale.

He explained, “We both had been purchasing brine mineral permits to the entire stratigraphic column, in the same area of the world, down near Torquay, and we really wanted to find a way to work together.

“It’s obvious DEEP is buying brine permits for the deeper formations for geothermal potential. And we’re interested in shallower formations for lithium potential. So instead of one company getting the entire stratigraphic column, we wanted to find a way to work together where both companies could get what they wanted. And that’s ultimately what this is. We had a lot of permits for lower geothermal potential formations, and they had had a lot of upper stratigraphic formations in their permits. So, this agreement really cleans all that up.”

“Anything within this Area of Mutual Interest that we had below the Red River formation, we would give to DEEP, and anything they had in the Area of Mutual Interest, above the Red River, they would swap to us.”

Marcia said, “It doubles our land.”

Maurer also noted Prairie Lithium was able to increase their acreage substantially.

Asked if this agreement opens up any opportunities for them, Mauer said, “Yeah, definitely.”

If you stood on the monkeyboard and looked with binoculars to the horizon on the top left corner of this picture, you would be able to see the lease location of Prairie Lithium’s first well. Panther Drilling Rig 2 drilled this well, DEEP Border-6, in late August, then moved a few kilometres to the northeast to drill Prairie Lithium’s first targeted helium well. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

At the same time, DEEP and Prairie Lithium are jointly exploring the lithium potential across the AMI. In addition to Prairie Lithium’s focus in shallower formations, DEEP’s deeper geothermal brine also has the potential to contain lithium for commercial extraction. Prairie Lithium said it has developed proprietary lithium-extraction technology which can extract lithium from DEEP’s geothermal resources. Prairie Lithium said its preliminary lab results indicate that the company’s “Plix technology” successfully removed 99 per cent of the lithium from DEEP’s geothermal brine sample, while simultaneously rejecting practically all impurities.

Mauer said, “Both companies are developing different projects in the same area of the world, and finding a way to come together, and really seeing a win-win solution for both companies, it was awesome. It’s great to collaborate and find these types of win-win scenarios.”

“I think this is a great example of two innovative Saskatchewan companies that can mutually benefit each other’s projects just by figuring it out, collaborating and working together,” Marcia said. In the release, she noted, “We are creating more great jobs and promoting new regional economic developments in rural Saskatchewan.”

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