The Duperow formation, focus of lithium exploration in Saskatchewan, is heterogenous with many different layers. This is Duperow core seen at the Saskatchewan Subsurface Geological Laboratory. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

REGINA – About 11 kilometres east of Weyburn on Highway 13, and about 4 kilometres north, Hub City Lithium has been testing for lithium. And the results announced on Jan. 26 are among the highest announced in Saskatchewan to date.

Hub City Lithium of Regina has sampled two wells there last year. And on Jan. 26, the company announced its test results of its second well. The company has also drilled a well in the Viewfield areas, whose results have not yet been disclosed.

Hub City Lithium’s operations are managed by ROK Resources Inc. (TSXV:ROK)(TSXV:ROK.WT) of Regina. ROK announced the successful completion of a multi-layer perforation and swab test of a wellbore strategically located on one of Hub City Lithium Corp. subsurface Crown mineral dispositions located in the Mansur area of Saskatchewan. Third-party laboratory testing returned lithium concentrations in the Duperow formation of up to 148 mg/L.

ROK has a 25 per cent interest in Hub City Lithium, with the balance owned by EMP Metals Corp. Hub City Lithium currently holds 37 permits totalling 212,633 net acres (86,050 hectares) of Subsurface Crown Mineral Dispositions in Saskatchewan. ROK’s primary operations are as a Saskatchewan-based junior oil and gas producer.

Pipeline Online spoke with ROK president and CEO Cam Taylor on Oct. 20 and in depth on Jan. 26.

The testing in this release were done at 14-36-8-13-W2. Swab tests were performed by Independent Well Servicing Inc, with the use of a downhole mechanical swabbing string and associated surface equipment. Samples were collected approximately every two hours and analyzed by Isobrine Solutions. The company said it uses industry standard quality assurance and quality control protocols in carrying out its exploration activities. Technical content of the news release has been reviewed and approved by Trevor Else, P. Geo., a qualified person for the purposes of National Instrument 43-101. More on that in a bit.

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The numbers reported saw notable lithium concentrations in three members of the Duperow formation, in particular the Wymark E, Wymark C and Wymark B units. The 4.86 meter thick Wymark E saw a lithium concentration estimated at 103.4 mg/L, and a calculated lithium concentration estimate (in tonnes per section) of 677. The 9.67 meter thick Wymark C saw the highest concentration, at 148 mg/L, with a calculated lithium concentration of 1,777 tons per section. The third was Wymark B, which had a thickness of 16.19 metres, a lithium concentration of 76.9 mg/L, but a calculated lithium concentration estimate of 2,105 tonnes per section.

Add all that up and those three units of the Duperow showed 4,558 tonnes per section.

Detailed test results. Hub City Lithium

 

Hub City chose a naming convention using letters A-F to make it clearer as to which unit is which within the Wymark member. The Duperow is a very complex, heterogenous formation with lots of variety through it and units separated by hard anhydrites that are easy to see on logs. It’s also very thick. In this area of Saskatchewan, it’s around 120 metres thick, but in the Coleville area it’s substantially thicker.

Well log for 14-36-8-13-W2. Hub City Lithium

This was the second set of test results from Hub City. They’ve previously announced tests from 11-2-9-13-W2, located less than two kilometres to the northwest. It showed lithium concentrations up to 96 mg/L. On Nov. 9 the company also drilled a well in the Viewfield area, just west of the Viewfield Crater, with flow testing in November and December. Its results yet to be announced.

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The Mansur wells were obtained from Whitecap Resources by quit claim. In other words, for taking over the liability of cleaning up those wells, they were obtained for a dollar each. Another third well at Mansur might be tested later in 2023, or it could be set up as a production well.

Hub City Lithium land, east of Weyburn. Hub City Lithium

After drilling and flow testing, there’s significant chemical analysis to be done before releasing results, Taylor said of the Viewfield site.

Is there a lithium fairway in the southeast?

This report is significant in that it is one of the highest concentrations of lithium in brine reported in Saskatchewan to date, and that it also corresponds with results reported in the same formation by Prairie Lithium, another lithium exploration company in the region. Prairie Lithium’s test wells are located a few kilometres northwest of Torquay and right at the U.S. border, south of Torquay.

Hub City’s Mansur tests are 60 and 80 kilometres almost due north of Prairie Lithium’s reported test wells. When you add in the 190 mg/L results from the 14-12 well near Midale that was tested by Saskatchewan Geological Survey geologist Gavin Jensen, and the upcoming results from Viewfield, it could be the makings of a “lithium fairway” in the region.

Taylor said their results supports the thesis that their land is likely the northern extent of that fairway, which may run down to the border, where Prairie Lithium has reported high lithium concentrations. “We believe all the 100 to 200 (milligram per litre concentrations) is in that area. And those same zones, when you look at Ben (Rostron’s) paper, and we plug ours in, that the zones that are high, are high right across the table.”

Taylor pointed out that lithium prices can come down from their sky-high levels, and should that happen, “then you need to be the lowest cost operator, and that really means you need to be in the highest concentration. So I think people will find that they want to own land in that area that you’ve identified. That’s going to be the hotspot for lithium.”

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There’s two pieces to this, he said. One is concentration, but the other is rock quality – especially how much porosity you have. “As you go south and go east, there’s a lot of wells that show a bit less porosity,” he said. Looking eastward, porosity declines, he noted.

“You want to see 10 to 15 per cent porosity, because that holds a lot of brine. We have some zones that to 27 per cent in thin streaks, but in bigger zones, we might average 10 to 15 per cent, so that that holds a lot of brine in a layer. If you cut that porosity in half, down seven and a half per cent, you’ve got half as much lithium in the ground.”

Asked if this could extend 450 kilometres to the northwest, where Coleville is the other area of attention, Taylor noted the same formation they call Duperow B is the same zone that’s being chased and tested at Coleville, with big flow rates. At Mansur, that zone is showing 77-86 mg/L, but others have released testing showing the same zone at Coleville is testing 74 to 78 mg/L.

“That one zone, in particular, is an interesting one, because it covers the whole area of Kindersley and is present everywhere in our world, and it’s thick and porous and flows like crazy in Mansur and Viewfield, the same way it flows there,” he said.

Hub City has land at Coleville, as well as Tyvan, but those areas are not their most promising. The company first acquired prospective lithium acreage in the December 2020, Crown land sake, and then again in April and August of 2021.

Taylor said they’ve particularly targeted thick Dolomite zones with high porosity, and thus the highest amount of brine per square mile, and yet still had high concentrations.

 

NEXT: In Lithium in SK: Part 13, Taylor explains how his company is working on lithium with revenue already flowing from oil

 

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Lithium in SK, Part 11: A detailed video on lithium geology in SE Sask

Lithium in SK, Part 10: A helium explorer who found lithium responds

Lithium in SK, Part 9: And the acquisitions begin, with Prairie Lithium to be acquired by Arizona Lithium

Lithium in SK, Part 8: Ministry of Energy and Resources response to primacy of rights issues

Lithium in SK: Part 7b: The rent’s due, and so is the LLR

Lithium in SK, Part 7: Dealing with an embarrassment of riches – sorting out the primacy of rights

Lithium in SK, Part 6: Direct Lithium Extraction is the multi-billion dollar question

Lithium in SK, Part 5: Prairie Lithium – Old wells or new wells?

Lithium in SK, Part 4: Prairie Lithium pursuing the idea there could be lithium in those brines

Lithium in SK, Part 3: Crown land sale reveals sixth entrant in Saskatchewan lithium exploration race

Lithium in SK, Part 2: Saskatchewan government launches lithium incentives

Lithium in SK Part 1: As the race for lithium takes off, Saskatchewan is seeing the dawn of a new industry