Hub City Lithium’s development area is right in the heart of the Bakken region of Saskatchewan. ROK Resources

REGINA – Last fall, Hub City Lithium drilled its first test well just west of the Viewfield crater, south of Stoughton. And on Feb. 21, ROK Resources, the operator and 25 per cent owner of Hub City, announced brine lithium concentrations that are the highest, by a substantial margin, publicly released to date in Saskatchewan. The balance of Hub City is owned by EMP Metals Corp.

This well, confirmed by third-party testing, showed lithium concentrations in the Duperow formation of up to 259 mg/L (milligrams per litre). ROK noted in a release that “According to public records, these test Results are the highest lithium concentrations ever recorded in a brine in Canada.”

The results are for the well drilled at 2-22-7-9-W2. The company had previously announced results of test wells east of Weyburn, at Mansur, that had been acquired via quit claim. These results are for their first targeted lithium well.

A National Instrument 43-101 resource report for the Mansur area has now been expanded to include the Viewfield area and is expected to be completed during Q1 2023, according to ROK. In parallel with the resource report, the company has begun working on the Mansur development plan and Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) which it expects to complete during Q2 2023. Further, the company plans to do additional drilling in the Viewfield area as part of the data gathering towards a second PEA dedicated to the Viewfield area which is expected in Q4 2023.

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There were flow tests done with an electric submersible pump (ESP). The 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.

The results of flow test 1 saw combined perforations from the Wymark D, E and F zones from 1,820 meters to 1,844 meters was flow tested for 41 hours at an average rate of 304 m3/day. The test resulted in a post clean up average of 215.3 mg/L.

The second ESP flow test saw combined perforations from all zones from 1,820 meters to 1,911 meters were flow tested for 54.5 hours at an average rate of 550 m3/day. The test resulted in a post clean up average of 204.5 mg/L.

Cam Taylor, CEO of ROK, spoke to Pipeline Online on Feb. 21. He said noted a previous test, done by the Ministry of Energy and Resources a few kilometres to the west of their test well, had indicated 190 milligrams per litre.

 

Target Duperow Interval Average Porosity (%) Zone Thickness (m) Lithium Concentration (mg/l)
Wymark E 14.5 3.6 220
Wymark D 20.4 10.6 259
Wymark C 14.1 10.3 167
Wymark B 16.2 16.4 98
Wymark A 14.0 8.9 94
Saskatoon A 14.0 10.6 145

 

 

“Out of the seven zones we tested, there were two in the 90s, one that was 145, one that was 167, and two that were in the 200s. So you have very high readings,” Taylor said

Asked if they had taken multiple samples, Taylor replied, “While we were swabbing, we took several samples, and multiple samples were sent off to Isobrine.”

Isobrine is an Edmonton-based lab owned and operated by Dr. Ben Roston, who recently retired from a professorship at the University of Alberta. Rostron’s specialty is sedimentary brines, and he’s a key part of the team at Prairie Lithium, another lithium explorer (which is in the process of being acquired by Arizona Lithium).

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Taylor continued, “And then, because they were so high, Isobrine’s Ben Rostron sent some of the samples off to a couple other labs that he works with, just to confirm his readings. And then we also flowed the top three zones all together. And we took 24 samples in that. They were averaging like 215 (mg/L), that they averaged out of those top three. And the uppermost zone was only 65 milligrams per liter, and it was blended in.

“So then we also opened up the entire wellbore, all seven zones all together, including that low one at 65 in it, the whole thing. We cleaned it up, we took three samples that average 204.5. And then we the next day came back cleaned it up to three samples that average 204.6. So yeah, it was there’s a lot of fluid that got sampled. We were sampling it every two hours, and had a lot of samples. So yeah, it wasn’t just a single sample by any means.”

“It was exciting, higher than we expected,” he noted.

A North Dakota test had shown 209 mg/L. “Everyone knew there was a possibility for 200-plus (milligrams). We were hopeful on this one. All the dynamics were there. But yeah, it was great when you actually see it,” Taylor said.

Asked if this means they might be looking for more land in that vicinity, Taylor said, “We’ve got 22 sections in that project area. And then there’s 90 sections in total, on the Viewfield trend that we had mapped. But we’re going to have to drill a few more wells to firm up the rest of it.

“We don’t expect every section to be like this. We think there’s going to be sweet spots in some of the layers. The upper zones we think are going to be locally enhanced, but then the lower four zones we think are going to be more regional.”

“I think what this means is we’ll focus our future drilling in this area. We’ve got really good porosity and permeability in the zone that tested 257. The swab test showed really good inflow. So we probably want to get a horizontal well into that and see what kind of sustainable flow rate we get out of that zone. And then we’ll want to drill up sort of the northeastern extension of that trend, just to confirm how much running room we have.

The fact there are six zones showing 95 mg/L or higher, and four of which are 145 mg/L are higher, means Hub City will focus its development dollars in that Viewfield area.

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Another lithium explorer has announced concentrations in the 83 mg/L range, and they are intent on developing that. Taylor noted that particular Coleville area project by the other company is about 1,000 metres deep, while they are looking at 1,800 metres in dept. In comparison, Hub City’s work at Viewfield will mean a larger capital cost for drilling, as well as continued higher lifting costs. But higher concentrations mean having to lift and process less brine compared to other companies to get the same total product in the end. Taylor is optimistic on its economic prospects.

But he notes the direct lithium extraction technology still hasn’t been commercialized yet.

They will need more wellbores to flesh out their preliminary economic assessment (PEA).

Asked when the next time they would be likely to put a drilling bit to the ground, Taylor said, “Probably in the summer. We’re almost in breakup, here. We’ve got to make some decisions, license wells, get everything lined up. So I suspect it will be summertime – July, August – when we’re drilling again.”

They’d be looking at possibly vertical and a horizontal into the high lithium zone, to test for flow rates. One well will eventually have to be set up as a disposal well. Drilling plans are not definitive at this stage.

 

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Lithium in SK: Part 13: Coming into lithium with revenue already flowing from oil

Lithium in SK, Part 12: Hub City Lithium shows promising results northeast of Weyburn

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