This entire large checkerboard of land in the Carlyle/Redves/Alida/SStorthoaks area was permitted by newcomer Flowing Lithium Exploration. Saskatchewan Ministry of Energy and ResourcesREGINA – The Nov. 21 Crown mineral rights sale revealed a sixth entrant in the Saskatchewan lithium exploration race, or possibly the seventh, if you include Royal Helium.

On Nov. 24, the Ministry of Energy and Resources released its subsurface mineral public offering results for the Nov. 21 sale. The sale resulted in $3,325,130 in revenue for the province.

The newest company looking for lithium is Flowing Lithium Exploration of Regina. It joins Prairie Lithium, Grounded Lithium, Hub City Lithium, Living Skies Lithium and LithiumBank in actively exploring. Royal Helium has also announced they found lithium in one of their wells near Climax, Saskatchewan.

Back in 2018, Saskatchewan adopted a new framework for Crown subsurface mineral rights sales. Land sales are a key leading indicator of future activity. You can’t drill a well or develop a resources if you haven’t secured the land first.

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This framework is very similar in structure to the bi-monthly Crown petroleum land sales. It’s similar, but separate. And that’s a key item. That’s because the oil/gas and brine from the same formation can have their respective rights acquired by two separate entities under this process. Thus, an oil company which might be pumping up a 98 per cent water cut along with its oil may not actually hold the rights to the possible minerals, notably lithium, which could be dissolved within that brine.

If there is a petroleum and natural gas (PNG) restriction on the property, that leads to some complications. Michelle Maurer or the Ministry of Energy and Resources explained, “If there’s a PNG restriction, so if a company is successful in acquiring this disposition, then they would have to go out and talk to that PNG disposition holder.”

(This “primacy of rights” issue will be addressed later in this series of stories on lithium)

Potash

Another point is that both lithium and potash are included in these Crown land sales. And that was reflected in this week’s sale.

“This is the second of three scheduled subsurface mineral public offerings for the 2022-23 fiscal year. As the June 2022 sale did not receive any bids on the parcels posted, and no parcels were requested for the February 2023 sale, the November sale is effectively the final and only sale of the fiscal year to generate revenue,” said the Ministry’s release.

Fifteen subsurface permit blocks totalling 153,335 hectares were posted in the November 2022 public offering. Ten of these subsurface permit blocks, covering 136,466.373 hectares received acceptable bids. The remaining five blocks did not sell.

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The highest bid was $2.7 million from Windfall Resources Ltd. for a 33,704 hectare block 30 kilometres north of Moose Jaw that is prospective for potash. This was a larger and mostly contiguous block, running from the Highway 2 bridge over Buffalo Pound Reservoir, to north of Chaplain, west to Aylesbury, to a point roughly 24 kilometres west of Chamberlain.

Additionally, Buffalo Potash picked up two small blocks, paying $3,250 for 5,835 hectares just north of Edenwold, and $5,100 for 5,954 hectares northeast of Disley.

This map shows the extent of subsurface mineral rights sales across southern Saskatchewan. In the top left is the Kerrobert area blocks focused on lithium. The centre blocks were focused on potash. The bottom right is a large block again focused on lithium. Saskatchewan Ministry of Energy and Resources.

Lithium gets interesting

But it’s the lithium portions that get interesting.

The new entrant in Saskatchewan lithium exploration, Flowing Lithium Exploration Inc., first surfaced in a public forum in this land sale.

A Saskatchewan Corporate Registry search reveals the company was incorporated Oct. 19, 2022. The nature of its business is oil and gas extraction. The address provided is 1400-2500 Victoria Ave, Regina. That’s the address of Kanuka Thuringer LLP, a Regina law firm.

Bruce Wiebe of Cochrane, Alta., and originally of Herbert, Sask., is similarly listed as a director and officer. His LinkedIn profiles lists him as a professional geologist and senior petrophysicist. Rauni Malhi of Delta, B.C., is listed as a director and officer. Cairo Sing Malhi of Delta is listed as a director.

Reached by phone, CEO Bruce Wiebe said Flowing Lithium was the company that ponied up a total of $250,029 for four blocks of land in southeast Saskatchewan. Those blocks are in a checkerboard from Carlyle in the west to Bellegarde, along the Manitoba border, and from 19 kilometres north of Redvers to 6 kilometres south of Alida. Up until this point, Flowing Lithium had been “flying under the radar,” so to speak. (Expect a future story on Flowing Lithium later in this series.)

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The highest dollars per hectare bid was for a parcel 11 kilometres south of Kerrobert that is prospective for minerals information water such as lithium. The permit, acquired by NRG LandSolutions Inc., received a bid of $102.65 per hectare for 1,558 hectares for a total of $159,929. The same land agent company also paid $203,666 for 2,464 hectares just to the west of that first block.

A third block was just to the west of the first two. It was purchased by Prairie Land & Investment Services Ltd. for $3,156. That got them 1,360 hectares. All three of these blocks were between Kerrobert and Coleville.

The Coleville area is the same general area is where Prairie Lithium did its initial pilot project, and where Grounded Lithium drilled its first well this past July.

Three blocks were purchased in the Kerrobert area, as shown in green. (Kerrobert is the block in yellow, at the top). The centre and right blocks went to one land agent company, and the third, to the west, went to another land agent. Blue represents previously permitted land. Ministry of Energy and Resources.

 

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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