The Electra project consists of three concessions that target extensions of lithium-bearing host horizons contiguous to the Sonora Lithium Project owned by Bacanora Minerals Ltd. and Rare Earths Minerals PLC, with their 2010 greenfield lithium discovery now being fast-tracked to production. The Electra concessions are comprised of a lithium resource hosted in hectorite and polylithionite clays within a volcano-sedimentary sequence.
The Tule Concession comprises 18,125 hectares (approximately 15 kilometers east-west by 12 kilometers north-south). BCN/REM presentations illustrate a series of four lithium-bearing beds that are interpreted to extend for several kilometers to the south of the BCN/REM property, with the concession covering the extension of three of these lithium-bearing horizons.
The Tecolote Concession covers approximately 4,500 hectares and is located north of the Buenavista Concession at BCN/REM's Sonora Project and north of the village of Huasabas. Intercepts from 11 of the 24 reverse-circulation holes drilled at the Buenavista Concession returned values in excess of 1,018 ppm Li and as high as 2,210 ppm Li (equivalent to 0.54% and 1.18% LCE, respectively) in a lithium-rich stratigraphic trend interpreted by Bacanora to extend north through the Tecolote concession. The Tecolote concession covers approximately 7 kilometers of this interpreted stratigraphic trend.
Agua Fria Concession
The Agua Fria Concession is a lithium-rich clay mineralization adjoining the southern portion of the Tule Concession discovered in early 2016 and is currently the main focus of the Electra project. In addition to significant Li values, the clay horizons at Agua Fria are characterized by anomalous potassium values, an element which may be recoverable as potassium sulphate, a major component of "NPK" fertilizers.
First Phase Exploration (2016)
A 2016 exploration program of the Tecolote Concession yielded samples moderately to strongly anomalous in lithium, with highlights including 211.0, 162.5, and 71.2 ppm Li. Comparably, historical lithium values discovered by US Borax (RTZ subsidiary) on the northern part of the Buenavista Concession ranged from 121 to 276 ppm Li, with higher lithium values (+1,000 ppm Lithium) found in the central portion of the concession.
Further exploration of the Tule Concession resulted in the discovery of sedimentary beds similar to and on trend with geological units which host Bacanora's La Ventana deposit. The program also included sampling which returned moderately anomalous lithium values from the portion of the concession area that had been prospected to date.
These technical contents were approved by Mr. Case Lewis., a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101. The properties have not been the subject of a National Instrument 43-101 report.
Tecolote Sampling (2016)
Assay results from the 2016 Tecolote Concession sampling program returned values as high as 246.0 parts per million lithium and confirmed a target sedimentary assemblage with the potential of hosting economic lithium-bearing, clay-rich horizons. In total, 42 samples were collected from claystones, sandstones and siltstones exposed in the target sedimentary sequence, yielding and average Li value of 167 ppm and a peak concentration of 272 ppm, which is considered very anomalous.
The sampling program identified two target areas located in the Central Basin and underlain by the target sedimentary sequence. The first target, the eastern area, is approximately 1,100 m long by 250 to 400 m wide. The second target area is located east of the Barisuqe river and 700 m SW of the first target and measures roughly 400 by 150 m. The zone in between the targets has also been mapped and is covered by extensive, thin alluvial sediments that may be underlain by the same prospective sedimentary sequence.
Agua Fria Acquisition (2016)
Further 2016 exploration resulted in the discovery and acquisition of the Agua Fria concession, a lithium-rich clay mineralization adjoining the southern portion of the Tule Concession. Reconnaissance sampling from two sites of clay mineralization in banded sediments returned 347, 353, and 880 ppm Li from the northern cluster, and 950 and 1,000 ppm Li from the southern cluster (about 1.7 kilometers to the south east).
Agua Fria Exploration (2016)
Follow-up exploration work on the Agua Fria concession revealed lithium-bearing sediments tracing along strike for approximately 4.5 km with maximum widths up to 800m. Results from 35 additional samples yielded values ranging from 235 to 1,190 ppm Li and averaging 625 ppm Li, with three assay values over 1,000 ppm. The high lithium concentrations are associated with grey and white colored clay-rich sedimentary beds dipping shallowly to the east and capped with basaltic flows. This sequence is similar to that found on the nearby La Ventana property held by Bacanora and REM.
These technical contents were approved by Michel Boily, PhD, P.Geo a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101.
Agua Fria Sampling (2016)
Highlights of the second round of sampling on the Agua Fria concession included:
Agua Fria Trenching (2017)
Early 2017 trenching of the southern part of the Agua Fria concession consisted of continuous channel samples collected along 4 trenches totaling 319.7m that were dug perpendicularly across the lithium-rich clays.
Trench #1 returned 712 ppm Li and 2.6% K over its entire length of 146.5 meters, including 928 ppm Li (+2.4% K) over 43 meters and 971 ppm Li (+1.9% K) over 17 meters. Trench #2 is a 50m laterally displaced extension of the first trench and returned 954 ppm Li (+2.1% K) over its entire length of 30 meters.
Trench #3 (located 400 meters north of Trench #1) returned 758 ppm Li (+2.3% K) over its entire length of 103.2 meters, including 31 meters of 949 ppm Li (+2.1% K) and 21 meters of 1004 ppm Li (+1.8% K).
Trench #4 located between trenches #1 and #3 is in terrain more difficult to trench but samples from a 2 meter deep test pit assayed 1130 ppm Li.
Results from the lesser explored northern part of the Agua Fria concession consisted of nine channel samples that returned up to 1340 ppm Li averaging 1069 ppm Li.
These technical contents were approved by Michel Boily, PhD, P.Geo a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101. The properties have not been the subject of a National Instrument 43-101 report.
PRELIMINARY METALLURGICAL RESULTS (2017)
Agua Fria mineralogical characterization (using sample from surface trenching) was evaluated with quantitative X-ray diffraction and yielded the results shown in Table 1:
|Mineral||Ideal Formula||Composite 1|
|Plagioclase||NaAlSi3O8 – CaAlSi2O8||13|
|Ankerite – Dolomite||Ca(Fe2+,Mg,Mn)(CO3)2 – CaMg(CO3)2||23|
Quantitative XRD analyses were performed on a composite sample assembled from trench samples at Agua Fria. The XRD suggests the main lithium bearing phase is montmorillonite, a lithium clay mineral similar to hectorite. The other minerals forming the clay sample are dolomite, quartz, plagioclase feldspar and analcime.
ACID EXTRACTION OF LITHIUM AT AMBIENT TEMPERATURE
Preliminary sulphuric acid shaker tests were carried out at room temperature for a period of four hour on the samples containing up to 950 ppm Li. Lithium extraction attaining 85% were observed. These are excellent results given the fact these sighter tests were performed at low temperature and with a relatively short residence time. The tests indicate no thermal pre-treatment of the material is required. A moderate increase in temperature and residence time is expected to improve kinetics and drive the lithium extraction greater than 90 %.
Montmorillonite is thought to be the main lithium-bearing mineral. It accounts for only 30% of the sample mass. Efficient separation of the montmorillonite from gangue minerals has the potential to produce a concentrate with significantly higher lithium grades than the bulk material subject of the characterization work.
Separating montmorillonite from the acid-consuming dolomite and calcite by the application of de-sliming or flotation will significantly reduce the quantity of acid used.
Agua Fria Drilling (2017)
The maiden Agua Fria drill program consisted of 16 holes totaling 1762 meters concentrated along a 6 km length of various stacked beds of lithium-rich sediments. The highlight of the exploration program was the discovery of the West Flank lithium zone, which partially outcrops and extends in a NNW-SSE-direction for more than 2,500 m on the western portion of the Agua Fria concession. The West Flank lithium target is the most significant target as it outcrops and has the most potential to contain important mineralization with very low stripping ratios. The West Flank is defined by:
|HOLE_ID||From (m)||To (m)||Interval (m)||Li (ppm)|
The West Flank lithium zone is 25 -50 m-thick, shallow dipping and provides the best potential to define a resource of significant tonnage near surface. Future efforts will be devoted to the West Flank target to establish the stratigraphic control of higher lithium concentrations.
In addition to significant Li values, the clay horizons at Agua Fria are characterized by anomalous potassium values, an element which may be recoverable as potassium sulphate, a major component of "NP" fertilizers. This potentially adds a valuable by-product.
|HOLE_ID||Easting||Northing*||Elevation (m)||Azimuth (°)||Plunge (°)||Depth (m)|
|*WGS84; Zone 12N|
Alix Resources implemented a QA/QC program during the drilling at Aqua Fria. Drill samples were collected on 3 m intervals, the equivalent of one sample per drill rod. The entire sample was collected using buckets and sacks to catch as much of the fine fraction as possible. Samples were weighed, split using a riffle splitter to obtain a 5 kg sample in micro-pore bags. A representative sample was also collected for the chip tray and Z-300 on site analysis. Surface and trench samples were collected using grub hoes and/or shovels, providing 3-5 kg samples which were put in a plastic bag, tagged and sealed before being transported to the laboratory. Samples were shipped from the site directly to the laboratory and transported by Alix representatives.
Preparation package PREP-31 was requested which includes crushing at 70% <2mm and reduction to a pulp 85% <75um. Pulps underwent dissolution by 4 acid digestion (perchloric, nitric, hydrofluoric and hydrochloric acids) and analyzed by inductively coupled plasma- atomic emission spectrometry for 48 elements: Ag, Al, As, Ba, Be, Bi, Ca, Cd, Ce, Co, Cr, Cs, Cu, Fe, Ga, Ge, Hf, In, K, La, Li, Mg, Mn, Mo, Na, Nb, Ni, P, Pb, Rb, Re, S, Sb, Sc, Se, Sn, Sr, Ta, Te, Th, Ti, Tl, U, V, W, Y, Zn, Zr (package ME-MS6). Blanks, standards and duplicates were inserted every 10th sample in the following sequence: duplicate, standard GTA-07, blank, duplicate, standard GTA-02, blank. Blanks were sourced locally from a clay unit that averaged 26 ppm Li and duplicates were taken on site with the riffle splitter.
These technical contents were approved by Dr. Michel Boily, PGeo, a qualified person as defined by National Instrument 43-101. The properties have not been the subject of a National Instrument 43-101 report.
Although geological similarities are interpreted between Alix's Electra and Bacanora's Sonora projects, readers are cautioned that Alix has not discovered nor defined a similar deposit, nor completed a pre-feasibility or feasibility study which establishes mineral reserves with demonstrated economic and technical viabilities.