Cypress' Glory Lithium Claystone / Brine Project in Clayton Valley, Nevada
Cypress holds a 100% interest in the 1,520 acre Glory Project totaling 76 placer/lode claims located in the heart of the Clayton Valley lithium production and exploration area of Esmeralda County, Nevada.
Cypress' Glory Claims are located to the immediate south of Cypress' Dean Claims and less than a 1,000 meters (0.5 mile) southeast of producing lithium brine wells belonging to the Albemarle (NYSE: ALB) Silver Peak Mine. Cypress' Clayton Valley Projects are located in an active area of lithium mining and lithium exploration. Highways and electric power are in place and exploration resources needed are readily accessible.
Cypress' Glory Project is located on the south flank of an exposure known as Angel Island, one of several isolated exposures of highly deformed and metamorphosed rocks of Cambrian age. The lithium brines being produced for almost 50 years at the Silver Peak Mine have come from the flanks of Angel and Goat Islands.
The Glory Claims share their western boundary with claims controlled by Pure Energy Minerals who have identified an inferred lithium brine resource at their northern resource area located to the immediate west of Cypress' property boundary.
Cypress has reviewed the seismic data in Pure Energy Minerals NI 43-101 Technical Report titled "Inferred Resource Estimate for Lithium, Clayton Valley South Project", dated July 17, 2015. The data appears to indicate favorable lithium brine exploration targets along the western and west central portions of Cypress' Glory Project.
Other first order targets exist on Cypress' Glory Property including the discovery of extensive surface outcropping of altered green lithium-rich claystone found during 2016 exploration and the presence of stockwork veining at paleo hot spring vents. These non-hectorite claystone exposures are believed to represent uplifted portions of the lake bed stratigraphy within which the lithium brines of the Clayton Valley basin are found and produced from.
The lithium-rich outcropping claystone could possibly overlie lithium-rich brines at a shallow level at Cypress' Glory Project. The core lands cover the immediate eastern extension of Pure Energy's identified lithium brine northern resource area. The Company believes that lithium-rich brines could be localized at the water table below the highly mineralized claystone discovered at Cypress' Glory Project and potentially along structures cutting these units.
The Albemarle Silver Peak Mine is the only operating brine based lithium mine in North America. The Silver Peak Mine began operations in 1967 to mine lithium carbonate by low cost evaporation ponds and has produced lithium carbonate since then. The concentration in the production brines were reported in 2001 to average 160 ppm (160 mg/litre) lithium (Garrett Report, 2004). Concentrations in the brines in Clayton Valley have been relatively consistent in the 150-200 ppm (150-200 mg/litre) lithium in recent history. The brines from the north part of the Clayton Valley are sodium/chloride (Na/Cl) in composition and have concentrations in the range of 60-400 ppm (60-400 mg/litre) lithium.
*NOTE: 100 ppm lithium metal (Li) is equivalent to 532 ppm lithium carbonate (Li2CO3).
Clayton Valley is located within the Basin and Range Province in southern Nevada and is an internally drained, fault bounded, and closed basin. Basin filling strata compose the aquifer system which hosts and produces the lithium-rich brine. (Zampirro Report 2004).
The Silver Peak area is one of the oldest mining areas in Nevada having produced substantial amounts of silver, gold, lithium and other minerals.
Exploration Results at Cypress' Glory Clayton Valley Lithium Project:
Cypress has interpreted available historic geophysical data of the Clayton Valley, including reconnaissance gravity survey and seismic reflection survey data. Reconnaissance gravity surveys gave a better understanding of the size and extent of the basin and the depth to bedrock on Cypress' Angel and Glory claims. A seismic reflection survey helped define location and extent of bounding and in-basin faults, identify depth to bedrock, and identify and trace key stratigraphic horizons laterally and vertically throughout the basin.
Phase 1 surface sampling of green to bone white claystone was completed at Cypress' Glory Project at the end of January 2016 in an area within the northwest portion of the property on the west flank of Angel Island. Angel Island is one of several isolated exposures of highly deformed and metamorphosed rocks of Cambrian age that are surrounded by basin fill evaporite rocks herein referred to as "claystone". This mineralized non-hectorite claystone is not well understood in terms of age but are part of the recent basin fill evaporite rocks of the Clayton Valley based on work completed by the USGS and other research geologists. The lithium-rich claystone exposures are believed to represent uplifted portions of the lake bed stratigraphy within which the lithium brines of the Clayton Valley basin are found and produced from.
Cypress' January 2016 Phase 1 sampling program returned the highest assay result for lithium in claystone to be publicly reported in Nevada's Clayton Valley. Several of the assays carried greater than 2,000 ppm lithium (>1.06% Li2CO3 equivalent) with one assay sample returning a grade of 3,070 ppm lithium (1.63% Li2CO3 equivalent) content. The assay results encountered suggested a strong possibility of an essentially continuously mineralized volume of lithium-rich claystone at surface over extensive portions of Cypress' Glory Clayton Valley property.
A series of samples were systematically collected from an approximate 100 meters wide traverse through the claystone starting at first exposure on the basin side gravel-mudstone contact (west) and ending at a brecciated vertical fault contact of the claystone with the Cambrian rocks of Angel Island (east). The samples were collected at an approximate spacing of 8 meters.
2016 Phase 1 assays from the systematic traverse samples averaged >1,500 ppm lithium (Li) and were accompanied by a typical suite of other evoporite rock mineralization. Cypress had discovered high lithium grades at surface that well exceeded other reported Clayton Valley sediments and brines.
The Phase 1 results suggested the strong potential of an essentially continuous volume of lithium-rich claystone at surface at Cypress' Glory Project in a position immediately east of both brine production wells at the Albemarle Silver Peak Mine and the northern resource area of Pure Energy's Clayton Valley South project.
Cypress immediately moved forward with a more extensive 2016 Phase 2 exploration program at its Glory Project to better define this lithium-rich surface mineralization discovered during the Phase 1 sampling program. The Company carried out 2 kilometers of detailed surface sampling and geological mapping in the first 2 quarters of 2016 over the western portion of Cypress' Glory Clayton Valley property.
Cypress' May 2016 Phase 2 results from over 200 samples collected showed the discovery of a wide 2 kilometer north-south strike zone of outcropping highly mineralized claystone that assayed 1,100 ppm lithium (0.59% Li2CO3 equivalent) on average and includes a 1.0 kilometer discovery zone that assayed 1,350 ppm lithium (0.72% Li2CO3 equivalent) on average.
The outcropping lithium-rich claystone discovered at Cypress' Glory Clayton Valley property are believed to represent uplifted portions of the lake bed stratigraphy within which the lithium brines of the basin are found and produced from.
In October 2016, Cypress and Pure Energy geologists collected approximately 240 rock samples on a nominal 100 meter (330 feet) grid covering much of the prospective sedimentary rocks on the Property. In addition to confirming strong lithium values from previous Cypress sampling, the sampling program returned some of the highest lithium rock samples yet reported in Nevada. So far, sampling has extended the lithium rich zone into a corridor covering more than 3 square kilometers. Selected highlights of the sampling program are included below:
- Maximum lithium value in rock: 3,830 ppm (2.04% Li2CO3 equivalent);
- Average lithium content: 689 ppm;
- Extended corridor of high lithium to 3km long by more than 1km wide;
- 9 Samples containing more than 2,000 ppm Li (>1.06% Li2CO3 equivalent);
- 71 Samples containing more than 1,000 ppm Li (>0.53% Li2CO3); and
- Anomalous boron (B) and potassium (K) that correlate with high lithium (Li) values.
Patrick Highsmith, Pure Energy Minerals CEO commented, "Our systematic sampling program with Cypress Development on the Glory Claims has exceeded our expectations by discovering some of the highest grade surface lithium in claystone that has been reported in Nevada. Traversing across the area, we can see that these lithium-rich rocks occur over a huge area. Since the dip is relatively flat, our geologists have also demonstrated that the lithium bearing units continue beneath younger alluvial material. Based on our realization that there is potential for significant tonnage of high-lithium rocks on the Property, we are excited to begin the next phase of work on extracting the lithium from these rocks."
Solubility Lab Testing on Glory Claystone:
Solubility lab testing on 2 kilometers of claystone samples from across Cypress' Glory Property have shown an impressive average of 35% Li recovery using a water leach and 95% Li recovery using a dilute Aqua Regia leach process. The data shows that a readily soluble non-hectorite mineral form of lithium-rich claystone exist at surface covering an area 7 kilometers long across Cypress' Glory and Dean Clayton Valley Projects.
Cypress is proceeding with additional leach studies with the Glory assays to determine the amount of lithium extraction possible from the Glory claystone. A modified dilute Aqua Regia leach process (ME-MS41W) and a deionized water leach process (ME-MS03) were completed by ALS / Chemex Lab in Reno, Nevada to provide further data on the feasibility of a large scale leach extraction method of lithium from the abundant mineralized claystone. The goal of this work is to substantiate the potential to produce lithium directly from the mineralized claystone with a low cost and environmentally friendly approach without the need for roasting or other costly mining and complex treatments.
Analysis of Claystone Water Leach and Synthetic Lithium Brine Study:
A total of fifty claystone samples from across Cypress' adjoining Dean Property have been analyzed by ALS Chemex's Lab in Reno, Nevada using method ME-MS03. This method involves using deionized water as the leach agent for extraction of easily soluble minerals and other element ions that are present in the rock sample.
The purpose of this work was an initial evaluation of extraction of lithium and other elements from the samples using water only. The important questions to answer in this study were the solubility of lithium in water and also the solubility of other associated evaporite elements such as sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium.
Data, Methodology and Results:
The core data for this study were assay results from two fundamentally different assay procedures. The methods are;
- ME-ICP61 method known as a four acid assay as it uses a mixture of acids to completely dissolve the sample in a highly corrosive solution of acids. The resulting solution is then analyzed for the amounts of individual elements present, here expressed as percent (%). This assay method produces a complete accounting of the make-up of the rock being assayed, nothing is left behind. This is known as complete digestion.
- ME-MS03 method which uses only deionized water as the leaching solution. Assay results from this method will be entirely dependent of the solubility, in water, of the minerals or ion complexes that occur in the sample. This method will not extract elements from many minerals including silicates, sulfides, carbonates etc.
The results of this study are formed by comparing the assays from these two very different methods for the elements of importance in the Clayton Valley; lithium (Li), magnesium (Mg), calcium (Ca), potassium (K) and sodium (Na).
An ideal outcome of a water leach assay would be a large percentage extraction of lithium along with a low percentage extraction of other evaporite elements, especially magnesium and calcium, versus the assays of these elements in the four acid method.
The results of the fifty deionized water leach assays show exactly that, strong extraction of lithium with very low extraction of magnesium and calcium. The water and soluble element "synthetic brine" produced for assay from the samples has very similar chemistry to that of reported chemistry of production brines from the Clayton Valley and to brines reported by Pure Energy Minerals within their northern resource area.
This similarity of the "synthetic brine" from the Cypress deionized water leach assay (ALS Chemex method ME-MS03) compared to production and resource brines in the Clayton Valley is most clearly seen in the ratios of lithium vs. other evaporite elements in solution. These ratios are the standard reporting structure for the evaluation of the chemical quality of brines worldwide. In particular, relatively high amounts of lithium in comparison to the amount of magnesium and calcium in solution that are critical parameters in evaluating the suitability of a brine for processing using both traditional and new-era lithium production processes.
For Cypress, the comparison of the lithium to calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium ratios for our deionized water leach brine, or synthetic brine, to the same ratios for both production brines and brines included in lithium resource estimates within the Clayton Valley is of critical importance in providing a first order estimation of the suitability of these synthetic brines for lithium extraction processing using either the traditional evaporation and precipitation process similar to Albemarle's Silver Peak Mine or for possible processing in one of the new processes being developed by Pure Energy Minerals and others.
Cypress used public data that exists for a number of samples of these production and resource brines for this study. These data came from Pure Energy's July 28, 2015 NI 43-101 Technical Report on its Clayton Valley South lithium project and from subsequent news releases by Pure Energy Minerals. The inclusion of chemical data on Albemarle's production brines was possible by examining public data on these brines which are reported as part of Albemarle's annual reporting requirements to the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection and to the State of Nevada Water Resources.
The key results of the Cypress solubility study are presented below beginning with a side by side comparison of assays (in percentage) of the important elements in the rock samples as reported by ALS Chemex for the two different assay methods. The pairs of numbers for each method represent the average for the fifty samples in the study:
Water Solubility of Lithium from Surface Rock Samples Comparison of Assays from Four Acid Digestion and Distilled Water Methods:
The results from the table above show that the deionized water leach assay method would result in a water solution containing an average of 0.05% Li, 0.14% Mg, 0.11% Ca, 0.29% K, and 2.9% Na. These results are compared to other basin brine chemistries below in this study. The values are straight assay values for the elements as found in the deionized water solution used in the assay procedure.
The study looked at the solubility of each of the important elements in a fashion which compares the complete extraction of each element in the four acid method versus the partial extract using only deionized water.
As the chart below clearly shows, two elements, lithium and sodium, show strong solubility into water versus a four acid solution while the remainder of the elements show remarkably low solubility in water versus a four acid solution. The difference is significant and the result is that a water solution is created which contains approximately 42% of the lithium and 81% of the sodium of the original rock but contains only trace amounts of the undesirable elements magnesium, calcium and potassium, all of which are less than 1%.
|Solubility in Deionized Water vs. 4 Acid Digestion:|
The table below compares the solution chemistry of the Dean deionized water "synthetic brine" produced by ALS Chemex during the ME-MS03 assays to actual production and resource brines in the Clayton Valley. Note that the lithium value for the water leach solution from the Dean claystone is more than double that of the Pure Energy brine and is four times that of the Albemarle production brine.
|Element||Dean Claystone||CV-1 (@700 feet)||Well 392|
The data is significant when comparing the chemistry of the Cypress synthetic brine with two examples of brines from the Clayton Valley. As can be seen in the chart above, the Cypress synthetic brine is materially higher in lithium than the resource brine of Pure Energy Minerals or the production brine of Albemarle's Silver Peak Mine.
The results needed to be viewed in relation to the other elements to more clearly see if these three different solutions containing lithium and other elements are truly similar. To do this, Cypress looked at ratios of lithium with the other elements in each sample. This produced the critical metal ratios which are used for the evaluation of the processing characteristics of brines in terms of efficiency of lithium extraction from the mineral brines.
The metal ratios for each of the three mineral brines are presented below:
|Ratio||Dean Claystone||CV-1 (@700 feet)||Well 392|
The ratio data above compares in an effective way the chemistries of a synthetic brine made from the surface outcropping claystone on the Cypress Dean property with basin brines of the Clayton Valley. The ratios suggest that the synthetic brine is chemically very similar to the two selected basin brines. This is particular true in the critical magnesium/lithium (Mg/Li) ratio where the total range of values for the three solutions falls within a narrow range.
The following points are apparent and supported by the mineral solubility data:
- It appears that a lithium bearing mineral solution that is chemically similar to the production and resource brines of the Clayton Valley can be produced by the leaching of surface exposed evaporate stratigraphy in water.
- Comparison of ratios with other important elements also shows the Dean "Synthetic Brine" to compare favorably with basin production brines.
- The data provides further strong support for the idea that the production brines of the basin are being continuously recharged by leaching of lithium and other elements from the uplifted and exposed former lake basin sediments that outcrop in a wide belt along the east margin of the Clayton Valley.
- This recharge mechanism strongly supports the importance of the outcropping and buried claystone as a very significant lithium source rock. Our chemistry work-up as presented here shows how rain water and underground aquifers would extract lithium and sodium from the mineralized basin sediments at much higher rates than the extraction of magnesium and calcium. This process would neatly account for the chemistry of basin production brines versus the chemistry of the source rock claystone.
The potential for the existence of ground water mineral brines under and immediately adjacent to the exposed belt of lithium rich rocks is high as the water flow pathways for the recharge system are likely to be vertical as well as horizontal.
Cypress is moving forward at this time with mineral Identification (ID) by X Ray Diffraction (XRD) being conducted at the University of British Columbia. The Company is further advancing bench scale studies of using a plain water, non-acid leach and additional very dilute acid leach methods in an advancing effort to develop a low cost mining and environmentally friendly lithium (Li) extraction method for the claystone at Cypress' Glory Clayton Valley Project.
2017 Planned Phase 1 Drill Program at Cypress' Glory Clayton Valley Project:
Cypress has received from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Nevada, an Area of Disturbance Permit to allow the Company move forward with a series of diamond drill core holes on the Glory Clayton Valley Property targeting the 1 1/2 by 3 kilometer long zone of lithium-rich claystone discovered at surface. The permit contains proposed locations for a number of holes targeted to provide initial subsurface data and assays under the wide zone of strongly mineralized salty claystone outcrops. This shallow drilling should allow Cypress to begin to estimate size, lithium (Li) grade and tonnage in the claystone at the Company's Glory Project.
Future drilling will include deeper drill hole locations targeting potential lithium-rich brines within the Main Ash Aquifer projected to underlie the west and west-central portions of Cypress' Glory Project. The Main Ash Aquifer is the primary target of these holes. Cypress expects to intersect this zone at 500 to 1,000 feet below surface. Additional deeper targets will also be tested including the potential presence of a coarse gravel aquifer near the base of the basin fill evaporite sequence.
The exploration results received by Cypress to date are being viewed as highly encouraging for the potential of a continuous volume of a highly soluble form of lithium-rich claystone near surface at the Company's Glory Clayton Valley Project. The results are also being viewed as highly encouraging for the discovery of lithium-rich brines in the aquifers below, next door to successful lithium brine exploration and production.
Lithium Mining Infrastructure in Clayton Valley, Nevada:
- Well maintained state highways connect Silver Peak to the main road network in Nevada
- Nevada has fostered a thriving mining industry with associated development expertise, construction and operations services and a mature regulatory environment
- Single best mining jurisdiction in the U.S. and ranked 3rd globally by the respected "Fraser Institute's annual Survey of Mining Countries"
- Graded and maintained gravel roads link Silver Peak to the southern half of Clayton Valley
- Nearest rail system is in Hawthorne, Nevada, approximately 90 miles by road
- Public use airport in Tonopah with two runways
- Electrical connection is possible at the sub-station in Silver Peak
- Water supply is currently served by the Silver Peak municipal water supply
Lithium Timing and Why Now?:
Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) is driving the current lithium boom in Nevada with the construction of a Gigafactory, a large-scale lithium-ion battery facility outside of Sparks Nevada. Market speculations of the construction of additional large-scale lithium battery factories are based on the potential of lithium batteries as an all purpose energy storage unit that are highly scalable.
The energy storage revolution is generating high demand for lithium with analysts forecasting demand increases for the product (Li) in the near future. Battery giants are scaling up lithium-ion production with mega-factories and are actively acquiring the raw material through off take agreements. Companies already producing lithium are attempting to increase production. Rockwood Holdings was purchased by Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB) in 2014 for $6.2 billion USD. This purchase included the Rockwood Silver Peak Lithium Mine located in Clayton Valley, Nevada.
Tesla Motors is building a $5 billion USD battery gigafactory outside of Reno, Nevada. A large amount of the supply of lithium will have to come from the U.S. (i.e. Nevada's Clayton Valley production) because of the major tax incentives Tesla received ($1.3 billion USD in tax incentives over the next 10 years). Electric vehicles and energy storage has become a huge demand driver for the increased production at Clayton Valley and for the exploration and the discovery of additional lithium deposits in the area.
The most important use of lithium is in rechargeable batteries for mobile phones, laptops, digital cameras and electric vehicles. Lithium is also used in some non-rechargeable batteries for things like heart pacemakers, toys and clocks.
There is a very good reason why lithium in batteries has become the metal of choice. Lithium is the most reactive metal known, also the lightest, with an atomic number of 3. Used in batteries, lithium provides much better energy per volume ratio or energy density than an ordinary alkaline battery or other common rechargeable battery such as a nickel-metal hydride. This is in part because lithium is the third-smallest element after hydrogen and helium, and thus a lithium ion can carry a positive charge in a very small amount of space. Lithium-ion batteries can be recharged by running the anode and cathode reactions in reverse and the ability to be recharged many times over without much loss of capacity is another major advantage of the lithium-ion battery.
Lithium metal is also made into alloys with aluminium and magnesium, improving their strength and making them lighter. A magnesium-lithium alloy is used for armour plating. Aluminium-lithium alloys are used in aircraft, bicycle frames and high-speed trains.
Lithium oxide is used in special glasses and glass ceramics. Lithium chloride is one of the most hygroscopic materials known, and is used in air conditioning and industrial drying systems (as is lithium bromide). Lithium stearate is used as an all-purpose and high-temperature lubricant. Lithium carbonate is used in drugs to treat manic depression, although its action on the brain is still not fully understood. Lithium hydride is used as a means of storing hydrogen for use as a fuel.
Robert Marvin, P.Geo., Director, VP of Exploration for Cypress Development Corp. is the Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101 and has approved of the technical information on this web site.