Lithium explorer Anson Resources (ASX: ASN) has made a further addition to its Utah-based lithium portfolio by acquiring the Cane Creek 32-1 oil well within the boundaries of its Paradox Lithium Project and directly adjacent to its planned in-field pilot plant scheduled to commence development later this year.
Anson Managing Director Bruce Richardson negotiated the purchase last month which will see Anson assuming the bonding and rehabilitation costs and paid nominal consideration for the well and lease.
The well being acquired by Anson was recently in production and remains “open with no plugs installed” according to an Anson shareholder update.
The lithium junior hopes to use the acquisition to obtain better access to lithium brines and foresees the procedure to enter the well as “straightforward” and “at lower cost than Gold Bar Unit 2’ because re-entry is not required.
With the acquisition now being formalised, Anson will soon have the regulatory approvals it needs to commence brine sampling.
As Small Caps reported last month, Anson is targeting the lithium-rich brines within Clastic Zone 31 as part of its ‘Gold Bar Unit 2’ drilling program.
At the same time, and for minimal incremental cost, Anson is sampling several lithium-rich zones by taking samples over a period of 5 hours with 1-litre samples being collected every 20 minutes.
Anson’s pilot plant
In order to validate its high-grade lithium ambitions, Anson is testing several bulk samples of brine collected from its Gold Bar Unit 2 prospect and will conduct similar tests on the newly acquired Cane Creek 32-1 oil well in the near future.
The key consideration for Anson is whether its samples can be stripped from their unwanted magnesium content with high-grade lithium carbonate the intended production target. More specifically, the in-field pilot plant enables Anson to determine the process of extracting the boron by solvent extraction (SX), followed by the removal of the magnesium by chemical precipitation and calcium by an SX process. The final stage is the production of lithium carbonate.
The results of the smaller-scale bench-top pilot plant will be used by Anson in the design of an in-field pilot plant, prior to progressing to further drilling, feasibility studies and eventual full-scale production. The in-field pilot plant is intended to be a key part of a feasibility study to validate the design process and test its ability to be effective in larger sample sizes, according to Anson.
At the current pace, Anson expects to produce its first batch of lithium carbonate in April 2018.
In addition to producing lithium carbonate, Anson’s bench-top test work is also expected to validate the production of other marketable minerals including boron, bromine, iodine and magnesium which could potentially generate additional revenue for Anson’s Paradox Project.
“Planning the development of an in-field pilot plant continues as a key priority for Anson. Acquiring a strategically existing oil well completes a further step in this plan taking Anson one step closer to producing lithium carbonate,” said Bruce Richardson, Managing Director at Anson.