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Survey raises estimate for quantity of lithium in South Arkansas brine

Posted on February 1, 2019

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Standard Lithium Ltd. has issued a maiden lithium resource statement for its approximately 30,000 acres under lease in Union, Columbia and Lafayette counties in Arkansas.

Known to the company as the Tetra Project, the resource report includes 802,000 metric tons of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE).

Combined with Standard Lithium’s other project in Southern Arkansas (Lanxess Property), this results in a total combined Arkansas lithium brine resource of 3,888,000 ton LCE.

Standard Lithium is engaged in the testing and proving of the commercial viability of lithium extraction from more than 150,000 acres of permitted brine operations in South Arkansas, utilizing the company’s proprietary selective extraction technology.

Robert Mintak, CEO, said, “This combined project in Southern Arkansas positions us as the largest lithium brine resource in the US; a significantly expanding market that currently relies on imports of foreign lithium.”

Dr. Andy Robinson, president and COO of Standard Lithium, said, “Our collaboration with Tetra Technologies was fundamental in allowing Standard Lithium to gain a meaningful foothold in the Arkansas project area, and this maiden resource estimate is validation of the high resource potential we identified in this highly prospective region. We look forward to tighter definition of this resource and developing its potential in parallel with the Lanxess property.”

The Tetra project is contained within the Upper and Middle facies of the Smackover Formation, a Late Jurassic oolitic limestone aquifer system that underlies the entire Property. This brine resource is in an area where there is localized oil and gas production, and where brine is produced as a waste by-product of hydrocarbon extraction.

The data used to estimate and model the resource were gathered from active and abandoned oil and gas production wells on or adjacent to the property.

The resource underlies a total of 807 separate brine leases and eight brine mineral deeds which form a patchwork across Columbia and Lafayette counties. The property consists of 11,033 net hectares (27,262 net acres) leased by Tetra, and the resource estimate was only modelled for that footprint.

The resource area is split into the northern and southern resource zones, where a fault system is interpreted to act as a divide between the two areas.

The company said that in general, the Upper and Middle Smackover formations are slightly thinner, with lower lithium grades in the northern zone, and slightly thicker with higher lithium grades in the southern zone. The depth, shape, thickness and lateral extent of the Smackover Formation were mapped out in a 3D model using the following data:

2,444 wells drilled into the subsurface in the general Tetra Property area. Of these, 2,041 wells were deep enough (2,135 m, or 7,000 feet) to penetrate the Upper Smackover Formation.

104 wells had electric logs available within the Tetra Property that included the top of the Upper Smackover Formation.

32 wells had electric logs available within the Tetra property that included the base of the Upper Smackover Formation;

19 wells had electric logs available within the Tetra property that included the base of the Middle Smackover Formation.

In addition, hardcopy prints of 20 proprietary regional seismic lines totaling over 200 line-km (over 125 line-miles) were procured, scanned, rasterized and loaded into Kingdom seismic and geological interpretation software.

The porosity and permeability data used to characterize the Smackover Formation hydrological model included:

Historical effective porosity measurements of more than 1,935 Smackover Formation core samples that yielded an average effective porosity of 14.3 percent.

515 core plug samples from oil and gas wells within the Upper and Middle Smackover Formations at the Tetra property were analyzed for permeability and porosity and yielded an overall average permeability of 53.3 mD and a total porosity of 10.2%; and,

3,194 Smackover Formation total porosity values based on LAS density/porosity logs from 29 wells within, and/or adjacent to, the Tetra Property that have an average total porosity of 9.2%.

Brine geochemistry was assessed using eight lithium brine samples taken from wells re-entered by Standard Lithium in 2018, and was supplemented by four historical samples. These data yielded an average lithium grade of 160 mg/L in the northern resource zone and 399 mg/L in the southern resource zone. Sample quality assurance and quality control was maintained throughout by use of sample blanks, duplicates and standard ‘spikes’, and by using an accredited, independent laboratory, with a long history of analyzing very high salinity lithium brines.