Tetra Technologies, Inc., has completed a preliminary technical assessment by an independent geological consulting firm to assess lithium and bromine exploration targets in Columbia and Lafayette counties.
The company has approximately 31,100 net acres of brine leases in the two counties. The brine is located inside the Smackover Formation below the two counties.
Tetra has rights to the brine, including rights to the bromine and lithium contained in the brine underlying this acreage, according to the provisions of certain brine leases and brine deeds with various landowners, the company said in a statement.
Tetra’s leasing efforts should not be confused with similar efforts announced in July by Galvanic Energy. Galvanic’s Saltwerx subsidiary has also leased the rights to underground brine formations in western Columbia and eastern Lafayette counties, generally south and southwest of Tetra’s leases. CLICK HERE to read more about Galvanic’s efforts.
With respect to approximately 27,500 acres of that total acreage, Tetra had previously entered into an option agreement with Standard Lithium, whereby Standard Lithium Ltd. has an option to acquire lithium rights. Standard Lithium must make annual cash payments to Tetra to maintain the option to acquire the lithium rights.
Should Standard Lithium initiate commercial production on the Columbia-Lafayette leases, a royalty payment replaces the annual cash payments.
The scope of the exploration target assessment is for bromine in all the approximately 31,100 net acres and lithium for the acreage where Tetra holds 100% of the lithium rights not subject to the option.
For bromine, the technical assessment has identified a brine exploration target estimated to contain between 2.54 and 8.58 million tons of elemental bromine and for lithium the exploration target estimated to contain between 16,000 and 53,000 tons of elemental lithium.
Using an elemental to Lithium Carbonate Equivalent ("LCE") conversion of 5.323, the lithium amounts to between 85,000 and 286,000 tons of LCE. The current market price of LCE is approximately $12,500 per ton, and the current market price of bromine is approximately $3,174 per ton in the U.S. and $7,882 per ton in China. The market price of lithium and bromine is regarded as volatile and subject to major changes in the future.
Brady Murphy, Tetra President and CEO, said, "Tetra has been focused on creating shareholder value by capitalizing on our key mineral assets, brine mineral extraction expertise, and deep chemistry competency to expand our offerings into the low carbon energy markets. Bromine has been identified as a key mineral resource in zinc-bromide energy storage systems and our PureFlowhigh purity zinc bromide has been qualified by several battery technology companies. In recent weeks we received our first commercial order for PureFlow high purity zinc bromide and the forecast for PureFlow demand will require us to increase our future supply of bromine.
“This exploration assessment is the first step for us to quantify the significant potential resource position we have in our Arkansas brine leases. As we extract the bromine from our brine leases to service the oil and gas markets as well as the energy storage markets, we will have access to the lithium in the acreage where Tetra holds 100% of the lithium rights not subject to the Standard Lithium option,” Murphy said.
Tetra at present has no brinefield wells, pipelines or chemical production facilities in South Arkansas, and hasn’t announced any plans to construct them.
“The lithium battery market is already acknowledged to be a rapidly growing market, affording Tetra the opportunity to participate in a meaningful way. In the coming periods we will assess the next steps toward developing these key minerals to augment our current global infrastructure and chemistry know-how allowing us to expand beyond the oil and gas market in which Tetra remains a significant market participant,” Murphy said.
The company said it is not currently able to determine the economic viability of the extraction of the lithium and bromine from the leased acreage. Its statement said the extraction of lithium and bromine from these brine leases may require a significant amount of time and capital.
“While we continue to evaluate the next steps regarding the potential development of our brine leases, we have yet to conduct exploration work on the leases. The exploration target's potential quantity and grade is conceptual in nature, there has been insufficient exploration to estimate a mineral resource, and it is uncertain if further exploration will result in the estimation of a mineral resource. The exploration targets expressed should not be misrepresented or misconstrued as an estimate of a mineral resource or ore reserve,” the statement said.
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