PRISM's Early Efforts Were Focused on Bringing Its Poly-metallic Resource into Compliance and Developing Leading-edge Processes and Manufacturing Technologies
With development starting in 2007 under Ironstone Resources' tutelage, the Clear Hills Project will serve as the locus for the long-term production of iron, vanadium, lithium and aggregate products to support the growing demand in the aerospace and automotive industries for high-purity iron powder products, and vanadium and lithium electric metals to meet the demands of renewable energy storage projects.
In early 2018, Ironstone Resources was renamed to PRISM Diversified Ltd. to mark the company's entry into its commercialization stage of development. PRISM is an acronym for "Peace Region Innovative & Sustainable Manufacturing", an homage to the pioneering people and generations of determined effort to make this one of Alberta's most dynamic and high-growth regions.
Through three diamond core drilling programs, a resource of 557 million tonnes of mineralized material has been defined (182 million tonnes contained iron and 2.45 billion pounds of contained vanadium pentoxide), with the results reported in a NI 43-101 technical resource report (July 2012) released by SRK Consulting (Canada) Inc. on behalf of Ironstone Resources.
The company has also excavated a bulk sample pit and extracted 11,000 tonnes of mineralized material for metallurgical evaluations and process development.
In early 2017, PRISM determined that its iron deposit would be amenable for the production of carbonyl iron powder using a commercially-proven process, with secondary recovery of vanadium and possibly cobalt. After several positive tests at a Canadian pilot facility, PRISM is planning to conduct a comprehensive feasibility study with its technology provider, expected to commence in Q2 2018.
Lithium-rich brines in Devonian-age oil and gas reservoirs underlie PRISM's Clear Hills permits supported by several regional studies and government reports. The company is currently evaluating the formation brines to determine the most effective method to extract, concentrate and refine the lithium into battery-grade lithium carbonate for use in rechargeable batteries for electric automobiles and consumer products. PRISM has aligned itself with a Canadian water processing company with expertise in the rapid and real-time extraction of impurities from water including minerals such as lithium.
After successful preliminary tests revealed the efficient concentration of lithium from a reservoir brine sample on PRISM's permit using the leading-edge patented technology, the company quadrupled its permit-holdings in the Peace Region and now hold a 100% undivided interest in 1.91 million acres (776,322 hectares), the largest contiguous block of metallic and industrial mineral permits held in Alberta today. Further feasibility work on PRISM's lithium potential will be conducted throughout 2018 including a technology demonstration pilot.
In conjunction with HATCH Associates, the company conducted an extensive research and development program to fine-tune and scale a novel process – dubbed as the HICS Process – for upgrading oolitic ironstone into high-grade iron metallics to be sold as alternative iron units into the US steel industry or to support steel production in western Canada. Further commercialization work will be conducted after carbonyl iron powder operations commence, anticipated in 2020.
The overlying overburden is comprised of bentonite-rich expandable clays for potential use in the production of light-weight expandable clay aggregates (LECA), or which can be manufactured into a variety of environmentally-friendly building and road construction products.
Clear Hills Location
The Clear Hills Project is situated in the heart of Peace Country, 200 kms north of the city of Grande Prairie in northwestern Alberta. The region hosts a near-surface polymetallic iron-vanadium deposit that extends along the eastern flanks of the Clear Hills.
With a population base of more than 170,000 surrounding the Clear Hills, the region features well developed infrastructure including highways, major rail, airports, schools and vocational institutions, commercial businesses and government offices, and local energy production and pipelines.
With one of the strongest economies in Canada, welcoming and inclusive communities, world class health and educational facilities, and a wealth of recreational and cultural activities all year round, Alberta is truly a place of boundless opportunity and a great place to live, work and raise a family.
Summary of PRISM's Achievements to Date:
- raised over $30 million from over 300 shareholders, including three UK-based institutional investors
- assembled 1.88 million acres of long-life metallic and industrial mineral permits in NW Alberta
- conducted three diamond core drilling programs and detailed analytics on all core
- reported in a NI 43-101 compliance report 557 million tonnes of indicated iron-vanadium mineralization (182 million tonnes of contained iron and 2.45 billion pounds of contained vanadium pentoxide)
- developed a bulk sample pit and extracted 11,000 tonnes of mineralized material for process development and pilot tests
- commissioned a NI 43-101 compliant technical report on the Clear Hills lithium potential
- conducted extensive iron and vanadium beneficiation and process flowsheet development in conjunction with HATCH Associates, Hazen Research, and other expert firms
- conducted successful preliminary evaluations of the efficacy of carbonyl vapour metallurgy on its oolitic iron-vanadium resource
- conducted successful preliminary evaluations of the efficacy of electro-extraction water processing technology on lithium-bearing formation brines sourced from a producing well on PRISM's permit
- developed many key alliances with leading-edge global firms in mineral and process development
- garnered the financial support of the provincial and federal government's R&D and economic development agencies