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Noram Ventures Inc. (TSXV:NRM) (OTCBB:NRVTF:US) is focused on building an international industrial minerals company and becoming a low cost supplier of lithium and graphite materials into North American, European and Asian markets. The company’s two key properties are the Clayton Valley lithium clay/brine project in Nevada’s lithium hub and the Jumbo flake graphite project in British Columbia.
Noram believes that having both lithium and graphite properties affords a considerable advantage in the lithium-ion battery sector as both materials are essential for the green revolution and the rising global demand for electric vehicles. Despite the name, upwards of ten times more graphite than lithium is used in lithium-ion batteries.
By 2020, Tesla Motors’ Nevada based “Gigafactory” is expected to produce more lithium-ion batteries annually than produced worldwide in 2013. The plant is located 200 kilometers from Noram’s Clayton Valley Lithium property.
Noram is currently bench testing a new nanofiltration process designed to extract lithium carbonate directly from claystone with minimal water use—a key feature for projects in the State of Nevada where water usage is a contentious issue. The proprietary patented process is based on membrane technology already in use for resource extraction in the mining and oil & gas industries and offers an environmentally-friendly, low-cost alternative to conventional lithium extraction methods.
The company is also involved in the development of an environmentally-friendly and cost-effective process for producing graphene oxide and graphene with graphite sourced from its Jumbo graphite property.
- Lithium property adjacent to Albemarle’s Silver Peak mine, the only lithium producing mine in North America.
- Phase 3 exploration underway in Clayton Valley.
- Metallurgical testing of sample material from Jumbo graphite property shows 45 percent large flake category, battery grade.
- Noram developing environmentally-friendly, low-cost processing methods for both lithium and graphite.
- Holding both lithium and graphite properties places Noram at a considerable advantage in the lithium-ion battery sector.
- Results from 97 sub-surface and surface samples show an average of 780 ppm with a high assay of 1,670 ppm; compared to economic viability at 100 to 200 ppm.
- Noram’s team of experts have an unparalleled track record of success and experience.
Key Industrial Minerals Properties
Lithium: Clayton Valley Project
The Clayton Valley lithium brine/clay project covers 17,738 acres, making Noram Ventures one of the largest lithium direct holders of lithium claims in Nevada’s lithium-rich Clayton Valley. The property is adjacent to the lithium exploration projects of both Pure Energy Minerals and Lithium X Energy, and has the potential to contain lithium within claystones, beds and brines. The property’s North and South blocks are located within 2 kilometers of Albemarle’s Silver Peak mine.
Low-water-use nanofiltration process
Developing a more economical, efficient and environmentally conscious lithium extraction process.
With the help of Membrane Development Specialists, LLC, Noram Ventures is bench testing the recovery yield of a low-water-use nanofiltration process designed to extract lithium carbonate directly from claystone. The company hopes the results will help define a conceptual process model for further development of the lithium claystones at the Clayton Valley project.
The nanofiltration process is based on proven membrane technology already in use across the mining and oil & gas industries. In fact, Lithium X, Pure Energy and even Albemarle are considering this technology for extracting lithium from brine.
“Extracting lithium from clay is unique from gold or copper extraction, for example; it’s very much a chemistry as opposed to a mining process,” explained Mark Ireton, President of Noram. “We have a new patented proprietary method aimed at lithium clay. The technology itself is not new; in fact, it’s well-known globally in other industries. It has been used for lithium brine, and, we’re tweaking it for clay-based extraction. Our process is close-looped and completely recyclable, so far more environmentally-friendly and much less water-intensive than conventional methods.”
Noram believes establishing a low-water-use lithium extraction method is the company’s golden ticket to advancing a lithium exploration project in a region like Nevada. “We feel this technology will help us be one of the first out of the gate for production which is key in this are,” stated Ireton. “Water is both a politically and environmentally sensitive hotbed in Nevada. We are hopeful we’ll be able to completely negate that issue and bring real value to shareholders.”
Once proven successful for use in claystone, the technology will be economically advantageous both in terms of time and dollars, allowing for an exceedingly lower CAPEX and OPEX than conventional production methods.
Water and scoping studies progress
In September 2016, the company announced the completion of an initial water resources study conducted by Starpoint Enterprises which indicates that the Clayton Valley has sufficient water supply for the nanofiltration process. The study is a part of Noram’s ongoing pre-development scoping process.
“This water study will be instrumental in providing a path forward to secure water rights for exploration and development at our Clayton Valley lithium brine/clay project,” said Ireton. “The study also provides important information that will be included in our initial NI 43-101 technical and preliminary economic assessment reports.”
South Block: Hades, Zeus and Spartan claim groups
The majority of the exploration work to date at the Clayton Valley lithium project has focused on the South Block which consists of 14,000 acres and includes the Hades, Zeus and Spartan claim groups.
Hades shows significant lithium values
The Hades claim group is located approximately 5 kilometers south of the Silver Peak mine. Results from the Phase 1 sampling program at Hades confirmed lithium-rich claystone with values up to 1,030 ppm lithium. The results indicated the potential for a large mass of lithium mineralized claystones at Hades. “This is a very exciting discovery as it provides our exploration team with confirmation of high levels of lithium in the area of the Hades claim group,” said Ireton.
Zeus: highest lithium values to date
The Zeus claim group is located within 2 kilometers of Albemarle’s Silver Peak mine. Phase 2 surface and sub-surface sampling completed in July 2016 at Zeus included a total of 73 samples (primarily vertical chip) taken over a 1,200 meter x 800 meter area. Assays returned lithium values ranging from 206 ppm to a high of 1,670 ppm with an average value of 780 ppm—the highest values to date on the Clayton Valley Lithium project and far above the economic standard for production (100 to 200 ppm lithium).
The results indicate the potential for a large mass of lithium mineralized claystones at Zeus and have prompted Noram to apply for permitting to conduct shallow core drill testing of the higher-grade lithium zones.
Phase 3 exploration program planned
The Phase 3 exploration program at the Clayton Valley lithium project will focus on the Zeus, Hades and Spartan claim groups, and will include geological mapping and sampling to define targets for core drilling.
In August 2016, Noram announced it had submitted a permit application for shallow core drilling (18 meters to 24 meters) of 55 initial targets identified across the South Block claims, mainly in the Zeus and Hades areas. “We are very pleased to be advancing our Clayton Valley lithium project to the next stage of exploration after the very positive results from our Phase 1 and 2 surface and sub-surface sampling programs,” said Ireton.
Noram is working toward producing a NI 43-101 technical report for the Clayton Valley lithium project. The report along with the results of the nanofiltration process bench testing will help to inform a planned pre-feasibility study for the project.
Hector Lode Project Overview:
- The 116 Lithium mineral claims comprise 2,320 acres project is situated in the Mojave Desert of Southern California, 35 miles (56 km) southeast of the city of Barstow in San Bernardino County, and Interstate Highway 40 runs through the southern portion of the claim group. The area of interest has seen a long history of mining for bentonite clays dating back to 1931. The sedimentary sequence at the Hector Mine can be seen in outcrop to the north on the Hector Lode Claims.
- Two references were found in the literature which provided analyses of the Hector clays. One was Ames, et al (1958) which yielded a Li2O value of 1.14% from the Hector Mine area. The other reference was Foshag and Woodward (1936) which gave Li2O values of 1.12% and 0.60%, also from the Mmine area. These analyses are both from the southern area of the claim group.
- Proven presence of lithium in Hectorite clays;
- Published reports indicate lithium values greater than 1% Li2O (10,000 ppm);
- Material is currently being mined on adjacent ground as bentonite/hectorite clays;
- Close to infrastructure (power, transportation and labor);
- Stable political environment;
Graphite: Jumbo Project
The Jumbo flake graphite project covers 15,050 hectares in the Slocan mining division of southeastern British Columbia, approximately 88 kilometers south of Revelstoke. This region has a rich mining history dating back to the 1860s. Existing infrastructure includes a network of logging and secondary roads, readily available power and water, and an experienced mining labor force.
A 2012 SkyTEM survey delineated conductive features consistently associated with a graphitic horizon throughout the property, with a cumulative length of roughly 50 kilometers. The company believes that all of these conductors may be related to a single continuous complexly folded graphitic sequence. This conductive horizon has the potential to host significant concentrations of graphite and very little of the total strike length has been tested to date.
New discovery includes highest grades sampled to date
In June 2016, Noram announced the results of its most recent exploration program at the Jumbo flake graphite project which consisted of a surface rock sampling program conducted over approximately 6,000 hectares. Graphite mineralization was encountered in all conductive zones sampled with sample assays ranging from 0.24 percent graphitic carbon to as high as 16.6 percent graphitic carbon.
Metallurgical testing: battery grade graphite
SGS Lakefield has conducted an Initial metallurgical testing of a 10-kilogram sample from the Jumbo Flake Graphite property, which produced three key results:
- head grade of 3.81 percent high-purity flake graphite
- 45 percent was classified as large flake, battery grade
- average grade of 96.0 percent carbon purity; a very high-grade early stage result
Environmentally-friendly graphene production process
Noram Ventures has partnered with BEGO Advanced Materials Inc. to test the viability of using graphite from the Jumbo flake graphite property to produce graphene using BEGO’s bio-electro-chemical process. With the help of the Colorado State University Foundation, BEGO is advancing the development of its innovative and environmentally-friendly graphene production process.
The process employs naturally occurring microbes as catalysts and facilitators to exfoliate graphite into graphene oxide and potentially graphene without the use of hazardous acids, bases, oxidants or reductants. The goal is to develop a green and cost-effective graphene oxide and graphene production process.
Under the agreement with BEGO, if the Jumbo graphite proves a viable material for the production of graphene, Noram will gain the exclusive rights to provide graphite material for any future commercial applications of the BEGO process.
“We are very pleased to be working with BEGO on this exciting project as it may fast track our ability to monetize the Jumbo graphite property,” said Ireton. “Graphene based materials have been shown to boost the energy density and recharge time of lithium-ion batteries, which makes our involvement in a project like BEGO synergistic with our lithium project in Nevada’s Clayton Valley.”
Mark Ireton – President, CEO, and Director
Mark Ireton is a banker by profession with over 30 years of experience in all areas of commercial mid-market lending. He is versed in both public and private transactions, reorganizations, acquisitions—both management buyouts and leveraged buyouts—and divestitures in a variety of sectors that include wholesale distribution, manufacturing, aviation, transportation, construction, excavation, post production and oil service.
Ken Phillippe – CFO and Director
Ken Phillipe is a Chartered accountant with over 25 years of experience working with public companies in the capacities of director, executive officer, financial advisor or consultant. He holds a BComm and articled with Thorne Riddell (now KPMG) and obtained his professional accounting designation in 1981. He established his own accounting practice in 1982.
Cyrus Driver – Independent Director
A chartered accountant, Cyrus Driver was founding partner in the firm of Driver Anderson since its inception in 1982 and a partner in the firm of Davidson and Company LLP. Whilst providing general public accounting services to a wide range of clients, he specializes in servicing TSX Venture listed companies and members of the brokerage community. His wide knowledge of the securities industry and its rules have enabled him to give valuable advice to clients with respect to finance, taxation and other accounting related matters. Driver currently serves as director and or chief financial officer of several TSX-V listed companies.
Arthur Brown – Independent Director
Art Brown brings 36 years of business experience to the Noram board. He has served on the boards of eight other companies in sectors ranging from technology to oil & gas and mineral exploration. Brown understands all the aspects and requirements a public company has to operate successfully. This knowledge and experience has been translated into many successful financings for the various companies he has been involved with.
Chris Farnworth – Vice President Corporate Development
Chris Farnworth is a business management and corporate finance executive with over 30 years of experience in the public and private markets, across all resource sectors.
Michael Collins – Geo. Qualified Person
Michael Collins is the Vice President North America with Mining Plus Canada Ltd. Over the last 18 years he has developed a strong skill set in mineral explora1on, deposit modeling and project development.
Gavin Harrison – Senior Landman
Gavin Harrison is President of Harrison Land Services, Colorado Plateau Mineral specialties in acquisition, exploration and data management.
Brad Peek CPG, Senior Consulting Geologist, more than 40 years’ experience in project management, mineral exploration and in computer applications in the mineral exploration and mining. Eleven years’ experience with a water engineering consulting firm. Society of Economic Geologists Society of Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration of AIME American Institute of Professional Geologists – Certified Professional Geologist, CPG11299
Mohamed el Maskyne – Staff Geologist
Mohamed el Maskyne is a junior geologist for Mineroc Company. He is currently working with Noram in Morocco. He also handles resource management with dredging company Drapor World.