Exploration and Production of Energy Storage Materials
This Progressive Planet Solutions profile is part of a paid investor education campaign.*
Progressive Planet Solutions Inc (TSXV:PLAN) is a Canadian company dedicated to the exploration for and development of industrial mineral deposits. In addition, Progressive Planet is concurrently conducting product development initiatives for materials made using zeolite. The company holds three Canadian properties: the Z-1 zeolite quarry in British Columbia, an option to earn a 20 percent stake in the Thomson Bros. lithium project in Manitoba and the Buckingham graphite project in Quebec.
The global zeolite market is expected to reach US$33.8 billion by 2022. Zeolite is an adaptable, flexible and environmentally-friendly material with applications in the industrial, consumer and environmental sectors. The zeolite industry has been on the rise since its discovery in the 1950s, and the space has seen continued research and development.
At its Z-1 zeolite quarry in British Columbia, Progressive Planet has extracted and crushed a stockpile of thousands of tonnes of zeolite that is ready to be transported to clients in various industries. Progressive Planet is also using material from this stockpile to conduct its own product development initiatives. Having fulfilled the expenditure requirements to acquire 100 percent of the property, the company has commenced purchasing equipment to store the zeolite as well as crush and screen it to the various sizes required in multiple industries.
Progressive Planet has procured a processing and product development facility in Vernon, British Columbia. The site was the former home of the Motoplex Speedway. It provides three phase power and the utilities required to process zeolite into the various particle sizes needed by various end users. The facility also houses Progressive Planet’s Advanced Materials Center (AMC) product development lab. The lab is expected to be equipped with specialty equipment used to create blends of concrete using zeolite and other additives.
Progressive Planet has partnered with InnoTech Alberta to conduct a comprehensive zeolite efficacy trial using hemp plants, two different grow mediums and four different percentages of zeolite in the grow mediums. As an additional component to the study, the companies sought to determine whether zeolite can conserve water while providing benefits to the plant and soil. Initial results from the trial indicated that zeolite plays a role in improving water conservation in the soil, nutrient retention and flower bud yield. Zeolite is also capable of improving the production of 10 tested cannabinoids in the plant.
Progressive Planet is led by a strong management team that is leading the company’s transition towards developing markets for zeolite and products made from zeolite while seeking to optimize the value of its minority interest in a lithium deposit and its interest in a graphite property. Progressive Planet’s CEO and its advisory board members have over 50 years of combined experience in product and technology development including the procurement of many patents.
The company’s CEO, Steve Harpur, was responsible for designing the first mechanical food de-packaging plant in Western Canada. He is supported by a strong advisory board whose members include:
- Dave Richardson, who has procured over 20 patents and developed a global business in Finished Concrete Forms;
- Earl Jenson, an engineer and senior executive at InnoTech Alberta responsible for developing technology for commercialization; and,
- Quak Lee, a highly qualified chemical engineer with over 15 years of experience in engineering, management and data science.
Progressive Planet Company Highlights
- Three projects in safe and stable jurisdictions in Canada.
- Completed earn in requirements for Z-1 zeolite quarry in Cache Creek, British Columbia.
- Developing markets for zeolite and value-added products containing zeolite.
- Focused R&D program on efficacy of zeolite for use in emerging cannabis production.
- Thousands of stockpiled tonnes of zeolite ready to be trucked to customers.
- Procured facilities within a three-hour drive of the mine to size reduce, dry and store zeolite for shipping to customers as well as to work on value-added products containing zeolite.
- Agreement with the University of Alberta to modify the rheology of its zeolite from the Z-1 Zeolite Quarry
- New NI 43-101 technical report being completed on Thompson Bros. lithium project by Nova Minerals Ltd. (ASX:NVA).
- Results of NI 43-101 are expected to dictate the next steps for Progressive Planet and its majority partner, Nova Minerals.
- Advanced exploration including drill programs have been completed.
- Graphitic carbon intersects of eight meters of 17.70 percent graphitic carbon and 16 meters of 11.90 percent graphitic carbon reported at the Buckingham project.
Z-1 Zeolite Mine
The Z-1 zeolite project is located on a 93-hectare property that is three kilometers away from Cache Creek, British Columbia. The company purchased an option for 100 percent interest in the property from ZMM Canada Minerals Corp. in early 2017, at which time all mining and environmental permits were in place.
In June 2018, Progressive Planet fulfilled its obligation to spend $500,000 on the property and title was transferred in July 2018.
The Z-1 quarry is operated by ZMM Minerals, the previous owners of the property. By September 2017, the company had extracted and crushed 7,100 tonnes of zeolite from a 9,000-ton stockpile, which was screened to various particle sizes and packaged into 658 one-tonne bulk bags ready to be trucked directly to customers, distribution hubs or facilities for further processing. Target customers include the following:
- Producers of bagged soil and other bagged grow mediums.
- University research programs.
- The poultry industry, which sees benefits in animal health (reduced odor and dampness) from using zeolite instead of wood shavings as animal bedding.
- Municipalities – Uses with municipalities include adding zeolite to biosolids in the composting process. Possible future uses may include odor reduction at wastewater treatment plants.
- Concrete products – Progressive Planet believes that zeolite can have a role as a supplementary cementing material (SCM).
In order to earn 100 percent ownership of the property, Progressive Planet spent over $500,000 in mining and purchasing equipment for secondary processing of the mined zeolite. Equipment has been acquired to size reduce, screen, dry and pulverize zeolite into a powder. Additional resources have been allocated to developing zeolite-based products.
In May 2019, Progressive Planet started selling glacial rock dust as a soil amendment. Glacial rock dust contains a broad spectrum of trace minerals, which are often depleted from the soil through modern farming methods. The company received its largest rock dust purchase order to date in August 2019.
“Progressive Planet is pleased to have received an order for 32 metric tonnes of glacial moraine rock dust and this order is being shipped today. We continue to receive requests to supply rock dust and are utilizing an international engineering firm to conduct bond ball mill grindability testing of a locally-sourced glacial moraine rock which was selected for its excellent micronutrient profile. We have also engaged mining engineers to assist in selecting equipment which will enable us to produce more of this product ourselves,” said Harpur.
Research and development in the zeolite market
The company has contracted InnoTech Alberta to determine zeolite’s efficacy for increasing the performance properties of two commercial growing mediums in the cannabis industry. The trial was set up to evaluate zeolite’s efficacy on greenhouse-grown hemp, so as to abide by federal licensing regulations associated with the InnoTech Alberta facility.
As part of the zeolite efficacy trial, InnoTech Alberta evaluated zeolite’s impact on quality, water retention and nutrient retention on two substrates: an organic grow medium and a high-porosity, low-density, peat-based grow medium. As part of the results released in November 2018, the company analyzed the plants for 19 elements, including 10 cannabinoids.
Initial results showed that zeolite performed well in the organic grow medium, improving soil moisture conservation and nutrient retention and improving flower bud yield. It also stimulated the production of all tested cannabinoid compounds.
These positive results led to the commercialization of Z-1 zeolite to licensed Canadian cannabis producers in British Columbia in May 2019. The company intends to provide zeolite in bulk bags to licensed producers as well as collect the denatured cannabis-zeolite blend.
“After spending the last year taking possession of the Z-1 zeolite mine in Cache Creek and building facilities to produce zeolite products for agriculture at the Advanced Materials Centre, I am extremely pleased to see our service offering fill a market need. Before launching this service, we learned that many licensed producers are buying kitty litter at retail prices in small containers (18 liters or less) from box stores and are then sending the denatured product to landfill where all the nutrients in this high-quality organic matter are lost. Our new service keeps organic matter out of landfills where it generates methane and enables licensed producers to eliminate the use of plastic bags,” said Harpur.
Following the trial, Progressive Planet has also procured an option to lease five acres of land neighboring the AMC in Vernon, British Columbia, which would be used for growing strains of industrial hemp outdoors during the growing season. An additional five acres in Salmon Arm, currently belonging to Harpur, are also expected to be utilized for this purpose.
In December 2019, Progressive Planet signed an agreement with the University of Alberta to modify the rheology of its zeolite from the Z-1 Zeolite Quarry so that it possesses similar rheology to commercially-available fly ash. The university is expected to commence work on the project immediately, with a completion date projected for April 30, 2020. The total value of the contract is C$20,000.
Progressive Planet’s Additional Properties
Alongside the Z-1 zeolite mine, Progressive Planet also holds two other projects in Canada. These properties contain lithium and graphite, both of which are used to store energy and are considered battery metals.
Thompson Bros. lithium project
The Thompson Bros. lithium project sits in Wekusko Lake, Manitoba, just 20 kilometers away from Snow Lake and 40 kilometers north of the main highway and railway lines. Covering 1,829 hectares, the property is made up of 18 claims that host a spodumene-rich pegmatite dike with a known strike length of 800 meters, which is still open along strike in both directions. Progressive Planet holds the rights to earn a 20 percent interest in the property. The project is financed by Nova Minerals, who has the option to acquire up to 80 percent of the project.
The Thompson Bros. lithium deposit was first drilled in 1956 and later in 1997, with the exploration programs totaling 30 holes. A historical resource published in 1998 outlined 3.9 million tonnes with a weighted average grade of 1.29 percent lithium oxide at 130 meters of depth and 10 meters of width. Additional historical work concluded that the resource calculation could be up to 4.3 million tonnes at 1.3 percent lithium oxide. The deposit remains open along strike and at depth.
Over the course of 2017, exploration work was conducted on the property, including a series of six drill holes that confirmed the important spodumene mineralization zones on the property. Results from this drill program included 11.6 meters of 1.37 percent lithium oxide and 5.43 meters of 1.55 percent lithium oxide, supporting the historical data.
The company’s project partner, Nova Minerals, announced that approximately 4,800 meters of diamond drilling was completed in 2017 and 2018 which resulted in a maiden JORC-compliant resource in July 2018.
Buckingham graphite property
The Buckingham property is made up of 33 claims covering 1,877 hectares that the company acquired and staked beginning in 2015. It is easily accessible by roads and has easy access to existing resources and infrastructure including the Outaouais electrical substation located seven kilometers away. The property is approximately 85 kilometers south of the Imerys SA (EPA:NK) Lac-des-Îles graphite mine. The property also borders both the Saint Jean Carbon Walker Lump project and Gratomic Inc.’s (TSXV:GRAT) Buckingham property.
The property is known to host two linear and parallel conductors that were first roughly outlined in an EM heliborne survey in 1982. A TDEM heliborne survey further defined the orientation of these two conductors and generated additional strong conductive zones in the property by a previous owner in 2013. The two conductors are identified as follows: to the east, the NNE conductor, which is a strong conductive and magnetic zone extending over one kilometer and oriented 30 to 35 degrees; and a few hundred meters to the west, the ENE conductor, which is a smaller conductive zone extending over 300 meters and oriented 65 degrees to 70 degrees.
Additional exploration works were performed at the southern tip of the NNE conductor and consisted of trenching and channel sampling. Mineralized intercepts of 8.2 percent graphitic carbon over 4.75 meters and 21.6 percent graphitic carbon over 14.5 meters were obtained. In 2015, a 20-kilogram bulk sample was submitted for an initial flotation test and returned 32 percent of the flakes ranging from large to jumbo size with a purity of 94.8 to 96.1 percent.
Since the acquisition of the property, Progressive Planet has conducted exploration programs including prospecting, grab sampling, ground geophysical surveys and drilling. The drilling programs took place across three phases totaling 4,782 meters. While the first phase took place in 2015 and included five holes at the southwest end of the NNE conductor. The second and third phases were conducted in 2016 and tested an additional 500 meters of the NNE conductors and 300 meters of the ENE conductor. The best intersections from the drill programs included 4.07 percent graphitic carbon over 112 meters and 5.18 percent graphitic carbon over 70 meters.
Advanced exploration including drill programs have been completed on the property. Highlights from the drill program include eight meters grading 17.70 percent graphitic carbon and 16 meters grading 11.90 percent graphitic carbon.
Progressive Planet’s Management Team
Stephen Harpur, CPA, CGA—CEO and Chairman
Stephen Harpur is a Chartered Professional Accountant. After graduating from business school, Steve joined Richardson Greenshields in 1993 and spent the next six years as an investment advisor. Since 1993, he has raised equity for many small cap companies, both public and private. He has extensive experience in project management working for both himself and in a management position with a corporate restructuring and insolvency firm. Past projects include the following: the build out of a scalable e-commerce platform in the 2000s for a company that was acquired by and is now part of Fortune 100 company; completion of a 30-unit residential construction project as part of a corporate restructuring; supervision of multiple capital projects at a large composting and anaerobic digestion plant; design and build of the first industrial plant in Western Canada to de-package expired packaged food while recycling the packaging; oversight of two research projects in collaboration with a respected Canadian university to make and then test a potassium phosphate fertilizer through crop trials; and oversight of multiple research projects converting organic wastes into biofuels with co-funding from the National Research Council.
Conrad K. Wagenaar – VP Business Development
Conrad Wagenaar has spent more than seven years growing KMI Zeolite. KMI Zeolite operates a mine in California and a zeolite processing and packaging facility near Pahrump, Nevada. Prior to this, he completed undergraduate degrees in business and computer science as well as an MBA from Queen’s University in 2010. The new position is a permanent part-time position as he remains active with KMI Zeolite which primarily sells to US customers while Progressive Planet is focused primarily on Canadian markets.
Michal Wypych – Chief Operating Officer
Mike Wypych has over 15 years of experience working in the mining industry and possesses both a Mining Engineering degree and an MBA. He has planned and overseen the execution of millions of dollars in projects throughout his career where he has held roles in project management and mine planning. Mike has been employed in the past by large multinational mining organizations and has also performed contract work for the largest cement company in Canada.
Dwayne L Melrose, P.Geo. (QP) – Director
Dwayne Melrose has joined Progressive Planet Solutions Inc. as a Qualified Person (QP) to our Board of Directors. He has over 30 years of experience in the mining industry where he has been very successful in advancing three significant exploration projects towards production.
Early in his career, he was responsible for the design, and evaluation of precious metals in deposits in various geological environments within in Canada, the US, China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Melrose has served on the boards of multi-jurisdictional publicly traded mining companies with interests in precious metals, base metals and Industrial minerals.
Edward Beggs, B.E.S., MSc. — Director
Edward (Ed) Beggs has a background in agriculture, commercial, industrial and agricultural construction sales and project management, international web-based sales and distribution of specialized building and renewable energy products and new product development and sales in the cleantech sector. He obtained a Bachelor of Environmental Studies degree from the University of Waterloo and an M.Sc. in Environment and Management from Royal Roads University, where he has also served as Associate Faculty for over a decade.
Dave Cross, CPA, CGA — CFO
Dave Cross is a CPA, CGA and is currently a partner at Cross Davis & Company LLP Chartered Professional Accountants which provides accounting and consulting services to publicly-traded companies. He has over 21 years of accounting experience and has been a partner of Cross Davis for eight years.
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