The Sturgeon Lake Project is located in the Fox Creek area of west-central Alberta approximately 85 kilometers east of the city of Grande Prairie. The project consists of 15 contiguous Industrial and Metallic Mineral Permits encompassing over 132,000 hectares.
The permits overlie the Sturgeon Lake oilfield, which has been producing hydrocarbons since the mid-1950s from the Devonian Leduc Formation. Metallic mineralization on the property consists of lithium-enriched formation water, or brine, that is hosted in aquifers within Devonian Leduc Formation carbonate reef complexes.
Devonian-aged wells at Sturgeon Lake produce excessive amounts of brine in comparison to petroleum due to the mature nature of the oilfield where increased pumping is required to produce crude oil.
The brine is considered a waste product as it is presently treated to separate and remove petroleum and then reinjected back down into subsurface formations. It is conceivable that existing water processing procedures could be modified to extract lithium and other elements from the Leduc Formation aquifer system brine. New technologies require testing and may or may not extract all or a portion of the elements of interest.
Historical 1990’s to 2010’s government studies reported that brine geochemical fluid data from the Devonian aquifers associated with the Leduc Formation have anomalous values of lithium (e.g., greater than 75 mg/L and up to 140 mg/L lithium) along with other elements (e.g., potassium; boron; and bromine).
In 2011, Lithium Exploration Group Inc. sampled and analyzed brine from 60 separate wells within the Sturgeon Lake oilfield (and within the boundaries of the permit area acquired by MGX). Of the 62 brine samples collected, 47 were collected from the Leduc Formation. Other samples included brine from: Mississippian (1 sample from Banff), Triassic (11 samples from Montney, Spray River and undefined), Jurassic (1 sample from Nordegg) and Cretaceous (2 samples from Wapiabi, Gething) strata.
The analytical results showed that the Devonian Leduc aquifer contains brine that is significantly enriched in lithium in comparison to the Triassic to Cretaceous brine. Lithium Exploration Group Inc. reported that the Leduc Formation brine from the Sturgeon Lake oilfield contained up to:
- 83.7 mg/L lithium (average 67 mg/L lithium);
- 6,470 mg/L potassium (average 4,641 mg/L potassium);
- 137 mg/L boron (average 114 mg/L boron); and
- 394 mg/L bromine (average 394 mg/L bromine);
These values supported and confirmed the government published lithium-enriched formation waters within the boundaries of the Sturgeon Lake Property. Lithium Exploration Group Inc.’s historical brine sampling and chemical analysis, which was overseen by APEX Geoscience Ltd., was conducted by Maxxam Environmental (“Maxxam”) of Edmonton, Alberta. Maxxam is an accredited laboratory with the Standards Council of Canada (Laboratory No. 160; valid to 2019-03- 06) and with the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation (Membership No. 2996; valid to 2017-06- 08), where Maxxam’s standard conforms to requirements of ISO.IEC 17025.