Stria Lithium Inc. (TSXV:SRA) is a vertically integrated lithium company with a dual focus on lithium properties and the development of advanced green technology for the production of high purity lithium metal. Moreover, Stria is developing two unique processing technologies for brine and hard rock lithium deposits. Its principal property is the Pontax-Lithium spodumene hard rock deposit in James Bay, Quebec, but it also holds 100 percent ownership of the Willcox Lithium brine deposit in Arizona.
Stria Lithium’s proprietary process for the processing of hard-rock lithium is more efficient and environmentally sustainable than traditional methods, and its brine process uses solvent extraction, ion exchange, and membrane technologies to reduce footprints associated with large evaporation ponds. In June 2014, Stria completed a phase 1 ‘proof of principle’ testing for its hard rock process and is currently moving forward with phase 2 optimization.
- Vertically integrated
- Two 100 percent owned exploration properties in Quebec and Arizona
- New, simplified proprietary processing technologies for both brine and hard rock deposits
- Strategic partnership with Focus Graphite (OTCMKTS:FCSMF,FWB:FKC)
- Strategic alliance with Grafoid
- Poised to take advantage of rapidly growing lithium battery markets
Lithium Processing Technologies
In January 2014, Stria Lithium announced its plans to introduce new proprietary processing technologies to produce high purity lithium metal at a lower cost and in an environmentally sustainable manner. Mr. David Johnson, a co-founder and Director of ALCERECO Inc., a Kingston, Ontario-based advanced materials services company that provides specialty processing capabilities to companies innovating in new and existing markets, was responsible for the development of Stria’s processing technologies.
Hard Rock Spodumene
Stria’s hard-rock process is unique in that it will not use a sulphuric acid solution to process lithium from hard rock spodumene, as in a more widely used process. The process is more efficient, involving fewer controls and less chemistry than other methods.
This proprietary, hard rock process is being developed in house and is unique to Stria Lithium. In June 2014, Stria completed its Phase 1 “proof of principle” development testing for the process, and is now focused on Phase 2 of development, in which it plans to optimize recoveries and reaction kinetics, and finalize the downstream process steps. Phase 2 will also generate data that will be applied when Stria constructs a bench scale pilot plant.
Instead of waste, the Stria’s process results in saleable by-products such as Aluminum Silicate, used in the cement industry and Ferric-Chloride which is used in water treatment purification.
The processing of lithium from brine deposits is normally highly sensitive to elevation and climate conditions. Additionally, evaporation ponds require large footprints, and evaporation processing can take between 18 and 24 months, typically yielding recoveries of only 40-50 percent lithium.
Stria Lithium’s new proprietary technology for the processing of lithium metal from brine deposits builds upon existing technologies, using solvent extraction, ion exchange and membrane technologies, in order to improve the efficiency of lithium extraction from brine deposits. The processing time for lithium is cut down exponentially for Stria’s process, to a matter of hours and days from the more usual weeks and months associated with traditional evaporation ponds.
Wholly owned by Stria, the Pontax-lithium property is located in the west-central James Bay territory in northern Quebec and consists of 70 contiguous map-designated cells for a total surface area of 3,718.84 hectares. Stria acquired the property from Khalkos Exploration Inc. in 2013.
The Pontax property hosts a swarm of twelve spodumene-bearing pegmatite dikes, with each dyke measuring one metre to ten metres in thickness, in addition to a series of small centimetre-thick dikelets. The lithium-bearing dikes outcrop over an area of 450 metres by 100 metres.
The Main zone at the property is open both laterally and at depth. Currently, the known extent and grade of the pegmatite swarm is comparable to other lithium projects that are under advanced exploration in the James Bay area, known for lithium occurrences.
Notably, the property is located in close proximity to existing infrastructure including the James Bay Road (Route 109), a 735 KV power line and Chambois lake, which is suitable for seaplane landing.
In the second quarter of 2014, Stria completed Phase 1 of its metallurgical testing program, and will continue with pilot plant testing in Phase 2 of the program during the second half of 2014. The company will also conduct a follow-up exploration program in the latter half of the year.
Also 100 percent owned by Stria, the Willcox Lithium project is located in Cochise County, Arizona, 120 km east of Tucson, and is comprised of 61 lode mining claims. The Willcox Playa, a barren flat, was acquired through the purchase of Pueblo Lithium LLC from AGR-O Phosphate Inc. in 2014.
The area has been known for its lithium brine content since 1978, as Willcox Playa was part of the U.S. Geological Survey’s 1978 drill program for the testing of lithium distributions in the late Cenozoic sedimentary basin.
At Willcox, Stria will aim to extract lithium in a way that eliminates the massive and unsightly evaporation ponds normally associated with lithium brine operations. Using solvent extraction and membranes, Stria’s new proprietary extraction method will minimize disturbance to the aquifer, and will prove to be a more economic and environmentally efficient process.
During 2014 and 2015, Stria plans to validate the findings of the USGS at Willcox Playa, and will test its proprietary process for recovering lithium from solvent. In June 2014, Stria commenced its summer exploration drill program at Willcox.
Strategic Partnership with Focus Graphite (OTCMKTS:FCSMF,FWB:FKC) and Grafoid
In light of rising demand for lithium ion batteries from the consumer electronics and electric vehicle industries, Stria Lithium will operate as part of a strategic partnership with Focus Graphite and Grafoid to create an attractive supply package for end users.
In November 2012, Grafoid entered into a 50 percent long-term agreement with Hydro-Quebec’s research institute IREQ to develop a quick-charge, long-life MesoGraf™ lithium iron phosphate (MLFP) battery for the consumer electronics and electric vehicle markets. Since lithium iron phosphate appears to offer the best safety, lifespan and cost balance at a reasonable performance, Stria, Focus, and Grafoid are confident that LFP could set the global standard for lithium batteries. Patents are currently being filed with regards to this project.
Stria Lithium is rapidly advancing its proprietary lithium processing technologies alongside development at its 100 percent owned Pontax and Willcox exploration properties. Its new processes are more environmentally friendly and efficient than traditional recovery methods, and although these methods are geared towards the production of high purity lithium metal, they may be easily adapted to produce other lithium compounds such as lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide.
With its strategic partnerships with Focus Graphite and Grafoid, Stria Lithium will aim to be part of an attractive package for the supply of materials needed for the production of lithium ion batteries for end-users. Specifically, in November 2012, Grafoid entered a 50/50 long-term agreement with long-life MesoGraf™ lithium iron phosphate (MLFP) battery. Stria and Focus Graphite will work together through Grafoid to develop an improved lithium ion battery for the consumer electronics and electric vehicle markets.
Gary Economo – CEO
Gary Economo has a distinguished business leadership career, serving as CEO for a number of public and private high technology companies during the last 20 years. A former President and CEO of Dynasty Components Inc., Mr. Economo enjoys a long history of graphite marketing and sales for high-tech applications. He is also currently CEO of Focus Graphite, a company he founded with Jeffrey York.
Over the span of his business career, Mr. Economo provided strategic consulting and representation services to technology companies in North America and Asia. In particular, he has a track record of success and expertise in building shareholder value when tasked with bringing discovery companies to market.
Born in Greece and raised in Montreal, Mr. Economo is tri-lingual and lives with his family in Ottawa.
Julien Davy – President and COO
Mr. Davy, who joined Stria Capital in January 2014, began his career in exploration during summer 1996 as geologist for copper properties in the Gaspésie region. Since then, he has worked in Canada and abroad on numerous exploration or advanced projects in project evaluation for acquisitions and for mining investments.
Along with his role as President and COO, Mr. Davy is Stria’s Qualified Person under NI 43-101.
Prior to joining Stria, Mr. Davy was Senior Geologist, Canada Exploration for Osisko Mining Corporation; Investment Adviser, SIDEX s.e.c of Montreal; Senior Geologist, Niogold Mining Corporation, Val- d’Or, Quebec; Advising Geologist, InnovExplo, also of Val-d D’Or and served as a project and managing geologist with Hecla de Venezuela, Cambior Exploration Canada; Anglo-American Exploration and with the Quebec Department of Natural Resources.
A member of the Ordre des Géologues du Québec (OGQ), Mr. Davy received his Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from HEC Montréal, his Masters Degree in Earth Sciences (M.Sc, Geo) from the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM), and his Bachelors Degree in Geology from UQAM.
Judith Mazvihwa-MacLean – Chief Financial Officer and Secretary
Judith Mazvihwa-MacLean is a geologist and accountant with more than 16 years of experience in mineral exploration, mining, management and corporate finance. She is also currently CFO of Focus Graphite.
Prior to joining Focus Graphite, Ms. Mazvihwa-MacLean was the CFO for Golden Harp Resources Ltd., Logan Resources Ltd., and Acme Resources Ltd (formerly, International KRL Resources Corp.). She also served as a member of the Board for both Logan Resources Ltd., and Acme Resources Ltd.
Ms.Mazvihwa-MacLean has a significant academic background. She holds a B.Sc. (Geology) from the University of Zimbabwe, a M.Sc. from Brunel University in England and earned her MBA at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. She was accredited a Certified Management Accountant by the Certified Management Accountants Society of British Columbia.