Pioche Sepiolite Project – Under Sale Option to Tolsa S.A.
The Pioche Sepiolite Project (the “Project”) is located close to the historic mining town of Pioche in Lincoln County, Nevada. It lies within 4km of US Highway 93, from which it can be accessed by a network of 4WD tracks, and 47km from rail at the town of Caliente, Nevada.
The Project was acquired by claim staking and comprises 26 placer mining claims (400 acres) held by Sunrise’s Nevada subsidiary, SR Minerals Inc.
In June 2022 the Company granted Tolsa an exclusive 6-month Option to Purchase the Pioche Project claims for US$1.25 million payable in cash. Tolsa may extend the option for a further 12-month period on payment of US$50,000 and Sunrise to retain a 3% net revenue royalty for a 25-year period from the commencement of commercial production should Tolsa exercise its option.
About the Pioche Sepiolite Project
High grade sepiolite has been identified in three separate outcrops on the claims at the base of a flat lying cap of siliceous dolomite. These deposits are believed to have formed from volcanic ash deposited and weathered in an extensive ancient lake system that once covered the area of the claims and was fed by volcanoes in the surrounding areas.
It is considered likely that the sepiolite bed, which has an as yet undefined thickness, is continuous beneath the silica-dolomite capping but this needs to be confirmed with further exploration, as does the potential for multiple sepiolite bearing beds at depth.
The Company has located outcropping sepiolite in three different locations within the claims. Surface samples from these three localities all assay greater than 88% contained sepiolite and testwork to establish the industrial application of the Pioche sepiolite carried out at Tolsa’s Spanish laboratory has been encouraging.
Sepiolite has unique characteristics, is scarce, and there are very few commercial deposits in the world.
It is a non-swelling, lightweight, porous hydrous magnesium silicate clay. It possesses a high surface area due to channels in the crystal lattice that gives it a structural nano-porosity. Its unusual crystal shape also adds to the internal porosity and gives it a light weight.
Sepiolite’s high surface area and porosity account for sepiolite’s outstanding sorption capacity. Just 20g of sepiolite can have an internal surface area equivalent to that of a football field and sepiolite can absorb more than its weight in water. The largest market globally for sepiolite is for use in light-weight non-clumping pet litters where it has superior properties compared to other clays used in this application.
Sepiolite is also used extensively in agriculture as a slow-release absorbent and adsorbent carrier for chemicals and pesticides and in animal feeds as a binder and carrier for nutrients and growth promoter. It is also used to decolour vegetable and mineral oils.
The unusual crystal shape means that sepiolite is not easily flocculated and so it’s colloidal properties make it useful as a suspending agent in paints, medicines, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
Sepiolite, unlike other clays, is not affected by salt water and so sepiolite drilling muds are used in oil field wells where brine formations are a problem. It is also the only clay that is stable at high temperatures and so is used in drilling muds for geothermal wells.
Sepiolite is usually mined by open pit methods and is processed by drying, grinding and screening and may undergo further treatments and transformations depending on the market.