The Taron Cesium Project, Salta Province, Argentina
On May 26th the Company completed drilling 35 holes totalling 2,580 metres. This includes two core holes totalling 156 metres that were drilled on a known silver-cesium showing in the north east segment of the property that assayed highly anomalous silver geochemistry.
The Taron drill program generated 1,290 samples. The two drill holes in the silver-cesium zone generated an additional 76 core samples.
All samples were shipped to the Bureau Veritas assay laboratory in Mendoza for preparation and then shipped to the Vancouver assay laboratory of Bureau Veritas. The last 4 core holes (32, 33, 34, and 35) were shipped from the Taron camp to Salta on May 25th and to Mendoza on May 26th. The property was visited by Ron Simpson of GeoSim Services Inc., on May 20th and 21st. Ron Simpson is the independent Qualified Person for the Taron project.
The Company will be completing the Taron NI 43-101 as soon as all assays are received and compiled and then will issue a news release with a summary. Ron Simpson of the GeoSim Services Inc Technical Report will be the author of the report.
Cesium (chemical symbol Cs) is a rare metal best known for its extreme chemical reactivity. Cesium hydroxide forms the start point of myriad end uses, including cesium formate (CsCHO2). The oil and gas drilling and well completion businesses are all migrating to alkaline formate fluids but the industries’ premium drilling and completion fluid is cesium formate. Cesium Formate is an environmentally benign solution with a high-density (density 2.2) and low-viscosity used to control formation pressures, temperatures and corrosion in drilling of deep oil wells. As a dense medium, cesium formate is also used to separate DNA, in metallurgical testing, and is also well known for artificially produced radioactive isotopes used to treat various types of cancer. Cesium compounds and chemicals are used in photo-emissive devices, experimental magneto-hydrodynamic electricity generation, atomic clocks for telecommunications and GPS navigation systems, catalysts in plastic manufacturing, specialty glasses, ion propulsion rocket motors, high-density alkaline batteries, coatings for solar cells, petroleum refining and in food preparation. Research continues to generate new applications for cesium compounds. Cesium is a critical metal in many industrial and pharmaceutical applications. It is critical as there in no known substitute for it and its unique and valuable properties.
The Cesium Supply Chain
Cabot Corporation is one of two companies that are supplying cesium to the global market from their Tanco Mine in Manitoba, Canada. The other supplier, Bikita Minerals (PVT) Ltd., is in Zimbabwe, and it ships cesium minerals to China for further processing by Rockwood International (Albemarle). Cascadero understands that Bikita and Tanco are mining their stock piles and both mines are having issues with finding new and mineable reserves. The Tanco Mine is presently mining pollucite on a restricted low-volume basis. Anecdotal information from industry sources suggests that the Bikita Mine has 2 - 3 years of reserves left in stockpile and no further resources were discovered after a brown field drill program.
In its annual report of 2016, Cabot issued the following statement regarding the situation at the Tanco Mine: “ However, the structural stability may change at any time and there is a possibility of deterioration and flooding of this mine. While we have not mined at our mine in Manitoba since we completed a development project at that site in November 2015, we may resume those mining operations in the future. The failure to adequately manage these risks could result in significant personal injury, loss of life, damage to mineral properties, production facilities or mining equipment, damage to the environment, delays in or reduced production, and potential legal liabilities.”
Tanco also released information that it would service preferred customers and in April of this year a Cabot Corp news release stated:
“Effective April 12, 2017, or as contracts allow, Cabot Corporation will increase prices by up to 18 percent for its fine cesium chemicals product portfolio. Demand for Cabot’s fine cesium chemicals products increased in late 2016 and has continued into 2017. This price adjustment is required to support ongoing investments in Cabot’s fine cesium chemicals manufacturing facility co-located with its mining operations in Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba, Canada. The increase will also help to ensure Cabot remains a reliable, long-term supplier of high quality cesium products, and continues to deliver exceptional support to its customers.”
The global cesium fine chemical market represents 25% of global cesium consumption with drilling fluids accounting for the balance of 75%. It is unclear if the price increase was initiated for reasons of supply reserve constraints or Cabot is increasing its gross margin to benefit the Company which is a historically a low-margin industrial commodity supplier. However, this price increase will likely endure, and further price increases may be coming in a market that is currently experiencing low demand for cesium specialty fluids. The fine chemical business is a high-margin business but has a different business model than that of cesium formate drilling fluid. In the former case, the fine chemical products are sold and appear to be consumed with no recyclable ability, with the possible exception of cesium catalysts. In contrast, the specialty fluid products can be recycled, be reconstituted, and leased out repeatedly. The cost of down hole fluid losses must be made up by the drilling companies.
Cascadero’s Taron Objectives
At Taron, the objective is to develop a mineable Cesium resource with the end objective to produce cesium hydroxide, which is the core cesium compound that is the substrate of all other cesium products. Making cesium formate is probably the single largest volume use of cesium hydroxide and the company has already demonstrated and patented these abilities (see News Release of November 30, 2015). The Taron Cesium deposit remains as the main focus of the Company’s work.
The Company has retained Ron Simpson, P.Geo of GeoSim Services Inc. who will act as the Independent Qualified Person (QP) for the program and preparing a Taron NI 43-101 Technical Report.
This News Release has been read the technical content approved of, by D.L. Trueman, Ph.D, P.Geo, the qualified person for the Taron project.
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