Canada has partnered with the United States and other countries to secure the supply of critical raw materials that will fuel the green energy transition. The Minerals Security Partnership (MSP), which was announced last week at the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention, aims to bolster critical minerals supply chains to counter China’s dominance in the sector. The Minerals Security Partnership, in addition to Canada and the US, includes Australia, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Sweden, the UK and the European Commission. According to the World Bank, production of minerals such as lithium, graphite, and cobalt could increase by nearly 500% by 2050 to meet the growing demand for clean energy technologies. As a result, lithium producers such as E3 Lithium (TSXV:ETMC) (OTCQX:EEMMF), Lithium Americas Corp (TSX:LAC) (NYSE:LAC), Albemarle Corporation (NYSE:ALB), Standard Lithium Ltd. (TSXV:SLI) (NYSEAmerican:SLI), and Lake Resources (OTC:LLKKF) will have to increase their lithium production to meet demand.
E3 Lithium (TSXV:ETMC) (OTCQX:EEMMF) is a lithium technology and resource company focused on powering the growing electric revolution. On June 23, the company announced a monumental strategic agreement with one of the largest global oil companies, Imperial Oil, to advance a lithium-extraction pilot in Alberta. E3 Lithium is exploring the redevelopment of a historic oil field into a potential new leading source of lithium for Canada’s growing critical minerals industry.
The pilot will support E3 Lithium’s Clearwater project, which will draw lithium from under the Leduc oil field, Imperial’s historic discovery that first launched major oil and gas development in Western Canada. E3 Lithium’s proprietary technology is designed to extract the critical mineral from the lithium-rich brine, with potential for commercial development of battery-grade products.
“E3 Lithium and Imperial share an interest in the diversification of the Alberta economy, local job creation and sustainability,” said Chris Doornbos, CEO of E3 Lithium. “Leduc No.1, Imperial’s first well into this reservoir, was one of Imperial’s most prolific oil discoveries in Alberta and transformed the provincial and Canadian economies, much like lithium has the potential to do. Having Imperial now working with E3 Lithium in exploring the redevelopment of Leduc into a world-class source of lithium is an exciting new chapter in Alberta and Canada’s story.”
The pilot project includes drilling Alberta’s first lithium evaluation wells, which are expected to be complete by the end of Q3 2022. The work will also focus on scaling up E3 Lithium’s proprietary Direct Lithium Extraction technology, which brings the brine to the surface where the lithium is removed and concentrated. The lithium-void brine is returned underground as part of a closed-loop system. According to E3 Lithium’s Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA), the first phase of development could produce about 20,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide per year.
Under the agreement, E3 Lithium will continue to operate the Clearwater project and retain its IP, while Imperial will provide technical and development support. The agreement will also offer E3 Lithium access to freehold lands in the area that Imperial operates, helping further establish the company’s already dominant land position in the area. It also completes a strategic, large and contiguous land block, creating long-term certainty on a development framework for the project.
Earlier this month, E3 Lithium announced it has obtained its license for the first brine production wells in Alberta for the purpose of evaluating lithium. The company anticipates the start of drilling to take place before the end of June and expects to complete the drilling operation by mid-July.
The brine production well will provide critical data such as brine chemistry, lithium concentrations, and reservoir characteristics of the Clearwater Project area. E3 Lithium will use the collected data to support the upgrade of its resource to Indicated and Measured, which will serve as the basis for a Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS). The objective of the planned drill program is to provide additional data to the Aquifer Management Plan and help define the commercial production network area. The company plans to complete and test a total of three wells.
For more information about E3 Lithium (TSXV:ETMC) (OTCQX:EEMMF), click here.
Lithium Developers Are Entering Into Strategic Agreements
Lithium Americas Corp (TSX:LAC) (NYSE:LAC) entered a Pastos Grandes Technical Collaboration Agreement with Arena Minerals Inc. The objective of the Collaboration Agreement is to share technical information and explore opportunities for collaborating on potential development alternatives with the overall objective of optimizing the production profile of the Pastos Grandes basin. As of March 31, Lithium Americas had $492 million in cash and cash equivalents with additional available credit of $75 million. On April 28, 2022, the company entered into an agreement to acquire shares of Green Technology Metals Limited, a North American lithium exploration and development company with hard rock spodumene assets in the north-western Ontario, Canada, in a private placement for a total consideration of $10 million, or approximately 5% after the closing of the equity offering.
Global specialty chemicals industry leader Albemarle Corporation (NYSE:ALB) just released its annual global sustainability report, highlighting advancements on new and existing targets. According to the report, the company is on track to meet its existing sustainability targets for GHG emissions and freshwater intensity. Albemarle also announced its initial assessment of scope 3 emissions, including areas like purchased goods and services, processing and use of sold products and end-of-life treatment of sold products. The company said that it will continue to refine its assessment in the coming years and use the initial assessment to work with customers and suppliers to reduce GHG emissions across the supply chain.
On May 12, Standard Lithium Ltd. (TSXV:SLI) (NYSEAmerican:SLI), an innovative lithium project development and technology company, announced a $2.5 million equity investment in Aqualung Carbon Capture AS, a leader in carbon capture technology. Standard Lithium‘s investment was part of a $10 million strategic funding round by Aqualung. The carbon capture pilot project is being developed in conjunction with Aqualung and will be installed at a natural gas processing site in southern Arkansas. The design and manufacture of the pilot unit are underway and deployment to the site is scheduled for the third quarter of this year.
Clean lithium developer Lake Resources (OTC:LLKKF) and Ford Motor Company signed in April a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to negotiate lithium offtake from the Kachi project. The offtake proposal is for approximately 25,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of lithium from the Kachi Project. The strategic collaboration between Ford and Lake Resources will support the collaboration with Hanwa to fully develop a clean lithium supply chain to meet the global environmental demands for electric vehicles. Lake Resources’ Chairman Stu Crow said project finance is increasingly tied to ESG credentials and that investors, creditors, buyers, and their customers demand that new lithium projects adhere to strict ESG standards.
Based in Alberta, E3 Lithium is developing a globally significant lithium resource on the backbone of the mature and sophisticated oil and gas industry. Its significant resource, coupled with its proprietary Direct Lithium Extraction technology, positions E3 Lithium to be the leading producer of EV-ready lithium in Canada.