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Enertopia Corporation (CNSX:TOP; OTCQB:ENRT) is actively engaged in generating transformative change in the methods for recovery of lithium from brine solutions. The company has partnered with Genesis Water Technologies Inc. (GWT), a U.S.-based water purification company, to evaluate the feasibility of employing water treatment technology to recover lithium from brine in a cost-effective, time-efficient and environmentally-friendly process.
Enertopia’s lithium recovery technology (ENERLET) is nearing the third stage of a multi-phase testing program with phase two results due out in Q1 2017. The results will help determine the location for a planned pilot plant.
Concurrently, Enertopia is exploring a portfolio of three prospective lithium projects in Nevada and reviewing other mineral projects. Nevada is home to the only brine based producing lithium operation in North America as well as Tesla’s Gigafactory 1.
“We see a high potential for opportunity in the lithium space as the cost of the electric drive train reaches parity with the internal combustion engine,” said Robert McAllister, President and CEO of Enertopia. “Similar to what happened in the solar photovoltaic market, the cost of a unit of lithium-ion battery production per kilowatt hour has come down exponentially in the past five to seven years. Once more than $1,000 per kilowatt hour for energy storage capacity, the cost is now below $400 per kilowatt hour. Sometime between 2020 and 2025, the cost to store energy is expected to reach parity with the internal combustion engine, leading to a transformation in demand for electric vehicles. This will mark a major positive turning point in the demand for battery-grade lithium.”
- Positive results from theoretical analysis using GWT process showing the potential economic viability of using ENERLET to extract battery-grade lithium carbonate from brine.
- Results expected in Q1 2017 for Phase 1 bench testing to determine the prime location for a planned Phase 2 bench test and planned 50-gallon per minute ENERLET pilot plant.
- ENERLET plant design offers
- potential fast-track to early production;
- minimized CAPEX and OPEX; and
- scalable operations to meet any brine reservoir size.
- Portfolio of three prospective lithium exploration projects in Nevada, North America’s lithium hub.
ENERLET: Lithium Brine Extraction Technology
Enertopia’s commercialization licensing agreement with Genesis Water Technologies includes the rights to use GWT’s patent-pending technology, and access to management and technical expertise. The license currently covers the United States, Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile, with Enertopia having the option to add other countries in the future. GWT and Enertopia are working to develop a more efficient, low-cost and environmentally-friendly method for recovering lithium.
In 2016, the companies began a multi-phase testing program to evaluate the economic viability of ENERLET. Bypassing the need to build a large stationary lithium carbonate extraction plant or solar evaporation ponds, the technology could generate a quicker path to production at a much lower capital and operating cost. The technology has serious positive environmental attributes as well considering the much smaller environmental footprint for the pilot plant compared to the thousands of acres required by traditional lithium brine extraction processes.
The first phase of evaluating the feasibility of recovering lithium from brine using GWT’s technology is complete. The evaluation included historic data from producing brines in Clayton Valley, Nevada, and oil well brine formation water from the continental United States; lithium values for the samples were 40, 97, 190 and 423 ppm.
This initial testing set out to determine if lithium could be processed from these various chemical compositions and converted into high purity 99.5 percent lithium carbonate using GWT’s technology; and which lithium concentration was the most economically viable.
- Based on a lithium concentration of 100 ppm in brine, the cost (both total CAPEX and OPEX) to recover battery-grade lithium carbonate was estimated to be $5,500/t.
- Based on a lithium concentrations of >400 ppm in brine, the cost to recover battery-grade lithium carbonate potentially drops below $1,800/t.
Phase 2 bench-testing results will lead to pilot plant decision
Now that the initial testing has confirmed the economic feasibility of recovering battery-grade lithium carbonate from brine using ENERLET, Enertopia is now focused on phase two bench-testing to determine the best location and final testing for the construction of a planned 50-gallon per minute pilot plant.
Phase two involves assessing the data from four historic samples, including one data sample from Clayton Valley with lithium values of 190 ppm; oil and gas brine formation water from a United States well source with lithium values of 423 ppm; and two South American salar samples with lithium values of 490 ppm and 580 ppm.
The results are expected out by the end of Q1 2017.
Nevada Lithium Property Portfolio
Enertopia holds a portfolio of three lithium projects totaling 2,560 acres in Nevada’s lithium hub with mining-friendly government policies and excellent access to infrastructure and skilled labor.
Elevated surface lithium samples were reported on these properties in a 1976 U.S. Geological Survey report. All three projects lie in basins which feature a gravity low indicating deep basins for brine accumulation and host lithium-bearing source rocks. Enertopia’s Nevada projects are located in or adjacent to geothermal clusters (heat source for brine fluids) and major Tertiary calderas.
Robert McAllister—President, CEO and Director
Robert McAllister is an experienced investor and corporate communications specialist, with a focus on the mining and oil & gas sectors. Between August 2008 to September 2011, McAllister was involved in the restructuring of a public international oil & gas company, taking the company from zero revenue and in debt to cash flow positive. McAllister has also provided and written business and investment articles from 1996 to 2006 in various North American publications focused on oil & gas and mining companies.
Bal Bhullar CPA, CGA, CRM—Chief Financial Officer and Director
Bal Bhullar has over 23 years of diversified entrepreneurial, financial and risk management experience in both private and public companies in the industries of technology, film, mining, marine, oil & gas, energy, transport, and health and wellness industries. Among some of the areas of experience, she brings expertise in entrepreneurial, financial & strategic planning, operational & risk management, regulatory compliance reporting, business expansion, start-up operations, financial modeling, program development, corporate financing, and corporate governance/internal controls. Bhullar has held various positions as President of BC Risk Management Association of BC, and currently serves as Director and CFO of private and public companies.
Kevin M. Brown—Director
Kevin Brown brings over 15 years of diversified financial and business management experience in private companies, covering the high-tech, mining, and the health and wellness industries.