Tar Sands/Oil Sands Could Be New Lithium Source for Battery-Makers
Lithium-ion battery manufacturers may soon be sourcing raw materials from an unexpected source, after Vancouver-based MGX Minerals Inc. became Canada’s biggest producer of lithium brine.
“The Vancouver-based junior mining outfit has developed technology to extract lithium and other minerals from oil well wastewater—produced in increasing volumes as wells age—which is otherwise injected into disposal wells,” JWN Energy reports. “The company plans to have a pilot plant operating by February and should be in commercial production by next summer.”
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Growing demand from battery producers makes lithium a “prized commodity”, JWN notes. MGX patented its extraction process in November, based in part on methods from the potash industry and expertise developed by Suncor in the tar sands/oil sands.
“MGX’s mineral crystallization technology does in a day what lithium production plants in South America, which are based on solar extraction, take up to 18 months to accomplish, with higher recovery factors,” JWN states.
“We focused on the evaporation component and developing an industrial process that would combine the evaporation and processing with very high recoveries,” said MGX President and CEO Jared Lazerson. “Nobody else has done this before. I feel we are at the cutting edge of the technology, and probably at least a year ahead of everybody else.”