VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – The Canadian Securities Exchange-listed stock of lithium brines project developer MGX Minerals on Tuesday rallied more than 40% after the company announced it has successfully extracted lithium from heavy oil wastewater.
The company owns a patent pending process for the extraction of lithium and other valuable minerals from heavy oil evaporator blowdown wastewater (EBD), which is one of the by-products of steam assisted gravity drainage, a technique commonly employed during production of heavy oil in Alberta, where MGX has consolidated a sizeable asset base.
According to test results reported by partner PurLucid Treatment Solutions, tests returned a 40% recovery rate for lithium from the EBD. 21% of the total lithium remained in the final brine, which PurLucid believes has a high probability of recovery by further reaction or during a second pass.
The test resulted in the production of crystalised lithium carbonate. The final brine still contained high concentrations of sodium, potassium, and boron indicating where optimisation will focus on, PurLucid said.
The treatment process removed all suspended solids, 99.97% of the hydrocarbons and reduced scale-forming ions such as silica to levels suitable for reuse in steam generating processes, according to the test results.
MGX and PurLucid are working to integrate their respective technologies and develop a pilot plant for commercial use that will treat EBD to provide oil sand producers with environment-friendly disposal options as well as recover valuable minerals such as lithium.
According to MGX, the technology is the first of its kind, reducing production time of lithium from brine by 99%, compared with conventional lithium brine production times that use solar evaporation. Process time is reduced from about 18 months to 1 day using MGX´s process.
MXG’s stock climbed 40.81% on Tuesday to C$0.65 apiece.