MGXMinerals (CNSX:XMG) (OTCMKTS:MGXMF) (FRA:1MG) CEO Jared Lazerson discusses his company’s patent filing for a process that aims to produce commercial quantities of lithium from hydrocarbon disposal wells and active natural gas wells in Alberta.
James West: Jared, let’s start with an overview of the patent that governs your lithium processing technology.
Jared Lazerson: Last week we filed a U.S. provisional patent which preserves the rights globally for one year, during which time we can determine which countries are relevant to apply for full patent protection. In effect, that will give us 20 years of exclusivity to our rapid production process for the extraction of lithium from salt brine, effectively giving us a monopoly over rapid production and oilfields.
James West: OK. Conceptually now, what is the target rate of processing that you hope to achieve on a per-cubic-metre-of-water basis, and also on an annual production of lithium basis?
Jared Lazerson: Basically we’re targeting blocks of million barrels per day equivalent, and this would be the equivalent to a large producing natural gas or oilfield.
The key with the patent and with the technology is that it eliminates the solar evaporation process common in brine. There are no other technologies out there at this time that reduce or eliminate this evaporation process. So it traditionally takes 18 months in South America, where in the desert in Nevada, we’ve now reduced potentially down to a single day. This is really what the patent and the cornerstone of the patent is, that this is a rapid production process, also allowing us to scale up and scale down as market opportunities present themselves.
James West: So now, is this process based on membrane filtration, or is it based on rapid evaporation, or chemical reagent reaction? What is the nature of the process?
Jared Lazerson: Well, the short answer is, all of the above. We’ve just introduced through an acquisition agreement with PurLucid Treatment Solutions. They have their own patented nano-flotation and filtration technologies. One of the key technologies that they control is a membrane technology that allows for – basically what they do is, they specialized in coatings. So what can happen with traditional membranes is that they clog up. Well, this technology that PurLucid has allows for an exchanging of the filters, but instead of replacing the filter itself, essentially a coating is replaced, almost like a wax paper or a filter on the filter itself, which allows for a much, much more efficient process. That’s patented, that’s on the front end. That part of the pilot plant is now complete, so the nano-flotation removes the heavy metals, the oil, the colloids, in addition to the membrane filtration; and then it goes into the rapid evaporation process that you mentioned, which utilizes both thermal energy in terms of evaporation, as well as chemical reagents in order to crystallize the various minerals.
James West: Great. How soon do you plan to start that commercial level of production, where you’re actually producing 15,000 tonnes per year of lithium carbonate from one million barrels of oil per day?
Jared Lazerson: Sure. That would be a 2018 goal. We’re looking for initial commercial production as early as June of 2017, and then we will ramp from there. The solution is modular and scalable. So when we talk about these large targets, for example, one million barrels per day, that wouldn’t start out as a million barrels a day; that might start out as 100,000 barrels a day, or even a smaller type unit, to allow us to generate cash flow and not have to constantly be in a capital trap where we constantly have to raise or borrow money for each unit, but that each unit essentially pays for the next unit. That’s the plan to get to the initial million barrels a day.
There’s a number of locations that would support that throughout North America.
James West: Fascinating, Jared. Let’s leave it there for now; we’ll come back to you in a short while and see how you’re making out. Thanks for joining us.