E3 releases PFS, reserve estimate for Alberta lithium project

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E3 Lithium Ltd.  [ETL-TSXV, EEMMF-OTC, OU7A-FSE] CEO Chris Doornbos said a pre-feasibility (PFS) study for the company’s Clearwater Project has outlined for the first time the viability of producing lithium from brines in Alberta.

“This report signifies a fundamental shift for E3 Lithium setting us on a clear pathway to commercial development and positions the Clearwater Project and Bashaw District as a strategic lithium asset in Canada and North America,’’ he said.

E3 is a company that sees opportunity in Alberta’s depleted oil and gas reserves. E3 has developed Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) technology that aims to extract lithium from brine in old oil wells. The company’s goal is to commercialize its global-scale lithium resource and deliver zero carbon emissions, battery grade, lithium products to the growing electric vehicle supply chain.

The company said the PFS outlines the Clearwater Project’s economic viability, environmental sustainability and long-term operational potential, and reports Canada’s first lithium-in-brine proven mineral reserve. The completion of the PFS incorporates 12 months of engineering and design work and includes the data and learnings from the successful 2023 DLE field pilot plant, as well as the in-house verification testing.

The PFS envisages initial production of 32,250 tonnes per year of Lithium Hydroxide Monohydrate (LHM) as well as an operating life of 50 years that covers only a portion of the Bashaw District in which the project is located.

The PFS is based on 1.29 million tonnes of LHM proven and probable lithium mineral reserves (1.14 million tonnes of Lithium Carbonate Equivalent LCE) from the total Bashaw District of 18.4 million tonnes of LHM measured and indicated resources of 16.2 million tonnes LCE located in the Leduc Reservoir.

The study envisages initial capital spending of $2.47 billion including water recycling and contingency. Initial operating costs are estimated at $6,200 per tonne LHM, a figure that provides for a long life and robust project fundamentals.

The company said a detailed flow sheet outlines a lithium chloride produced from a DLE system and further purified and concentrated. A two-stage chemical conversion process first produces lithium carbonate and then battery quality lithium hydroxide. Critical to sustainability is implementing practises to minimize environmental impact associated with lithium production, the company said in a press release.

ON Thursday, E3 shares eased 1.35% or $0.02 to $1.46. The shares trade in a 52-week range of $5.72 and $1.36.

The company said the Clearwater Project will be strategically located within an approximate 10- kilometre radius of essential infrastructure, including power and roads, to minimize expenses related to infrastructure development. The project is within 2.0 kilometres of a major highway, ensuring year-round access.

E3 is positioned to meet global demand for lithium after being awarded $27 million from the government of Canada’s Strategic Investment Fund in 2022. The company also executed a US$5 million strategic agreement with Imperial Oil Ltd. [IMO-TSX], representing the first investment in lithium from a global energy industry leader.

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