Read the Beforeitsnews.com story here. Advertise at Before It's News here.
Profile image
By Oil and Gas Investments (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views
Now:
Last Hour:
Last 24 Hours:
Total:

Brine Plays Heat Up in Nuclear Winter for Lithium Juniors

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.


By Alex Grant

It’s still a nuclear winter for junior lithium stocks—especially for the South American salar (evaporation) projects—but a very different kind of project has been heating up in North America.

Surprisingly, they are deep, hot brine plays, which didn’t get much attention during the lithium bull run of 2016-2017. Investors were much more focused on high altitude, shallow salars in South America or hard rock spodumene in Australia and Africa.

E3 Metals Corp. (ETMC-TSXv) with a 6.7Mt LCE lithium brine resource in the middle of the Alberta oilpatch, announced in September an up to $US 5.5M investment by Livent, one of the world’s largest lithium producers and a technology leader in the industry.

Standard Lithium (SLL-TSXv) is starting up a demonstration plant in southern Arkansas to extract lithium from an already flowing brine producing bromine, and they announced in October a $US 3.75 million convertible loan from Lanxess (LXS-ETR, LNXSF-OTC), their German chemical partner who operates the plant.

“We are excited to have Livent’s technical expertise on board. Their expertise with E3 will move this project towards construction faster than many other options. Their lithium development group are leaders in the space.  This is really like building a development arm to our company for no cost,” says E3 CEO Chris Doornbos.

Brine technology is new, whereas evaporating lithium out of salars is a 12th century technology.  Investors are always leery of new processes in mining. Also, both E3 and Standard Lithium were early stage plays in the lithium bull run of 2016-2017—another hurdle for investors.

But brines—also called DLE—Direct Lithium Extraction—arguably have three advantages over the more traditional high-elevation salars—speed, scale and simplicity.  That could account for why they are getting funded while the more traditional salar projects languish.

“We’ve developed a process specific for our project that extracts lithium from the brine in minutes,” says Andy Robinson, COO of Standard Lithium.  “We’ve kept it simple, proven the process and now we’re demonstrating to our partner and to the industry that it can be taken to the commercial scale.”

Compare that to salars, where lithium has to sit in large evaporation ponds for 18 months before processing starts.

E3 Metals CEO Chris Doornbos speaks to the scale and simplicity of using brines:  “The processing of brines is way simpler. With hard rock or clays, you have to mine it, upgrade it, roast it in some cases, and then leach it to make a sulfate stream. We already have our lithium in solution as a brine.

“This project looks just like an oil operation–which is the industry in Alberta—right up to the chemical plant.  The brine gets pumped up like oil.

“We can move massive quantities of brine easily here to produce large quantities of lithium from this very big resource. That’s why for this project, the grade is less important.”

Besides speed, scale and simplicity, the Alberta and Arkansas lithium brines are different in several ways technically from the more well-known South American salar-type brines.

  1. Brines are much deeper in the Earth (thousands of feet vs. hundreds of feet),
  2. Brines can have many more impurities
  3. Brines have lower lithium concentrations.

DLE processes recycle most of the water, take up very little space, and are not dependent on the weather to work properly like evaporation ponds are. A schematic for how these processes work is shown in Figure 1.

1

DLE lithium is attracting big interest from European brokerage firms.  Deutsche Bank issued a report on Lanxess in July 2019 saying that if Standard Lithium’s process works commercially, Lanxess’ 50% of the profits is worth five euros to their share price—or 415 million euros.

Standard’s preliminary economic assessment (PEA) estimates their process will have an OPEX near $4,400/tLi2CO3, which is competitive with other major brine projects and much cheaper than making lithium from hard rock resources like spodumene.

“Lithium projects are incredibly challenging to build, and the track record of the industry is poor,” says Robert Mintak, CEO of Standard Lithium.

“A developer like ourselves would have a hard time convincing investors and off take customers that we could do this ourselves. Our partners Lanxess operate over 70 chemical plants globally. They have access to cheaper capital and have a global buying power for reagent and power contracts that we would NOT be able to match.”

Lithium prices peaked in late 2017, and have sloping steadily down ever since.  It has been caused by a temporary oversupply of spodumene concentrate that has negatively impacted the price of lithium chemical products on the China spot market.

2

That has closed the equity window for juniors to raise capital.  Big lithium producers like Albemarle (ALB-NYSE) have seen their stock prices drop 50%, but the juniors have dropped 75-90%–and couldn’t raise a nickel right now.

That’s what makes these two industry investments unique—nobody else in the junior lithium space is able to attract capital, and may never if lithium brine gets commercialized with these two large industry partners, Livent and Lanxess.

But even if the junior market returns, things have changed in what is called “The Golden Triangle” of lithium, high up in the Atacama Desert on the Chile/Argentine border.

Argentina is suffering another currency crisis, has re-elected a government perceived to be hostile to business, and recently imposed a “surprise” export duty on lithium products that is scheduled to sunset, but no one expects that to happen.

Chile is experiencing a series of large, violent protests that have literally blocked the roads to the Salar de Atacama, one of the most important lithium producing resources in the world. These factors don’t mean South America is a total “write-off” but it has given investors reasonable reservations about the region and elevated attention to other jurisdictions.

Mintak commented, “When we started Standard Lithium in 2017 we looked at the entire landscape with a process that considered, resource, permitting, infrastructure, work force, geographic and geopolitical risk.
Arkansas came back as the absolute winner.”

It would be hard to make most of those arguments for the Argentine Andes.

In conclusion, both E3 Metals and Standard Lithium:

  1. Are located in North America,
  2. Have arranged partnerships with large chemical companies
  3. Developed DLE technologies that unlock their brines for economic lithium extraction that don’t require evaporation ponds and are expected to require minimal freshwater and space.
  4. Are brownfield projects that take advantage of already flowing brine or already drilled wells to produce lithium from brines known to other industries but not previously considered to be a relevant source of the metal.
  5. Located in regions with lots of industrial infrastructure and skilled workforce who are familiar with extractive and chemical industries.

It’s still a nuclear winter for most lithium juniors, but hot brine has created a spring thaw for two of them.

3

Standard Lithium’s DLE Demo Plant installation at Lanxess south plant underway picture taken Oct 31 2019

Alex Grant is CEO & Principal of Jade Cove Partners, a lithium technology advisory firm based in San Francisco, California. He co-founded Lilac Solutions, one of the world’s leading direct lithium extraction technology companies and is now an independent advisor for multiple lithium projects around the world that seek to implement advanced technologies for production of battery quality lithium chemical products from unconventional resources. He has a B.Eng. from McGill University in Canada, and a M.S. from Northwestern University in the USA.



[[T_F]]Data Leak Prevention – Data Security Solutions – Information Theft Protection, Detection and Prevention Software Productstracefusion_signature=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[[T_F]]

Copyright © 2011
This feed is for personal, non-commercial use only.
The use of this feed on other websites breaches copyright unless you have written permission from Keith Schaefer of Oil and Gas bulletin to republish. If this content is not in your news reader, it makes the page you are viewing an infringement of the copyright. (Digital Fingerprint:
3r5723475234957asdgvaisduthadsfg)



Source: https://oilandgas-investments.com/2019/latest-reports/brine-plays-heat-up-in-nuclear-winter-for-lithium-juniors/
Before It’s News® is a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.

Anyone can join.
Anyone can contribute.
Anyone can become informed about their world.

"United We Stand" Click Here To Create Your Personal Citizen Journalist Account Today, Be Sure To Invite Your Friends.

Please Help Support BeforeitsNews by trying our Natural Health Products below!

Join our affiliate program and earn extra money by sharing with friends and family or by posting on your social media.

Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at www.mitocopper.com


Get our Free Ebook, "Suppressed Health Secrets"  with  Natural Cures THEY don't want you to know!

APeX - Far superior to colloidal silver! Destroys Viruses, Bacteria, Pathogens with Oxygen plus Silver!

Supreme Fulvic - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!

Ultimate Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.

MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy. (See Blood Video)
Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser!  Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen! 
Organic Hemp Extract (CBD) - Full Spectrum high CBD (3300mg) hemp extract eases stiff joints, relieves stress and more!
Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.
Smart Meter Cover -  Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%!  (See Video)


FINAL WARNING!  Diseases are EXPLODING!  Watch this Video about APeX and You'll THROW AWAY Your Colloidal Silver!  APeX destroys Viruses, Bacteria and other Pathogens with the power of Oxygen PLUS Silver!  Nobody else has a product like THIS!   See why the inventor hasn't been sick in 16 years and why you'll never hear about it on the FAKE NEWS!  Get some now and tell your friends about it too so we can reach more people!  


APeX Interview - Superior to Colloidal Silver from Lee Canady on Vimeo.


Learn about APeX Here and Get the 50 Page Report in PDF format.   Call us at 888-809-8385 to order by phone.



Report abuse
Loading...
    Loading...

    Comments

    Your Comments
    Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

    MOST RECENT
    Loading...
    Load more ...

    SignUp

    Login

    Newsletter

    Email this story
    Email this story

    If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

    If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.