Lithium company with vast resources in central Alberta expects a big year

6 2 Lithium company with vast resources in central Alberta expects a big year

March 16, 2023 – E3 Lithium Ltd.’s field pilot lithium production plant expected to operating this summer

A Calgary company with huge lithium resources in central Alberta has a big year planned and is encouraged by recent shows of government support for the minerals sector.

E3 Lithium Ltd. got a recent boost from the federal government through a $3.5 million grant from Natural Resources Canada’s Critical Minerals Research Development and Demonstration program.

The money will go towards the design, construction and operation of E3’s field pilot plant, which is expected to begin operations this summer. It follows the 2022 announcements of a $1.8 million grant from Alberta Innovates and a $27 million conditionally repayable investment from the Strategic Innovation Fund as well.

The company also signed a strategic agreement last June with Imperial Oil Ltd. that included a $6.35 million investment in E3.

“(2022) was a very big year and we’re gearing up for another very big year in our development in 2023,” said Robin Boschman, E3 external relations director.

The completion of the pilot project was included in a detailed outline of the company’s plans unveiled in early March. Among the significant upcoming milestones will be the production of battery-grade lithium hydroxide for potential customers.

E3 also intends to upgrade its estimated 24 million tonnes of lithium resources, almost all of it in underground aquifers in the Bashaw and Three Hills areas, from inferred to measured and indicated, a change that signals confidence in its suitability for lithium production. The upgrade also helps the company develop more accurate production plans.

As part of its 2023 plan, the company intends to seek out and evaluate commercially available process and design technology to reduce risk and keep the goal of a commercial facility by 2026 on track.

E3 Lithium president and CEO Chris Doornbos said in a statement that achieving its 2023 milestones will “establish E3 as a leader of sustainable, locally supplied battery-ready lithium products, and will position E3 for success, as it looks to move from development into commercialization following the success of our pilot.”

The Alberta government recently signalled its intention to boost Alberta’s minerals sector.

The province announced earlier this month that the Mineral Resources Development Act is now in effect for brine-hosted minerals, such as the lithium E3 is extracting. The act directs the Alberta Energy Regulator to oversee brine-hosted minerals in a “one-window approach” to provide clarity and certainty for industry and investors while ensuring responsible development of the resources.

The government has also invested $25 million in recent years to improve geoscience mapping to build an inventory of minerals and their concentrations across the province. It is anticipated providing publicly available geoscience information will attract investment, reduce exploration risk and aid in making resource development and land-use decisions.

Besides lithium, Alberta has deposits of vanadium, titanium and other rare earth elements, along with potash, uranium and helium. The province also refines nickel, cobalt and magnesium.

The province’s moves, which are part of its strategy and action plan to capitalize on Alberta’s untapped mineral potential, are welcomed, said Boschman.

“It shows progress and for us it underscores the commitment that the province and its arms-length partners have in providing clarity to develop the mineral resources that we have in Alberta.

“It’s a very exciting time in the province and there’s huge potential here.”

Featured Image @ Depositphotos 


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