MGX Minerals Inc has recently annouced that as of last week, engineering partner PurLucid Treatment Solutions (“PurLucid”) had processed the first shipment of 40m3 of wastewater brine from an oilsands customer. The 5m3 system treated highly concentrated evaporator blowdown wastewater (“EBD”) and will provide significant cost savings for the customer. The system is currently operating at a 3rd party industrial location and the Company is pleased to report that the same steam assisted gravity drainage (“SAGD”) operator recently received an operating permit for the equipment from the Alberta Energy Regulator. A new 10m3 high temperature, high pressure system, is near completion and is expected to be deployed on site in January. The current 5m3 system will continue to operate and process water from customers. Additional systems are expected to be deployed approximately every other month through first and second quarter of 2019, with a significant acceleration of deployments thereafter.
When placed within the SAGD operation itself the system will significantly reduce greenhouse gases through energy savings on steam generation. The technology provides superior treatment outcomes when compared to conventional technology which requires offsite trucking and high cost (due to toxicity) disposal. The technology can treat the water in line, under temperature and pressure, without cooling water first and is a paradigm shift advancement in waste water management and oilsands operations. This will result in significantly less energy use for water treatment, reduction in greenhouse gases and also eliminate the single major operational challenge of a (“SAGD”) facility, which is heat exchanger fouling.
Due to the high concentration effect on contained minerals of EBD wastewater, low concentration minerals are significantly increased. While not all oilsands EBD wastewater contains significant concentrated lithium. One of two current SAGD operation customers discharges wastewater that contains lithium in the 100ppm range. This lithium can be extracted by the technology once the water is cleaned of oil and bitumen as result of the front-end water treatment system processing. Commencement of lithium extraction will occur as this customer comes on line resulting in oilfield operation, small commercial scale Petrolithium extraction in the oilfield environment.
“This technology represents a landmark shift in environmental services and, where there are significant concentrations of lithium, a by-product that, with the rapidly increasing demand for lithium, may now represent to the energy industry, a shift similar to that which resulted from the commercialization of natural gas. There is no doubt that on a daily basis in North America the oil and gas industry generates far more wastewater brine feedstock containing lithium (LiCl) then current global commercial lithium brine operations, largely due to the very long time solar evaporation takes, the traditional method of lithium brine extraction. As natural gas was once seen as a hinderance or waste product, to be flared off, there is a similar parallel to wastewater treatment and mineral extraction. The potential to offset surging wastewater management costs with our technology both in direct processing of water and, where applicable, extraction of lithium, may begin to solve the single biggest ancillary cost in oil & gas today. I am proud to say this technology driven shift began last week.”
Rapid Lithium Brine Extraction Technology
MGX has developed a rapid lithium extraction technology eliminating or greatly reducing the physical footprint and investment in large, multi-phase, lake sized, lined evaporation ponds, as well as enhancing the quality of extraction and recovery across a complex range of brines as compared with traditional solar evaporation. This technology is applicable to petrolithium (oil and gas wastewater), natural brine, and other brine sources such as lithium-rich mine and industrial plant wastewater. The MGX was recently chosen as winner of the Base and Specialty Metals Industry Leadership Award at the 2018 S&P Global Platts Global Metals Awards.