When Harvard professor Clayton Christensen coined the term ‘disruptive innovation’, he had in mind technologies like the one being developed by MGX Minerals, Inc. (OTC: MGXMF) (CSE: XMG) (FRA: 1MG). This innovative company is poised to ignite a revolution in the energy sector with technology that extracts lithium from oil and gas wells. Its PetroLithium™ methodology separates valuable minerals from the salt water that typically accompanies crude oil, offering a novel way to extract lithium, an essential ingredient in the batteries of our laptops, mobile phones, and other electronic devices and, increasingly, our cars. As MGX refines its technology, it is quickly acquiring oil and gas properties, and operation of its initial Petrolithium™ borehole well is set to commence soon.
In an Emerging Theme Radar report (http://nnw.fm/S7uPN), Goldman Sachs (GS) called lithium the ‘new gasoline’, saying its ‘unique properties make it a key enabler of the electric vehicle revolution’. Advances in battery technologies and a growing desire to avoid the hazards of fossil fuels signal a period of sustained growth for electric vehicles, which are forecast to rise from their present three percent of the automobile market to a penetration of 22 percent by 2025. Current demand for lithium runs to about 160,000 metric tons. According to GS, ‘a one-percent increase in battery electric vehicle penetration would increase lithium demand by 70,000 metric tons of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) annually (or roughly half of current global demand for lithium).’
Lithium carbonate occurs in the salt water (brine) that accompanies petroleum (crude oil) as it’s pumped to the surface. However, petroleum brine, like gas in the early oil industry, has been treated as a waste product, and it’s either injected deep underground or stored in giant tanks after it is separated from the oil. These traditional disposal methods have resulted in environmental damage: polluting potable water supplies and causing landslides.
The PetroLithium™ process, consequently, holds the promise of killing two birds with one stone: extracting a valuable resource from material that would go to waste while offering a safer way to dispose of that waste. Extracting lithium from petroleum brine is also faster and less costly than conventional methods, like solar evaporation and hard-rock mining. In a recovery process specifically designed for the highly mineralized brine associated with petroleum, lithium brine evaporation times are expected to fall to less than one day. Traditional solar evaporation techniques take up to 18 months.
In early March, MGX reported encouraging results for tests on its latest petrolithium methodology. The extraction process was able to concentrate lithium more than 20-fold while removing contaminants in a low-energy process. Solutions of 67 mg lithium per liter of petroleum brine were concentrated to 1,600 mg lithium per liter.
MGX has significantly expanded its Alberta petrolithium portfolio through the acquisition of additional metallic and industrial mineral permits covering over 133,000 hectares, and it has acquired an additional 301 mineral claims encompassing 6,020 acres within the Paradox basin of southeastern Utah. The new claims further increase the company’s Lisbon Valley land package to 23,780 acres. The Lisbon Valley oil and gas field is located approximately 40 miles southeast of Moab, Utah, in the salt anticline belt on the southwest edge of the Paradox Basin in San Juan County. Historic lithium brine content there has been reported as high as 730 parts per million of lithium.
Last week, MGX announced it had entered into a joint operating agreement with a private vendor to act as operator and acquire a 75 percent working interest in certain oil and gas leases located contiguous to the company’s Lisbon Valley petrolithium project. Preparations to permit the petrolithium #1 borehole well will commence upon closing of the agreement.
MGX is offering a win-win combo with its PetroLithium™ technology, which promises a faster, less expensive method of lithium extraction, while disposing of oil and gas production waste in an environmentally friendly way. The company is a diversified mining company engaged in the development of large-scale industrial mineral portfolios in western Canada and the United States. MGX operates lithium, magnesium and silicon projects throughout British Columbia and Alberta, as well as petrolithium exploration in Utah.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.MGXMinerals.com
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