Imperial Oil Limited—Canada’s largest petroleum refiner, a major producer of crude oil, a key petrochemical producer and a leading fuels marketer—and E3 Lithium are collaborating to advance a direct-lithium-extraction pilot in Alberta, exploring the redevelopment of an historic oil field into a potential new leading source of lithium for Canada’s growing critical minerals industry.
The pilot will support E3 Lithium’s Clearwater project, which will draw lithium from under the Leduc oil field, Imperial’s historic discovery that first launched major oil and gas development in Western Canada. E3 Lithium’s proprietary direct lithium extraction (DLE) technology is designed to extract the critical mineral from the lithium-rich brine, with potential for commercial development of battery-grade products.
This exciting collaboration brings together Imperial’s long-standing commitment to research and technology to help test and scale E3’s lithium-recovery technology. We continue to advance the innovation and technologies needed to support the energy transition, working in collaboration with governments and industry to progress new opportunities from existing assets and sector expertise.—Jason Iwanika, director of commercial business development at Imperial
Leduc No.1, Imperial’s first well into this reservoir, was one of Imperial’s most prolific oil discoveries in Alberta and transformed the provincial and Canadian economies, much like lithium has the potential to do. Having Imperial now working with E3 Lithium in exploring the redevelopment of Leduc into a world-class source of lithium is an exciting new chapter in Alberta and Canada’s story.—Chris Doornbos, CEO of E3 Lithium
The pilot project includes drilling Alberta’s first lithium evaluation wells, planned to be completed by the end of the third quarter of this year. Work will also focus on scaling up E3 Lithium’s proprietary technology, which brings the brine liquid to the surface where the lithium is removed and concentrated. This liquid is immediately returned underground as part of a closed-loop system.
E3 Lithium’s PEA estimates the first phase of development could produce approximately 20,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide per year.
Under the agreement, E3 Lithium will continue to operate the Clearwater project and retain its IP, with technical and development support from Imperial in areas such as water and reservoir management. The agreement also includes access for E3 Lithium to freehold lands in the area, which are operated by Imperial.
As part of the agreement, Imperial has agreed to invest CAD $6.35 million into E3 at a pre-paid price of CAD $1.86/warrant and the issuance of 3,413,979 warrants. Each warrant provides the holder the option to exercise the warrant for one common share of E3. The warrants are immediately exercisable, non-transferrable, expire in 24 months and are non-refundable.
E3 Lithium’s DLE technology. E3’s DLE ion-exchange technology utilizes a proprietary sorbent designed to be highly selective towards lithium ions. It reduces large volumes of low-grade brine into a high-grade lithium concentrate in one step, simultaneously removing nearly all impurities. This produces a very clean product for the development of high-purity battery-grade lithium compounds.
Lab results demonstrate more than 90% lithium recovery; more than 99% impurity removal (eg. calcium, magnesium, sodium); and a 20x-100x lithium concentration factor.