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On January 16, 2023, the Company announced the highlights of an updated Boardwalk Lithium Brine Project Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA”). The updated Boardwalk PEA report is based on a 34,005 tonnes per annum of battery grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate (“LHM”), the largest proposed production in North America, over a 20-year period. The significant difference from the initial PEA released in May 2023 was the incorporation of newly licensed continuous Direct Lithium Extraction technology from G2L Greenview Resources Inc. The G2L technology has numerous advantages over the direct lithium extraction process applied in the original PEA, including reducing the operating cost by 34% and increasing the lithium recovery to 98%. This update builds upon a lithium carbonate equivalent updated resource estimates at the Boardwalk Project of 395,000 tonnes LCE of indicated and 5.73 million tonnes LCE of inferred resources.
- Increased lithium recovery of 98% using the G2L's cDLE® technology
- Increased production to 34,005 tonnes per year of battery grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate over a 20-year period
- A significant reduction of 34% in operational expenditures to USD $4,588 per tonne LHM
- USD $3.7 Billion Net Present Value8 and 25.0% IRR on a pre-tax basis
- USD $2.3 Billion NPV8 and 20.6% IRR on an after-tax basis
- Reduction in the payback period from 4.1 years to 3.5 years, on a pre-tax basis
- Production of high-grade lithium sulphate (Li2SO4) eluate at a concentration of 3,238 mg/L Li (3.24 g/L Li)
- Lower cost and commercially available reagents used in the cDLE® process
- Majority of acid is recovered in the downstream processing and reused in the elution stage
- Reduction in freshwater usage using the G2L cDLE®
- Achievement of commercial production within 3 years is possible under Provincial permitting directives
- Located in the resource friendly jurisdiction of west-central Alberta, which has a long history of resource extraction, well established infrastructure, and an actively supportive government
- Power expected to be generated on site using high-efficiency gas turbines with steam cogeneration that is expected to lower the project's overall carbon footprint. The proposed gas turbine units may be run on 80% hydrogen when a reliable supply is available
- Project economics again used USD $26,000/t LHM and provides strong leverage to higher lithium prices
- No changes were made to the front end of the engineering which includes everything up to the DLE
The preliminary economic assessment is inherently preliminary in nature. It includes inferred mineral resources that are too speculative geologically to have economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as mineral reserves, and there is no certainty that the results indicated in this preliminary economic assessment will be realized.
Readers are cautioned that reliance on information in this announcement without reference to the updated NI 43-101 PEA Technical Report may not be appropriate. The forthcoming updated NI 43-101 PEA Technical Report is meant to be read as a whole, and sections should not be read or relied upon out of context.
The Largest Proposed Lithium Hydroxide Monohydrate ("LHM") Production in North America
LithiumBank has used a wealth of historical oil and gas drilling and seismic data in completing a maiden NI 43-101 Inferred Mineral Resource Estimate dated May 18, 2021. Over 550 wells have been drilled into the Leduc formation at Sturgeon Lake by previous and current petro-operators, 65 of which have been historically sampled for Leduc formation brine between 2010-2019. These historical brine sampling programs show that the lithium content in the Leduc Formation aquifer is homogeneous with respect to lithium content over the investigated reservoir portions of the ~50 km long reef complex.
A 3-D closed solid polygon wireframe of the Leduc Formation aquifer domain was used to calculate the volume of the Leduc Formation rock, or the aquifer volume. The aquifer volume underlying the Sturgeon Lake Property, summarized as the total Leduc Formation domain aquifer volume, is of 321.99 km3.
LithiumBank formed a brine access agreement with the major petro-operator in control of the Sturgeon Lake South and Sturgeon Lake North oilfields on May 14, 2021. The agreement permits LithiumBank to obtain brine from the existing oil and gas infrastructure for the purpose of exploration work (i.e., assaying, and mineral processing test work).
Near Term PEA Enhancements
- The Government of Canada announced an Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for Clean Technology Manufacturing in its Budget 2023. Refundable tax credit will be applied on capital expenditures for the extraction and processing of critical minerals (ITC link).
- Use of smaller electrical submersible pumps (ESPs) that could fit in reduced diameter well casing throughout the network that would significantly reduce capital expenditures.
- Leveraging of existing wells and surface infrastructure including roads, well pads, pipelines, and utilities.
- Reduction of well and power requirements through enhanced 3-D reservoir modelling and new drilling information.
- Next generation sorbent being developed by Conductive, the provider of the lithium brine DLE technology chosen for the PEA, is expected to reduce costs, increase efficiency and reduce reagent consumption.
- Alternative DLE technology trade-off studies.
- Utilize ZS2 Technologies Inc. to capture and sequester CO2 emissions to produce carbon credits, extract magnesium from barren brine to produce low carbon cement products that will lower brine reinjection amounts by at least 10%.
- Additional trade-off studies aimed at streamlining pipeline infrastructure.