E3 Lithium Supercharges Canada's Largest Brine Project
- 22-Mar-2023 4:17 PM
- Journalist: Nina Jiang
Canada: E3 Lithium has made a breakthrough in Alberta's Bashaw district, making this area the largest brine project in Canada and a potential rival to some of the world's biggest suppliers of battery metals. The project boasts 6.6 million measured tonnes of Lithium Carbonate equivalent (LCE) and 9.4 million indicated tonnes of LCE for a combined total of 16 million tonnes — an impressive figure that has placed this previously-unknown corner of Alberta firmly on the map within the resource sector.
Canada recently made one of its largest resource upgrades in history and this upgrade has far-reaching implications on a global scale. The tremendous amount of data and geological research conducted for this upgrade is remarkable, giving us invaluable insight into the Leduc aquifer, thus increasing our confidence in our commercialization plans.
Imperial Oil and the Canadian government have joined forces in investing in Bashaw, one of the world’s largest direct Lithium extraction brine projects. This new resource is a giant compared to Canada's estimated 3.2 million tonnes of Lithium in hard rock deposits, according to Natural Resources Canada.
Calgary-based E3 recently underwent an upgrade thanks to data and core sample analysis from its 2022 drill program. The company also developed a comprehensive geological model of the Bashaw district that provides details on reservoir properties.
A recent breakdown of resources for a project's Clearwater and Bashaw districts revealed that 11.1 billion cubic metres of brine with a median Lithium concentration of 74.5 mg per litre can be found in the Clearwater area, which equates to 4.3 million tonnes LCE contained metal. Meanwhile, the Bashaw district has 29.2 billion cubic metres of similarly concentrated brine, amounting to 11.7 million tonnes LCE contained metal.
E3 Metals Corp. announced an expansion of the Clearwater area and a new inferred estimate of Lithium Carbonate equivalent (LCE) resources in its Rocky area west of Bashaw district, Alberta. The project is designed to tap Lithium-enriched brine from the Leduc Aquifer, an ancient reef complex that spans hundreds of square kilometres and is over 200 metres thick. Inferred LCE resources estimated at 900,000 tonnes give a glimpse of the potential offered by this massive resource. The Exshaw area within the Bashaw district adds further potential to leverage resources in the region.
The Clearwater area is estimated to produce 20,000 tonnes of Lithium hydroxide annually, upon the completion of a preliminary economic assessment. The initial capital cost for this project was set at $602 million, and the assessment showed an after-tax net present value of $820 million utilizing an 8% discount rate and 27% internal rate of return.
The federal government of Canada has awarded E3 with a C$27 million grant from the Strategic Innovation Fund in November. This follows Imperial Oil, the Canadian arm of ExxonMobil, investing C$6.4 million into researching extraction of Lithium from beneath its iconic Leduc oil field - one of the earliest crude oil discoveries in Western Canada, announced back in June.