TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – TSX-listed specialty chemicals producer Western Lithium Corp on Tuesday announced that it had received all significant permits and approvals necessary to start construction of a hectatone organoclay manufacturing plant, in Fernley, Nevada.
Western Lithium aimed at becoming a supplier of a specialty drilling additive, hectatone, and potentially other organoclays for the oil and gas industry, and in particular, to support the growth of high-pressure, high-temperature, deep directional drilling applications.
The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) had issued the Nevada air quality operating permit that included the site's organoclay processing components, the mill burner, and its thermal oxidiser burner. The City of Fernley had issued both the design review permit and the building permit.
The North Lyon County Fire Protection District had also confirmed that all the building plans conformed to fire and safety requirements.
Refurbishment of the Fernley plant site had started and significant lead-time equipment was currently arriving at the facility.
Western Lithium had circulated plant construction bid documents to several construction contractors, and a bid award is anticipated in December.
The company said it continued to advance its product development efforts and several products would be tested on commercial scale equipment in North Carolina and Missouri during December.
Western Lithium expected to bring up to six hectatone organoclay products to the market in 2014. The company was targeting the spring or second quarter, 2014, to start commercial production of its hectatone specialty drilling mud products.
"We have been actively engaged with potential customers in the US Gulf Coast, the Rocky Mountains, and in Canada, and will seek to secure sales agreements in the New Year," Western Lithium CEO Jay Chmelauskas said.
The company is also developing its Kings Valley lithium deposit, in Nevada, into a strategic, scalable and reliable source of high-quality lithium carbonate. The company was positioning itself as a significant US-based supplier to support the rising global demand for lithium carbonate that was expected from the increased use of hybrid/electric vehicles.