EMP Metals begins operations at direct lithium extraction pilot plant

19th April 2024

By: Sabrina Jardim

Creamer Media Online Writer


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Canadian lithium exploration and development company EMP Metals has, in partnership with Koch Technology Solutions and Saltworks Technologies, started commissioning its direct lithium extraction (DLE) field pilot facility in Estevan, Saskatchewan.

The company says the facility represents the first Koch Technology Solutions DLE pilot skid to be commissioned and operated in Canada.

It adds that the operation of the facility will closely resemble field operating conditions, receiving high lithium concentration feed brine from the Viewfield area.

Swab testing in the area has tested lithium concentrations upwards of 259 mg/ℓ in one of the targeted zones.

The facility also features a pre-filtration skid and a heater skid designed by Saltworks Technologies to deliver on-spec feed brine at elevated temperatures of about 60 °C.

The facility is expected to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, over the next few months to gather valuable performance data that will provide the foundation for continued detailed engineering work on the Stage 1 commercial facility.

Initially, the facility operated over several days, with lab results confirming that the feed brine is meeting required specifications and the DLE skid is optimised for lithium recovery.

The facility will process about 4 500 ℓ/d of feed brine. The company says the lower daily throughput is representative of higher lithium concentrations in the feed brine.

This results in lower volumes being required to fully load the pilot column with lithium on each cycle. Average feed brine lithium concentrations of 185 mg/ℓ have been confirmed through third-party lab testing and are representative of the producing zones isolated for the pilot testing.

EMP Metals, in partnership with ROK Resources, currently holds over 200 000 net acres of subsurface dispositions and strategic wellbores in southern Saskatchewan.

"The commencement, commissioning and continuous run time at the pilot facility is a substantial milestone for EMP Metals and ROK Resources. The efforts by our local team, vendors and contractors supporting the project have been instrumental in our early success.

“The data set we will collect over the next few months is expected to add significant value to our detailed engineering work for the initial Stage 1 commercial facility located in southern Saskatchewan,” says EMP Metals COO Paul Schubach.

Meanwhile, EMP’s board of directors has authorised the grant of an aggregate 300 000 incentive stock options to certain employees and consultants of the company, at an exercise price of $0.40 per common share.

The options are exercisable for a five-year period from the date of grant and may be subject to certain vesting provisions as determined by the board of directors. The company says that all options were granted pursuant to the company's stock option plan and are subject to the approval of the Canadian Securities Exchange.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



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