Calgary based E3 Metals Corp. is looking to position itself as a leader in the production of petro-lithium in Alberta and on a global scale.
After going public several months ago, the company has rapidly advanced the project. Just last week, the company published the results from a systematic sampling program conducted across their property, targeting the Leduc Reef Trend. The company is presently working towards publishing its first mineral resource by the end of 2017.
Once completed, the mineral resource will be the first substantial brine resource for lithium in Canada. And if everything goes according to plan, all roads of course lead down to one day having the potential to produce and sell commercial grade lithium to the global markets.
A unique aspect of the company’s strategy is to target areas that already have been developed for commercial oil and gas production; areas containing both active and suspended wells. Doing so enables the company to avoid spending gobs of money on the prerequisite infrastructure needed for sub-surface access.
Management at E3 Metals first chose to target Alberta’s Leduc Reed Trend (part of the historic Leduc oil and gas reservoir) for their sampling due to the high production rates. The Leduc reservoir was one of North America’s first commercial oil reserves that helped to put Alberta, and Canada for that matter, on the world’s petroleum map. Since the reservoir has been producing for so long, incremental barrels of oil pumped out of the reservoir have steadily dropped.
Going after lithium at Leduc is a win-win for E3 Metals and Alberta’s oil and gas industry. “We leverage the expertise and equipment of Alberta’s oil and gas service companies to help us sample for lithium brine,” said E3 Metals’ Chief Executive Chris Doornbos. “We appreciate the support received from the oil and gas operators in our permit areas that have assisted in the collection of samples, the results of which were recently announced.”
The treasure trove of historical data pertaining to the reservoir from oil and gas development in the region also allowed for a reliable and efficient reservoir analysis. The infrastructure already in place to support oil and gas production around the Leduc reservoir have thus far (and will continue to) enabled E3 Metals to obtain sampling results far quicker and cheaper than otherwise.
Other benefits stemming from targeting pre-existing oil wells for the company’s samples and potential future production include underground pipelines that connect each well to a central gathering facility, proximity to water separation facilities, and a skilled service industry.
Mr. Doornbos and his team believe that Alberta has the potential to host enough lithium to rank as significant on a global scale. “The lithium potential in the Leduc Reef Trend could make Alberta a globally significant source for the growing electric-vehicle and battery storage industries and create a fluid transition for maturing oil and gas fields.”
“The company is growing very quickly, and we are going about it the right way by building a solid foundation,” added Mr. Doornbos. “Our business plan is centred around a three-phase development plan. With very encouraging sampling results now released to the public, we are now focusing our efforts completing a compliant mineral resource. This will demonstrate the size and production potential of just one part of our permit area. Following that, E3 plans on demonstrating that the lithium can be economically produced from the reservoir by developing a lithium extraction process flow sheet.”
Although there is still much work to be done for the team at E3 Metals, Mr. Doornbos and his team are confident that the development of a lithium brine industry in Alberta is only a matter of time. “By the fourth quarter of this year, we will look to have completed our first mineral resource, and one of the first for petro-lithium across the globe,” he said.