E3 Lithium achieves over 90% recovery in DLE pilot plant testing

In recent tests at its direct lithium extraction (DLE) field pilot plant situated in south-central Alberta, E3 Lithium (TSXV: ETL; US-OTC: EEMMF) recorded preliminary lithium recoveries surpassing 94%. This data is based on the initial three assessments, as reported in a press release on Friday.

In addition to the high recovery rate, the purity of the concentrate exceeded 80%, with an average lithium concentration in the concentrate registering at 884 mg per litre. E3 Lithium conveyed that the tests utilized brine sourced from its proprietary Clearwater project. This endeavor has a projected yearly output of 20,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide over a span of two decades, as per a 2020 early-stage economic analysis.

Chris Doornbos, E3 Lithium’s CEO, acknowledged the promising early signs from the pilot operations, highlighting the team’s dedication to advancing the pilot safely and efficiently. The firm plans to conduct a trio of delineated tests through the DLE field pilot plant to evaluate different operational circumstances and foresee the performance in a commercial setup. Following the completion of all tests, the optimal operating conditions will be identified for extended operation.

The forthcoming extended operational phase aims to validate the initial test outcomes and will facilitate the finalization of the commercial blueprint for both the preliminary feasibility study (PFS) and ensuing engineering drafts, revealed the firm.

Furthermore, the lithium concentrate harvested from this extended phase will serve a critical role in shaping the lithium production framework for the PFS and future plans. The company noted its strategy to test its proprietary technology in tandem with two external technologies. A comprehensive set of results from the ongoing tests is anticipated to be released at the inception of the extended operation period.

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E3 initiated the plant operations a little over a fortnight ago, a move that propelled its shares by 8.7% to reach a biennial peak at C$3.78 each. The unveiling of the test results followed almost one and a half months since the onset of the plant commissioning.

The Clearwater project’s preliminary economic assessment (PEA) delineates a post-tax net present value approximating C$820 million (considering an 8% discount rate) and a 27% internal rate of return. The company’s assets include 16 million tonnes of measured and indicated lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) and an additional 900,000 inferred tonnes of LCE harbored in the Leduc Aquifer.

Clearwater, with its average lithium concentration of 74 mg per litre, contributes significantly to this resource pool. Following the announcement, E3 Lithium’s shares experienced a 5% uplift, settling at C$4.07 on Friday afternoon in Toronto, thereby elevating the firm’s market valuation to C$277.2 million. The shares have oscillated between C$1.74 and C$5.72 over the past year.

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