MGX cuts costs on oilfield lithium extraction technology

MGX system is under contract for deployment at an oilsands SAGD site under a water purification agreement. Image: JWN

MGX Minerals Inc. says it has doubled the adsorbtion rate for the company’s lithium extraction nanofiltration process which will significantly cut the cost of its process to extract lithium from oilfield brine.

Reagents reflect the single largest cost in the company’s lithium extraction process, the Vancouver-based company said. It has increased the adsorbtion rate from 20mg/g, milligram of lithium per gram of adsorbtion reagent to an optimized 40mg/g Li/reagent.

The advancement reduces reagent use and the direct cost of lithium chloride recovery from brine.

Additionally, reagent depletion in the lithium nanofilter has now been reduced to less than one per cent per cycle, increasing the operating time and associated recovery for the lithium nanofilter prior to requiring recoating with the reagent.

The work was completed by engineering partner PurLucid Treatment Solutions at its Calgary facility as part of the commissioning of the company’s first 120 cubic metre (750 barrel) per day small commercial lithium extraction system. The system is currently undergoing final flow testing and optimization in preparation for deployment.

The system utilizes a highly charged replaceable skin layer (RSL) membrane related to the nanofiltration and high intensity froth flotation (HiFF) system, known as nanoflotation, which collectively have demonstrated performance superiority over other processes typically used to remove contaminants, MGX said in a statement.

The technology allows ultra-high temperature water treatment (up to 700 degrees Celsius) at 10-30 times the efficiency of existing ultrafiltration systems and offers numerous environmental water purification and mineral extraction benefits, including contaminant removal, mineral recovery, reduced energy demand and small footprint, added MGX.

The first 1,200 cubic metre system is in final engineering design phase by engineering partner PurLucid. Fabrication is expected to commence shortly and be completed by summer.

The system is under contract for deployment at an oilsands SAGD site under a water purification agreement targeting a reduced cost of 50 per cent as compared with the current truck and dispose option, as well as reduction of physical bitumen waste product footprint, clean water reuse and minerals recovery.

The initial component design of a 2,400 cubic metre (13,000 barrels) per day system has been completed. The basic system and tanks are designed to fit within a 42 x 64 foot building housing nano-flotation pre-treatment sub-system, nano-filtration lithium and mineral extraction subsystem, mineral holding tanks, sludge processing and on-site laboratory, the company said.