Lithium powers nearly everything we rely on today—from our cars, to our laptops, to our mobile phones—and it serves as the foundation for our future. As vehicles and electricity become cleaner, demand for this precious metal is estimated to triple by 2025 to 570,000 tons. In order to meet this surge, companies are not only innovating more cost-effective ways to extract lithium but are simultaneously reducing wastewater pollution from the oil & gas industry.
Lithium production is traditionally done through solar evaporation, which is time intensive and inefficient, while also resulting in a significant environmental footprint. The same can be said for brine water—a byproduct of oil and gas production that is reinjected into the ground or stored in giant tanks, causing environmental issues and heightened regulatory controls around the world. These challenges present a unique opportunity for big oil and service providers to come together, while also providing a new supply source for large-scale lithium consumers like Tesla or Samsung Electronics.
Integrated with existing oil and gas infrastructure, the petrolithium process separates valuable minerals and salts from brine water cost-effectively, reduces production time by 99 percent compared to conventional methods, and significantly reduces the environmental footprint of the energy industry. When combined with additional treatment, the remaining wastewater can then be recycled or returned to the environment in a controlled manner. It’s projected that this method will process a million barrels of brine per day, at concentrations of around 50 mg/L, to produce upwards of 14,000 tons of lithium carbonate annually.
MGX Minerals developed the technology and leads this market segment with nearly 500,000 hectares of Alberta, Canada’s high-grade lithium brine properties controlled by the company.