CALGARY, ALBERTA, March 2, 2023 – E3 LITHIUM LTD. (TSXV: ETL) (FSE: OW3) (OTCQX: EEMMF), “E3” or the “Company,” Alberta’s leading lithium developer and extraction technology innovator, is pleased to outline an overview of its 2023 goals and strategic vision.
Accomplishing the 2023 goals outlined below provides the necessary catalysts for E3 to move towards producing battery-grade lithium from its significant resources in Alberta. By actively evaluating commercially available, and therefore, lower risk process and design solutions, E3 believes it can reduce the project development timeframe, allowing E3 to meet its goal of a commercial facility by 2026. Enabling the acceleration of the project development and the production of battery-ready lithium may provide significant advantages to project economics and project financing.
“With a clear strategy in place, this year E3 is set to deliver on the most significant milestones in the company’s history,” commented Chris Doornbos, President & CEO of E3 Lithium. “We are confident that successfully achieving these milestones will firmly establish E3 as a leader of sustainable, locally supplied battery-ready lithium products, and will position E3 for success, as it looks to move from development into commercialization following the success of our pilot.”
E3’s 2023 Goals and Milestones
|Q1 2023: Resource Upgrade to Measured and Indicated
A Measured and Indicated (M+I) resource upgrade increases the understanding and confidence in our brine producibility. This enables E3 to develop more accurate production plans and allows the Company to calculate a reserve within its upcoming PFS.
- Announce results of the Measured and Indicated upgrade
- Publish the NI 43-101 report
|Q3 2023: Field pilot plant
The goal of the pilot is to provide critical information for E3 to design its commercial facility. E3 has been developing multiple flow sheets and working with design firms with a complementary breadth of knowledge on various aspects of the process. E3 plans to select the most viable, and fastest path to commercial, direct extraction technology for Phase 1 of its commercial production facility.
- Obtain approval on facility license from the Alberta Energy Regulator
- Complete Detailed Engineering and Design
- Publish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) on expected pilot performance
- Commission equipment on site
- Commence pilot operations
- Publish results against the previously outlined KPIs
|Q3-Q4 2023: Lithium hydroxide samples
Producing lithium hydroxide with industry-proven downstream conversion processes at pilot scale allows E3 to produce battery grade products from its Direct Lithium Extraction concentrate. A benefit is the ability to provide samples for potential offtake partners for evaluation.
- Initiate testing program with an industry leader for lithium hydroxide production
- Publish results and specification of the lithium hydroxide produced
|End of 2023: Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS)
E3 plans to complete a PFS outlining the detailed plans for its first commercial facility and one of the first global reserves for a DLE resource.
- Engage Pre-Feasibility EPC firm
- Define capacity for the first commercial facility
- Publish the results of the PFS
E3’s Focused Path to First Lithium
E3’s primary focus is to achieve its major milestones in 2023. E3 believes that reaching these goals, culminating with the completion of its PFS, will be the catalyst for E3 to move towards commercial development of its first lithium production facility. The Company is focusing on assessing low-risk processes and technologies to be included in its Pre-Feasibility design, which will result in commercially available solutions with the potential to reduce the time to design and construct and increase the likelihood of success of the commercial operations. This strategy should enable E3 to move more quickly through the next stages of project development once its PFS is complete.
Following a successful PFS, E3 will aim to complete a Feasibility Study, obtain all required regulatory approvals and deliver a project financing arrangement to enable the construction of its first commercial facility in Alberta.
Producing battery-grade lithium from E3’s resources involves bringing together three well known and understood processes into a combined flowsheet. Within each of these processes are commercially operating solutions that E3 can leverage to assist in accelerating its timeframes.
- Brine Production: A series of Alberta industry standard pipeline connected wells delivers the brine from the aquifer to and from the processing facility.
- Direct Lithium Extraction: Ion-exchange and water treatment, designed specifically for the extraction of lithium, employs solid liquid separation technology commonly used in similar applications combined with lithium selective sorbents.
- Lithium Production: Conversion from lithium sulphate or chloride to lithium hydroxide using conversion technology is utilized in most current lithium hydroxide and carbonate production and will be designed for E3 by a leading industry equipment supplier.
E3’s highly qualified team of process and project engineers have built facilities in Alberta similar in size to E3’s first commercial lithium production facility and have a clear vision for accomplishing this goal.
De-Risking Factors for E3’s Path to First Lithium
Early-To-Market Advantages: Recent announcements of major investments in the lithium industry highlight the advantages of E3 bringing lithium to market expeditiously. E3 predicts the early-to-market advantage allows the potential to capture higher realized lithium prices and subsequently better overall economics for its initial facility. Additionally, this could result in higher value offtake contracts and potential financial support from major battery companies and automotive manufacturers that will more likely occur during the supply/demand imbalance expected in the mid 2020s.
Working with E3’s Significant Resource Base: E3’s significant resources in the Bashaw District, and the untapped potential of the Rocky Area and north, may offer opportunities to partner with larger companies on developing its assets that may assist in securing funding and advancing its timeframes.
Offtake Contracts: E3 is active in developing relationships with the battery and automotive industries as it moves through the next phase of project development in 2023. E3’s strategy has been to develop meaningful agreements that provide binding provisions for the development of future sales contracts. E3 has signed non-binding Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with battery and automotive manufacturers, however, has elected to keep such MOUs confidential to allow for the continued negotiation with additional parties.
Local, Sustainable Lithium: In the global landscape, the search for critical minerals to fuel the race to electrify transport has brought the focus to the supply chain and the impacts of acquiring these minerals. We anticipate using only about 3% of the land relative to conventional and currently operating lithium production systems. We also operate a closed loop system that does not interact with the local fresh water sources. Given our operations resemble those of the oil and gas industry in Alberta, there is long-standing support and relationships with stakeholders where E3 will be operating. We can potentially supply the local North American, and European markets with a high ESG standard lithium product.
Pure Lithium: Positioning itself for the future, E3 continues its strategic partnership with Pure Lithium, a lithium metal and battery start up. While this will likely not produce a commercially viable product in time for E3’s first lithium facility, it has the potential to provide optionality for E3 to co-produce a final battery in Alberta in the future.
E3 is very excited about the year ahead and thanks its shareholders for their continued support in growing E3 towards its goals of first lithium production in Alberta.
E3 Lithium - Investor and Media Relations
Manager, Investor Relations
About E3 Lithium
E3 Lithium is a development company with total of 24.3 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) inferred mineral resources1 in Alberta. As outlined in E3’s Preliminary Economic Assessment, the Clearwater Lithium Project has an NPV8% of USD 1.1 Billion with a 32% IRR pre-tax and USD 820 Million with a 27% IRR after-tax1.Through the successful scale up its DLE technology towards commercialization, E3 Lithium’s goal is to produce high purity, battery grade lithium products. With a significant lithium resource and innovative technology solutions, E3 Lithium has the potential to deliver lithium to market from one of the best jurisdictions in the world.
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Chris Doornbos, President & CEO
E3 Lithium Ltd.
1: The Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) for the Clearwater Lithium Project NI 43-101 technical report is effective Sept 17, 2021. The mineral resource NI 43-101 Technical Report for the North Rocky Property, effective October 27, 2017, identified 0.9Mt LCE (inferred). The mineral resource NI 43-101 Technical Report for the Bashaw District Project, effective July 11, 2022, identified 23.4Mt LCE (inferred). All reports are available on the E3 Lithium’s website (e3lithium.ca/technical-reports) and SEDAR (www.sedar.com).
Forward-Looking and Cautionary Statements
This news release includes certain forward-looking statements as well as management’s objectives, strategies, beliefs and intentions. Forward looking statements are frequently identified by such words as “may”, “will”, “plan”, “expect”, “anticipate”, “estimate”, “intend” and similar words referring to future events and results. Forward-looking statements are based on the current opinions and expectations of management. All forward-looking information is inherently uncertain and subject to a variety of assumptions, risks and uncertainties, including the speculative nature of mineral exploration and development, fluctuating commodity prices, the effectiveness and feasibility of emerging lithium extraction technologies which have not yet been tested or proven on a commercial scale or on the Company’s brine, competitive risks and the availability of financing, as described in more detail in our recent securities filings available at www.sedar.com. Actual events or results may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements and we caution against placing undue reliance thereon. We assume no obligation to revise or update these forward-looking statements except as required by applicable law.
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