By Dipo Olowookere
The Canadian government has provided funding of up to $8.2 million CAD to support the commercialization of a low energy (i.e. low cost) water treatment system for the oil and gas industry.
A statement issued by MGX Minerals said its engineering partner PurLucid Treatment Solutions was awarded this grant.
This investment not only represents a compelling vote of confidence from highest level but also a major push forward for petrolithium, the firm said.
This funding will allow MGX to bring its petrolithium technology to market with the support of the Federal and Provincial Government in a much faster and bigger way than anyone may have previously imagined.
Because the lithium extraction technology is all based on the core water treatment technology, a large portion of the benefit of the technology development will now directly benefit MGX and advancing its petrolithium technology. The government and MGX are now jointly funding the commercialization of cleantech and petrolithium. That´s a jackpot for MGX going forward.
The governmental investments of up to $8.2 million CAD into MGX´s partner not only provides high-level credibility with immediate effect but also a non-repayable, non-dilutive and relatively large cash injection representing more than 10% of MGX´s current market capitalization of $78 million CAD. MGX owns 34% of PurLucid and has the right to acquire 100%, but more importantly MGX already owns the global rights to PurLucid´s mineral extraction technology. As petrolithium is now being backed by the government in partnership with MGX as matching funding partners, the big winner is clearly MGX.
CEO and Founder of PurLucid, Dr Preston McEachern, explained that, “Treatment of wastewater has always been a challenge and significant cost to oil and gas producers; it is also essential to implement petrolithium recovery.
“We’re grateful to receive support from SDTC and ERA in the form of development contributions, to build the first commercial system at an operating oil production facility in Alberta and to demonstrate the large cost and energy savings that can be achieved with these systems. It is exciting, as this opens the door to further processing of the treated water for petrolithium recovery.”
Starting Shot for Petrolithium
Considering last month´s landmark announcement of solving the magnesium problem of the lithium industry (see here), plus today´s governmental funding and backing, MGX is now perfectly positioned/partnered to push its petrolithium technology to market in Canada, and thereafter globally. What MGX has in hands is a low OPEX (operating costs) and low CAPEX (capital costs) solution that is revolutionizing the lithium industry because it proposes to be much cheaper and much faster, up to 700 times as fast as traditional solar evaporation.
People think solar evaporation is cheap and the way to go into the future but actually it´s highly capital intensive (because the evaporation ponds must be very large) and highly inefficient on operating costs (because of low recoveries of around 40%). Imagine running the brine through an advanced filter in a single day versus flooding a square mile of ponds and canals for up to 2 years just to achieve the same purpose. Solar evaporation just doesn´t compare in terms of efficiency and capital.
MGX partnered and funded PurLucid to advance their cleantech water handling and together they jointly developed MGX´s lithium and mineral extraction technology based on the low energy nanofiltration technology that PurLucid had been working on for years. The paradigm shift is now running at full steam: Low energy nanofiltration versus traditional filters that can´t handle oil and high total dissolved solids or old technologies that use expensive/inefficient evaporation (solar or mechanical methods to remove minerals).
MGX´s first commercial system (750 barrels per day) is nearing completion and is scheduled to be deployed next month. A much larger plant (7,500 barrel per day) is already in fabrication and will be largely paid by the governmental grant.
One of the main purposes of the grant is commercialization of the technology and bringing it into market with the backing of Canada´s Federal and Alberta´s Provincial Government.
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