Canada's MGX Minerals hunts battery lithium in oilfields

Mon Jan 30, 2017 5:53am EST
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By Barbara Lewis

LONDON (Reuters) - Canada's MGX Minerals (XMG.CD: Quote) is close to completing testing of technology that uses brine from oilfields aiming to shorten the production of lithium to just one day, CEO Jared Lazerson told Reuters.

Hopes for the trial and plans to expand have helped boost MGX's share price by more than 250 percent this month, with its market capitalization topping C$100 million ($76 million), Reuters data shows.

Lithium, known as white petroleum, is used in rechargeable batteries needed for mobile phones and electric cars.

More than half of the Earth's identified sources of it are in the "lithium triangle" of high-altitude lakes and salt flats that straddles Chile, Argentina and Bolivia.

Production there is cheap as the sun evaporates salt pools, but the process can take 18 months.

MGX Minerals is instead focused on oilfields, which Lazerson said also offer rich terrain.

The process it is testing uses oilfield wastewater containing lithium in what Lazerson said is "an amazing twist of fate" as it links the traditional fossil fuel sector with renewable energy.

Lazerson said MGX's pilot project would be complete within 60 days and installed at one of the company's project sites with a major oil company operator.   Continued...