EDITOR: | July 17th, 2015 | 9 Comments

Lithium, New Tech and Pure Energy

| July 17, 2015 | 9 Comments
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Pure-EnergyEnergy cannot be created or destroyed.

That one simple sentence, also known as the Law of Conservation of Energy, underpins every action we make, every song we hear, everything we touch. Your bicycle moves because you power it. You live because you digest food and convert its nutritional content to biologic energy. Baseballs curve, penicillin cures, sound carries, fires burn – all examples of energy changing form.

New technologies are vital to creating more efficient forms of converting energy, and as the wonderfully grumpy Jack Lifton pointed out, this is especially true when attacking a rare earth deposit. The old ways just don’t work for the rare earths. As Lifton wrote, “Lithium production is almost a poster-child for the time it takes for ‘new’ technologies to become ‘standard.’ And in case you didn’t notice all of this has been driven by an increase in demand.”

One company that gets this concept is Pure Energy Minerals Ltd. of Vancouver (TSXV: PE), which is focusing on more efficient lifecycle solutions for lithium supply in North America. The flagship project is a lithium brine project in Clayton Valley, Nevada.

In the cities of Reno and Las Vegas, financial energy gets converted to fun and loss of memory. Located halfway between those two cities is Clayton Valley, which has hosted mining activity dating back to the 1860s. It is here that Pure Energy has over 8000 acres of placer mining claims contiguous to the only lithium production facility in North America. Pure Energy is looking to convert those claims into revenue for its shareholders.

Pure Energy sees Clayton Valley as being surrounded by lithium-enriched Tertiary rhyolitic tuffs, lithium-bearing sediments, and an active geothermal system. Geologically the lithium mobilized from these sources to be deposited into the groundwater. The dry climate concentrated the groundwater by evaporation into hypersaline lithium-rich brines which are hosted mainly within the more porous parts of the basin. Pure Energy’s claim block extends for 12 kilometres to encompass the deepest sections of the valley, and is contiguous to the only producing lithium mine in North America.

A Clayton Valley cross section and gravity survey are here.

Conventional lithium extraction techniques are expensive, harmful, and inefficient. Too much energy is wasted in the process, resulting in higher costs and less margin for the shareholders. This old technology, developed in the 1960’s, requires extensive evaporation ponds (4000+ acres) to concentrate the brines prior to processing, resulting in significant and valuable quantities of water being evaporated away into the desert atmosphere. These ponds are expensive to build, recover less than half of the available lithium, and require an 18-24 month process cycle to deliver product.

Pure Energy is embracing novel technologies that are potentially capable of producing customized high-grade lithium products at costs below that of hard rock, clay or existing brine facilities. These new processes are attractive because they are environmentally friendly, highly efficient (capable of extracting >99% of lithium from brine), weather-independent, and have a process time of hours not years.

Clayton Valley brine is currently being tested at POSCO’s lithium research facility in South Korea and at Tenova Bateman’s lithium research facility in Israel. Pure Energy expects that its lithium brines, coupled with recent technological advancements in processing, will outperform hard rock and clay sources on cost, sustainability and permitting.

Pure Energy has an experienced management team with backgrounds in finance, exploration, geoscience, lithium processing, permitting and construction. These varied backgrounds will be vital to helping Pure Energy convert its assets into a win for the shareholders.


Peter Clausi

Editor:

Mr. Clausi is an experienced investment banker, executive and director. A graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School called to Ontario's bar in 1990, Mr. Clausi ... <Read more about Peter Clausi>


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Comments

  • Tracy Weslosky

    I love the name of the company Peter, and well: we love lithium here at InvestorIntel. Thought you summed up nicely with “Pure Energy embracing novel technologies to customize high-grade lithium products” — some of the smartest investors I know, are investing in both lithium sources and technology applications for Li. Thanks for providing us with an introduction to Pure Energy.

    July 17, 2015 - 2:53 PM

  • Jack Lifton

    Peter,

    I’ve always thought that I masked my grumpiness with my sparkling wit, but I take your point. The recovery of lithium from brines displaced most of the recovery of lithium from hard rock minerals beginning about 40 years ago. Rockwood’s lithium operations contiguous with yours in Nevada process the brines in the same way as SQA, the world’s largest producer of lithium from brines, does in the Atacama Desert of Chile. These companies (or their predecessors in interest) were technological first movers forty years ago, and although the process, which utilizes “solar energy” looks simple enough it, as you point out, is very very time consuming, and as my grumpy father pointed out to me when he caught me wasting it reading books instead of mowing the lawn or taking out the garbage or (Be prepared) shoveling coal into our home’s furnace. “Time is money. Don’t waste it!”
    I am convinced that you can’t teach new tricks to old horses, but when you start with a clean slate as you are doing the sky’s the limit. I hate to sound grumpy, but the more often that the legacy lithium companies tell me that there’s nothing new under the (process energy source) sun over their desert brines the less I time I have to give them. I know enough about new and newly applied chemical mining process technologies to believe that you are on to something that saves time, energy, and pollution. The Tesla battery gigafactory is in front of you, and I think for the traditional lithium companies it is in their rear view mirror.

    July 17, 2015 - 3:30 PM

  • AL

    With it’s recent merger with might want to look into Western Lithium , ( TSE WLC ; US OTC WLCDF ) and Lithium Americas ( TSE : LAC also with a large lithium deposit in Nevada and Argentina . Full story can be found at northernminer.com

    With Tesla’s gigafactory nearby in Nevada WL is located only 2 to 3 hours in distance .

    July 18, 2015 - 9:57 AM

  • JPL

    Just for the record – more hard rock lithium capacity has come on-line in the past decade than brine capacity. Look at the production increase in China via spodumene from Talison vs brine expansions or new brine projects anywhere in the world. Five years from now, people will still be talking about this project in terms of potential not production.

    July 19, 2015 - 4:50 PM

  • Peter Clausi

    The Chinese experience is difficult to validate, both in terms of financial performance and mine efficiency. re this project: why would you think they couldn’t develop it within 5 years?

    July 20, 2015 - 7:29 AM

  • Paul Ryan

    Agree with Peter. Especially as the intended technology will “have a process time of hours not years”. The pace of growth in this sector is accelerating, necessitating the development and utilisation of cost and time efficient tech. The future is almost upon us…

    July 23, 2015 - 5:39 PM

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