Imperial Oil Ltd. has joined a pilot project to extract lithium in Alberta, lending its energy expertise in the quest to recover the critical mineral from a once-prolific oil formation.
Calgary-based Imperial said on Thursday that it is investing $6.35-million to acquire warrants in E3 Lithium Ltd., giving it a window into plans to pump what the companies hope will be lithium-rich brine from the aquifer under the sprawling Leduc formation.
E3, formerly known as E3 Metals Corp., is planning to complete a pre-feasibility study by the end of next year, with the goal of eventually launching a US$602-million project east of Olds, Alta., to extract the critical mineral that goes into batteries for electric vehicles.
“Brine water that would have the lithium within it would be below those traditional, depleted oil and gas opportunities,” Jason Iwanika, Imperial’s director of commercial business development, said in an interview from Calgary. “As we learn from that piloting phase jointly, we can make decisions on commercial opportunities down the road.”
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