MGX to recover lithium used in batteries from Marcellus shale water

By Luke Geiver | March 06, 2019

MGX Minerals Inc. intends to recover lithium from produced water generated across the Marcellus shale play on the eastern U.S. The Canadian-based company has created a system that can separate lithium from brine water produced during the drilling or production of unconventional oil and gas. Eureka Resources, a water management company that has been working in the Marcellus since 2013, will partner with MGX.

According to MGX, the company has developed a rapid lithium extraction technology, “that eliminates or greatly reduces the physical footprint and investment needed for large, multi-phase, lake-sized, lined evaporation ponds,” adding that its technology works better than solar evaporation techniques often used for various brines. The MGX technology relies on nanofiltration technology that involves replaceable skin layer membranes used to filter brine streams.

The technology was chosen as winner of the Base and Specialty Metals Industry Leadership Award at the 2018 S&P Global Platts Global Metals Awards. It has also been independently confirmed by the Saskatchewan Research Council.

Through a joint venture, MGX will install its petrolithium technology at wastewater treatment facilities in the Marcellus or Utica that are operated by Eureka.

MGX believes by 2020 the demand for lithium for cell phone and other technology batteries will outstrip the supply. There is no shortage of lithium in the world, the company said, but the time to mine for it and bring it online for use is roughly a two to five-year cycle.

Eureka currently has three facilities set up for oil and gas producers in the eastern U.S.