Eye on Lithium: ‘Unconventional’ — US researcher reckons oil and gas plays could produce lithium by-product
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All your ASX lithium news for Wednesday, May 18
The University of Houston’s has flagged the potential of petroleum-based rock brines as a new source of lithium.
It sounds paradoxical that producing oil and gas from shale reservoirs could actually help the world transition to cleaner energy sources, but UH’s Cullen College of Engineering assistant professor of petroleum engineering Kyung Jae Lee says her research on Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale play found that highly concentrated lithium was found in the water produced as a by-product during the extraction of oil and natural gas.
“We found lithium in the petroleum-based rock brines, which opens new pathways to address the shale plays as a substantial source of lithium, given that they are ubiquitous in the U.S.,” she said.
Lee is working with a Pennsylvania-based lithium processing company that is purchasing the produced water from the oil and gas companies operating in Marcellus Shale and extracting lithium from it.
“The U.S. has only one active brine mine to produce lithium so there’s a push to get critical minerals like lithium from unconventional or existing sources, that’s what we’re trying to figure out, so it’s timely research,” Lee said.
As a petroleum engineer, Lee is concerned about climate change and wants to use her academic and professional background to help with the energy transition.
“We want to use our knowledge of petroleum engineering to contribute to the clean energy transition by providing creative new solutions such as the one that we are pursuing in our research—harnessing critical minerals from natural petroleum systems,” she said.
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A total of 77 stocks were in the green today, with 20 flatlining and only 24 in the red.
The explorer has acquired another tenement prospective for lithium in the Pilbara, which CEO Julian Ford said is a “very important milestone for the advancement of our new lithium discovery objectives at Riversgold.”
“Our initial results at Tambourah have been impressive to date with lithium grades in pegmatite outcrop up to 2% Li2O, and we look forward to accelerating our exploration efforts here with the aim of drilling our key targets as soon as possible,” he said.
A follow up field program will kick off in early June to determine lithium mineralisation potential of the remainder of the tenure.
Zenith has recommenced drilling at the Waratah Well lithium project in WA.
The project is part of its joint venture with EV Metals Group. Initial drilling program has confirmed the presence of widespread lithium bearing pegmatite dykes over a 4km zone.
“This, coupled with the planned program to accelerate exploration activity at Split Rocks, demonstrates the continued commitment of our joint venture partner, EV Metals Group, to extensively explore across both our lithium projects pursuant to the agreement executed in January 2022,” executive chairman David Ledger said.