Uranium One Group to acquire a controlling stake in Wealth Mineral's lithium project in Chile
Wealth Minerals Ltd. announced that it has signed a strategic memorandum of understanding with Uranium One Group that will allow Uranium One Group to acquire up to a 51 percent ownership interest in the company’s Atacama lithium project, an approximately 46,200 hectare licensed position located in the Atacama Salar in Region II of Antofagasta, northern Chile.
The MOU provides for a due diligence period during which U1G can conduct technical, geological, legal, tax, financial and other due diligence on the Atacama Project, at U1G’s expense. The MOU gives U1G the right to match the terms of any proposed alternative transaction.
The MOU provides for increased co-operation between the parties for the development of the lithium projects. Such development is expected to include, among other things, the application of Uranium One Group’s ecologically friendly sorption lithium extraction technology.
“The lithium industry’s future growth is about the profound changes happening in the way the world uses energy,” Tim McCutcheon, president of Wealth Minerals said. “Wealth Mineral’s team has invested significant time in studying and evaluating the best methodologies for developing its lithium assets, with a view to avoid using solar evaporation. Partnering with U1G will help Wealth accelerate the development of lithium projects by using modern technology and moving away from outdated solar evaporation to a more efficient and environmentally friendly sorption technology.”
Lithium production operations that utilize salars (underground brine reservoirs) typically use solar evaporation as the major part of the lithium recovery process. While this process has a low operating expense and is technologically simple, it also requires significant land for ponds in which lithium brine, after subsurface pumping, is placed for drying. Additionally, water in the brine is evaporated into the atmosphere, lost from the locality forever. In extremely dry areas like the high Andes Mountains, where most lithium brine operations are located, solar evaporation is seen as having long-term sustainability issues. There are several new technologies for recovering lithium from brine, however, most of these technologies have negative points in their methodology which have stalled their commercial implementation.
U1G provides a lithium extraction technology for processing lithium-bearing brine material which uses a reusable catalyst material to attract lithium out of brine, thus eliminating the need for solar evaporation. Using this sorption technology greatly reduces the physical footprint typically needed in a solar evaporation operation, specifically large, multi-phase, lined evaporation ponds. Its technology also enhances the quality of lithium extraction and recovery levels as compared to traditional solar evaporation. Lastly, after lithium recovery, the brine can then be pumped back into the salar, helping to ensure long-term operational and environmental viability.
Uranium Group One is a global energy company and one of the world’s largest uranium producers, with a diverse portfolio of assets worldwide, including in Kazakhstan, the United States, Tanzania and elsewhere. U1G is committed to the highest environmental standards, the health and safety of its employees and the long-term sustainability of the diverse communities across the globe in which it operates. See: http://www.uranium1.com/.