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General Motors Moves Further into Mining with $50M Investment in Lithium Tech Startup

General Motors just announced it will invest in lithium technology startup EnergyX as it expands into mining, marking the automaker’s latest effort to secure a long-term supply of the metals used in electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

Lithium, copper, nickel, and other minerals are in high demand as automakers electrify their fleets worldwide. By the end of the decade, demand will exceed supply, spurring interest in alternate manufacturing methods.

Privately-held EnergyX is one of several companies exploring direct lithium extraction (DLE) methods that could help GM purify metal for its Ultium battery packs from brine that the mining industry has mostly overlooked in favor of evaporation ponds and open-pit mines.

GM scientists will help EnergyX commercialize DLE technology. GM says that DLE could be the most efficient way to get lithium out of brine.

The automaker intends to lead a $50 million Series B round of financing for EnergyX and contribute to its future expansion in North and South America. 

GM may be able to skip lithium refining, a key supply-chain bottleneck, if EnergyX’s brine-to-lithium metal process works.

In January, GM spent $650 million to become Lithium Americas Corp largest stakeholder. The company will invest in privately held Controlled Thermal Resources Ltd. (CTR) in 2021 to construct a southern California geothermal brine project employing DLE technology.

GM’s investment in EnergyX comes after Bolivian regulators prevented the company from participating in a DLE selection process last year. EnergyX is building demonstration sites in Argentina, Chile, California, Arkansas, and Utah. Potential clients would test EnergyX’s technology with brine from their acreage before signing a development agreement.

Producing High Purity, Battery Grade Lithium Products

Another company that has created a proprietary Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) technique is E3 Lithium Ltd (TSXV:ETL) (OTCQX:EEMMF), a mineral property resource company, focused on the development of its significant mineral resource in Alberta, Canada.

E3 Lithium is moving forward with the construction of its field pilot project, which is being designed to demonstrate ion-exchange direct lithium extraction technology in real-world operating conditions.t. E3 intends to considerably derisk its Alberta lithium project by demonstrating the process at a pilot scale as it moves closer to the projected commercial scale of 20,000 tonnes/year of lithium hydroxide monohydrate production. 

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) recently authorized E3 Lithium‘s Facility Application for its 2023 field pilot plant. The AER license allows E3 to construct and operate the equipment needed to execute the direct lithium extraction pilot, which is set to begin operations in Q3 2023.

The prototype plant will be located in E3‘s Clearwater Project Area, east of the Town of Olds, at the first well drilled in E3‘s 2022 first drill program. On February 2, 2023, E3 released the parameters and timing for the field pilot. 

The field pilot is on track, and site building and pre-operations will start at the beginning of May. E3 has been developing many alternative flow sheets, and the pilot will examine multiple lithium extraction processes to find the optimum commercial design. More information, including the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of the process systems, will be made available prior to pilot operations.

Throughout 2023, E3 will provide updates on its field pilot.

E3 Lithium recently upgraded its mineral resource to Measured and Indicated (M&I), which includes 6.6 million tonnes (Mt) of measured lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) and 9.4 Mt of indicated LCE, for a total of 16.0 Mt M&I.

According to data from Natural Resources Canada, Canada presently has 3.2 Mt of M&I lithium resources in hard rock deposits meaning E3’s 16.0 Mt of LCE is Canada’s largest M&I mineral resource. 

E3 Lithium recently released its fourth quarter and 2022 financial results. Last year’s highlights included receiving $27 million from the Government of Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund, completing a $5 million strategic agreement with Imperial Oil, and signing a memorandum of understanding with Pure Lithium, which produced a lithium metal battery using E3‘s lithium concentrate. 

Over the past year, E3 Lithium successfully manufactured its first batch commercial scale sorbent, which is essential to the success and commercialization of its ion-exchange DLE technology, and drilled the first two brine production wells at the Clearwater Project to evaluate lithium and sampled three wells, confirming the aquifer’s producibility and lithium concentrations in its proposed production area.

The Company has filed its E3 Lithium 43-101 Technical Report: Lithium Resource Estimate, Bashaw District Project, Central Alberta.

For more information about E3 Lithium Ltd (TSXV:ETL) (OTCQX:EEMMF), please visit this link or their website at

Featured Image @ Depositphotos


1) The author of the Article, or members of the author’s immediate household or family, do not own any securities of the companies set forth in this Article. The author determined which companies would be included in this article based on research and understanding of the sector.

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6) This document contains forward-looking information and forward-looking statements, within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation, (collectively, “forward-looking statements”), which reflect management’s expectations regarding E3 Lithium Ltd.’s future growth, future business plans and opportunities, expected activities, and other statements about future events, results or performance. Wherever possible, words such as “predicts”, “projects”, “targets”, “plans”, “expects”, “does not expect”, “budget”, “scheduled”, “estimates”, “forecasts”, “anticipate” or “does not anticipate”, “believe”, “intend” and similar expressions or statements that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might” or “will” be taken, occur or be achieved, or the negative or grammatical variation thereof or other variations thereof, or comparable terminology have been used to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements include, among other things, statements relating to: (a) revenue generating potential with respect to E3 Lithium Ltd.’s industry; (b) market opportunity; (c) E3 Lithium Ltd.’s business plans and strategies; (d) services that E3 Lithium Ltd. intends to offer; (e) E3 Lithium Ltd.’s milestone projections and targets; (f) E3 Lithium Ltd.’s expectations regarding receipt of approval for regulatory applications; (g) E3 Lithium Ltd.’s intentions to expand into other jurisdictions including the timeline expectations relating to those expansion plans; and (h) E3 Lithium Ltd.’s expectations with regarding its ability to deliver shareholder value. Forward-looking statements are not a guarantee of future performance and are based upon a number of estimates and assumptions of management in light of management’s experience and perception of trends, current conditions and expected developments, as well as other factors that management believes to be relevant and reasonable in the circumstances, as of the date of this document including, without limitation, assumptions about: (a) the ability to raise any necessary additional capital on reasonable terms to execute E3 Lithium Ltd.’s business plan; (b) that general business and economic conditions will not change in a material adverse manner; (c) E3 Lithium Ltd.’s ability to procure equipment and operating supplies in sufficient quantities and on a timely basis; (d) E3 Lithium Ltd.’s ability to enter into contractual arrangements with additional Pharmacies; (e) the accuracy of budgeted costs and expenditures; (f) E3 Lithium Ltd.’s ability to attract and retain skilled personnel; (g) political and regulatory stability; (h) the receipt of governmental, regulatory and third-party approvals, licenses and permits on favorable terms; (i) changes in applicable legislation; (j) stability in financial and capital markets; and (k) expectations regarding the level of disruption to as a result of CV-19. Such forward-looking information involves a variety of known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual plans, intentions, activities, results, performance or achievements of E3 Lithium Ltd. to be materially different from any future plans, intentions, activities, results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such risks include, without limitation: (a) E3 Lithium Ltd.’s operations could be adversely affected by possible future government legislation, policies and controls or by changes in applicable laws and regulations; (b) public health crises such as CV-19 may adversely impact E3 Lithium Ltd.’s business; (c) the volatility of global capital markets; (d) political instability and changes to the regulations governing E3 Lithium Ltd.’s business operations (e) E3 Lithium Ltd. may be unable to implement its growth strategy; and (f) increased competition.

Except as required by law, E3 Lithium Ltd. undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future event or otherwise, after the date on which the statements are made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. Neither does E3 Lithium Ltd. nor any of its representatives make any representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the accuracy, sufficiency or completeness of the information in this document. Neither E3 Lithium Ltd. nor any of its representatives shall have any liability whatsoever, under contract, tort, trust or otherwise, to you or any person resulting from the use of the information in this document by you or any of your representatives or for omissions from the information in this document.

7) Any graphs, tables or other information demonstrating the historical performance or current or historical attributes of E3 Lithium Ltd. or any other entity contained in this document are intended only to illustrate historical performance or current or historical attributes of E3 Lithium Ltd. or such entities and are not necessarily indicative of future performance of E3 Lithium Ltd. or such entities.

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