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In 2011 Peter Epstein, CFA, left a $3 billion hedge fund where he was a senior natural resources analyst to help increase awareness of a number of natural resource companies in which he's invested in. 

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Pure Energy Minerals (HMGLF), Access to 2 Cutting-Edge Technologies, a Force to be Reckoned With

Date: Thursday, December 3, 2015 7:30 AM EDT

I couldn’t have said it better myself. How can I explain this technology to my intelligent, but possibly less technically oriented readers? Enter stage right Mr. Andy Robinson, Ph.D. COO of Pure Energy. Andy, can you please explain, in layperson’s terms, the above quoted paragraphs? Thank you.

Brine (salty groundwater) is pumped from underground and filtered to remove magnesium and calcium. It’s then mixed with a proprietary solvent that selectively removes only the lithium. The lithium in the brine combines with the solvent, even at low concentrations (as low as 20 ppm). The solvent is then moved into settling tanks where it is collected. The lithium is removed from the solvent, and processed into high purity battery materials such as lithium hydroxide. Now that the solvent has no remaining lithium in it, it’s available to be recycled and used again. The process is continuous, takes less than a day, and the lithium-free brine would be re-injected back into the ground, providing a uniquely sustainable, low energy intensive, and truly green solution.”

POSCO’s Lithium Separation Technology (PKX)

There’s less information in the public domain on POSCO’s proposed high efficiency lithium brine extraction technology. POSCO is obviously a giant global company that by all accounts wants to be a major vertically integrated player in lithium compounds and metal alloys. Despite a paucity of public news, it’s known that the technology delivered strong results at its fully self-financed demonstration plant in Argentina. POSCO’s demo plant has an operating capacity of 200 metric tonnes, “Mt,” per year of LCE. Continuous operating rates were achieved through a test period that ended in January 2015. During that period, in excess of 20 Mt of lithium compound was produced and exported to POSCO’s pilot plant in Korea, where it was further processed into battery grade lithium carbonate & lithium hydroxide. [Awesome video here]

POSCO asserts that its high efficiency lithium extraction technology has numerous advantages compared to traditional lithium brine evaporation technology. Specifically, it produces lithium considerably more quickly, minimizes the environmental footprint associated with massive solar evaporation ponds, and has a recovery rate of roughly 80%. That’s about twice the recovery rate of brine evaporation technology. Like Tenova Bateman’s LiSX technology, POSCO’s methodology has additional, similar advantages over brine evaporation and hard rock mining. Closely evaluating two lithium extracting technologies begs the question, how are they different and why continue moving forward with both? I posed that question to Mr. Robert Mintak, CEO & Director of Pure Energy Minerals, his response, quote,

“Solar evaporation ponds are inefficient and have a huge environmental footprint. Combining that with large capital costs and climate risk, they have no place in the clean energy supply chain. For a good part of the past five years I have focused a significant amount of time and effort researching brine processing technologies and building strategic relationships with companies whose technologies show the best likelihood for commercial success. POSCO and Bateman Advanced Technology are head and shoulders above anyone else. Pure Energy is fortunate to be able to work with both BAT and POSCO. Both technologies address the primary requirements we seek in Clayton Valley; 1. Greatly improved recovery efficiency, double that of evaporation ponds, 2. Smaller foot print, no ponds, 3. Weather independent, BAT with solvent extraction and POSCO through a chemical reagent process, both achieve these goals through proprietary processes. Which technology may prove to work best in Nevada? That is the work we are undertaking now, with the goal of producing our PEA in Q2 2016.”

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