Livent opts out of E3 Metals joint development agreement

E3 Lithium says its Bashaw district is among the world’s biggest lithium brine projects. Credit: E3 Lithium

US-based lithium technology group Livent has decided to opt out of the joint development agreement it signed with E3 Metals (TSXV: ETMC), citing resource and capital allocation considerations.

Although opting out, Livent has expressed confidence in E3 Metals’ direct lithium extraction (DLE) technology and the Leduc aquifer in Alberta.

“Our decision does not reflect a view on the likely success of E3 in developing the Leduc Formation,” Paul Graves, CEO of Livent, commented in a press release.

Despite opting out of the existing agreement, Livent has indicated its interest to E3 Metals in working together to further advance the technology under a different deal structure.

Significant achievements have been made in advancing the technology towards commercialization and the foundation is solidly in place to complete the process, E3 Metals said.

The Calgary testing facility is set to open in early 2021, and work will continue towards construction and operation of the field pilot plant

The company plans to commercialize the developments completed through the partnership with Livent, and will continue to deploy the DLE technology as planned.

As specified in the agreement with Livent, all licenses and rights to the technology will be retained and returned entirely to E3 Metals. In addition, the company has benefitted from the advancement in the technology and the C$2 million contributed by Livent, including over C$450,000 of capital not spent to date.

Furthermore, E3 Metals will no longer be obligated to issue Livent 19.9% of its share capital, represented by approximately 7.93 million shares to be issued on top of 594,068 warrants currently held by Livent. The warrants will be returned to treasury for cancellation.

The remaining development work will continue as scheduled, E3 Metals president and CEO Chris Doornbos assured.

The Calgary testing facility is set to open in early 2021, according to E3 Metals, and work will continue towards construction and operation of the field pilot plant.

A recent preliminary economic assessment (PEA) on the company’s Clearwater project in Alberta estimated an yearly production of 20,000 tonnes of battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate (LHM) over a 20-year period.

Shares of E3 Metals plunged 22.7% by 1:30 p.m. EST Friday, bringing the company’s market capitalization down to around C$30.2 million.

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