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On Tuesday, EnergySource Minerals, a privately-held California-headquartered lithium extraction technology company, announced a new round of investment led by Schlumberger New Energy (a division of global energy services and equipment giant Schlumberger that invests in emerging, lower-carbon energy startups) along with TechMet Ltd.

The Schlumberger New Energy investment includes a strategic partnership to accelerate the deployment of EnergySource’s ILiAD lithium extraction platform and integrate it into the front end of the process used by NeoLith Energy, a Schlumberger New Energy venture. The platform has been piloted at demonstration scale for over six years on a variety of real-world brines. Schlumberger will scale up testing at NeoLith Energy’s pilot plant in Nevada with plans to deploy it globally.

EnergySource Minerals developed the ILiAD technology for its lithium extraction operation at the John L. Featherstone Geothermal Power Plant in the Salton Sea. The platform maximizes lithium extraction from brines in a closed-loop environment, which it says results in “disruptive reduction” in time, cost, and environmental impact compared with alternative methods. According to EnergySource Minerals, ILiAD is best-in-class among direct lithium extraction technologies. It is commercially ready for immediate deployment, dramatically reduces water footprint, does not consume reagents, demonstrates order-of-magnitude longer operating life, and yields the highest lithium recovery rates. The company says it also enables the development of new classes of brine resources for the production of additional minerals, such as manganese and zinc.

“Schlumberger conducted extensive research and due diligence into our operations. Its investment is a validation of our disruptive ILiAD technology and the demand for cleaner, domestically sourced lithium,” added Spomer. “As well, we are delighted to add TechMet as a strategic partner. Their expertise across project development, financing, marketing and supply-chain management, together with its global network and position will bring considerable commercial and strategic value to EnergySource Minerals as we look to deploy our ILiAD technology in new markets.”

“Energy Source Minerals’ technology shows great promise as an efficient, economical, and environmentally friendly solution for lithium extraction from brines,” Schlumberger New Energy President Gavin Rennick said. “We are excited by the opportunities to scale up this solution to support the increased demand for lithium, motivated by the electric vehicle industry’s growth ambitions.”

As the world transitions to a clean energy economy, lithium demand is increasing dramatically. Currently, lithium mining has a high environmental cost and a dependence on just a few countries worldwide. EnergySource Minerals and its partners say that technology change is required to leverage a broader, more sustainable resource base to address the requirements of countries committed to a cleaner future.

“We need a monumental ramp-up of lithium production to meet the global demand from EVs and the renewable energy transition,” said TechMet Chairman and CEO Brian Menell, “EnergySource Minerals’ pioneering DLE technology has the potential to scale lithium production globally while minimizing environmental impacts and we are hugely excited to be supporting the development of its first commercial operation on the Salton Sea.”

TechMet, which co-led the investment round, is a privately held company that invests across the lithium-ion battery metal supply chain, including production, processing, and recycling. TechMet’s major shareholders include the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation and the global energy trader Mercuria, and their advisory board is led by Admiral Mike Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Presidents G.W. Bush and Obama.

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