EMP METALS ANNOUNCES SUCCESSFUL DLE PILOT PROJECT AND PRODUCTION OF BATTERY GRADE LITHIUM CARBONATE; PROVIDES UPDATE ON PEA

December 5, 2023

Vancouver, British Columbia, December 5, 2023 EMP Metals Corp. (CSE: EMPS) (OTCQB: EMPPF) (“EMP Metals” or the “Company”) is pleased to report significant advancements and milestones of its lithium project: (i) successful results from a direct lithium extraction (“DLE”) pilot project, (ii) successful production of pure battery grade lithium carbonate, (iii) expected timing of direct lithium extraction field pilot, (iv) increased acreage in core operating area, and (v) update on the delivery of the Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA”). 

Direct Lithium Extraction: Pilot Test Results

Hub City Lithium Corp. (“HCL”), a subsidiary company to EMP, has successfully completed a large-scale pilot using the ILiAD DLE Platform developed by Energy Source Minerals (“ESM”), a privately held process technology company focusing on Direct Lithium Extraction in North America. The pilot, which processed 87,000 litres of brine from the Viewfield project area, successfully recovered 8,300 litres of concentrated eluent with an average lithium concentration of 1,430 mg/L (representing a 7.5x concentration from the feed brine provided).  An average lithium recovery of >90% and an impurity rejection rate of 99.62% were also verified by ESM.  HCL plans to ship the highly concentrated eluent to a 3rd party for refinement into battery grade Lithium Carbonate.

Production of Battery Grade Lithium Carbonate

HCL has confirmed successful production of 99.95% pure battery grade lithium carbonate (Li2CO3), the Company’s first brine-to-battery-grade lithium carbonate production. 

Saltworks Technologies Inc. (“Saltworks”), a global leader in designing and delivering industrial wastewater treatment and lithium refinement solutions, saw brine sourced from wells in HCL’s Viewfield project area refined into battery grade lithium carbonate. The Viewfield lithium-containing brine represents the highest concentrations of lithium discovered in Canada to date with minimal pretreatment requirements.

After DLE, the eluent was refined into battery-grade chemicals at Saltworks’ headquarters in British Columbia. This work was executed with Saltworks’ proprietary concentrating, refining, and converting technology and expert technical team, employing novel technology that lowers the cost and greenhouse gas impact of lithium chemical production.

This project tested and de-risked the end-to-end flow sheet, resulting in multiple samples of battery-grade lithium carbonate, which have been analyzed and validated by an independent 3rd party laboratory.  The captured data enables the acceleration of a full-scale plant design and dispatch.  Details below.

Chemical Analysis Summary

  Battery Grade Spec – Li2CO3Produced Li2CO3
Li2CO3wt%99.5%99.95%
H2Owt%<0.5%<0.05%
Nawt%<0.05%0.0146%
Cawt%<0.04%0.0027%
Fewppm<5<5
Alwppm<10<5
Cuwppm<5<5
Niwppm<6<2.5
Clwt%<0.01%<0.002%
SO4wt%<0.1%0.0129%

Note: Independent laboratory testing was conducted by Kemetco Research Inc. (Richmond, British Columbia)

Abbreviations: Li2CO3, Lithium Carbonate; H2O, Water; Na, Sodium; Ca, Calcium; Cl, Chlorine; SO4, Sulphate; Fe, Iron; Al, Aluminum; Cu, Copper; Ni, Nickel; Wt%, Weight Percentage; Wppm, Weight Parts per Million; Mg/l, Milligrams per Litre

Rob Gamley, CEO of EMP Metals, commented “The results of our DLE to battery grade lithium project exceeded expectations. Our partnership with Saltworks has proven to be a powerful collaboration, setting the stage for future advancements in the Canadian lithium industry. This achievement fuels our confidence in a dynamic future for all involved and the Canadian mineral sector.”

Megan Low, Saltworks Technologies VP of Process Solutions Lithium & Industrial Water, commented, “The Saltworks team is proud to continue to support EMP Metals and ROK Resources to develop an important Canadian brine-to-battery chemicals project. We’ve been impressed by EMP Metals’ methodical but rapid approach to take the right steps to de-risk their project and merge commercial innovations into their flowsheet that improve economics and scalability.”

Viewfield Field Pilot

HCL is currently undergoing a Treatability Study (“Study”) with Koch Technology Solutions (“KTS”) to test 1,000 litres of feed brine from the Viewfield project area. The Study is in preparation for a DLE field pilot (one of the first in Saskatchewan) on the HCL well that previously tested 258 mg/L of lithium. The pilot, scheduled to begin in Q1 2024, will treat Viewfield brine and convert it into a highly concentrated lithium chloride eluent. It is expected to run for 3 to 4 months and will operate 24/7, processing approximately 6,500 – 9,000 litres of feed brine per day.

Viewfield Acreage Purchase

At the November 2023 Crown Public Offering HCL increased its land holdings in its Viewfield project area by 4,065 net acres (7% increase) to 59,000 net acres (23,900 hectares), for total consideration of $1.17 million.

HCL now holds greater than 196,000 net acres (79,300 net hectares) of Subsurface Dispositions and numerous strategic wellbores in Southern Saskatchewan. 

Preliminary Economic Assessment Update

The PEA, which focuses on a Phase 1 development at Viewfield, is nearing completion with anticipated final approvals and release in January 2024. The release delay can be attributed to capital and operating cost adjustments within the PEA, a result of the ongoing Viewfield brine testing and processing with multiple DLE vendors.

Lithium Brine Properties Joint Venture

The lithium brine properties consist of more than 196,000 net acres (79,300 net hectares) of Subsurface Crown Mineral Dispositions in the Williston basin of Southern Saskatchewan. 

EMP holds 75% of the joint venture with ROK Resources Inc. (ROK.V) holding the balance. 

Qualified Person

The technical content of this news release has been reviewed and approved by Greg Bronson, P. Geo., a qualified person for the purposes of National Instrument 43-101.

About Saltworks

Saltworks Technologies is a global leader in designing and delivering industrial wastewater treatment and lithium refinement solutions. Saltworks’ best-in-class systems are built around our core principles: scalable modularity and smart digitization. From its headquarters in Richmond, BC, Canada, Saltworks designs, builds and operates full-scale plants, and offers comprehensive onsite and offsite testing and pilot services.

For more information, please contact us via info@saltworkstech.com, or visit our website: www.saltworkstech.com for more information. 

About EMP Metals

EMP Metals is a Canadian-based lithium exploration and development company focused on large scale resources using direct lithium extraction (“DLE”).  EMP Metals, in partnership with ROK Resources Inc., currently holds 196,000 net (79,300 hectares) acres of Subsurface Dispositions and strategic wellbores in Southern Saskatchewan.  For more information, please go to the Company’s website at www.empmetals.com

For more information, please contact:

Rob Gamley, President & CEO

rob@empmetals.com

Phone: 1-604-689-7422

Forward-Looking Statements

Information set forth in this news release contains forward-looking statements that are based on assumptions as of the date of this news release. These statements reflect management’s current estimates, beliefs, intentions and expectations. They are not guarantees of future performance. EMP Metals cautions that all forward-looking statements are inherently uncertain, and that actual performance may be affected by a number of material factors, many of which are beyond EMP Metals’ control. Such factors include, among other things: risks and uncertainties relating to EMP Metals’ limited operating history, ability to obtain sufficient financing to carry out its exploration and development objectives on its mineral properties, obtaining the necessary permits to carry out its activities and the need to comply with environmental and governmental regulations.  Accordingly, actual and future events, conditions and results may differ materially from the estimates, beliefs, intentions and expectations expressed or implied in the forward-looking information. Except as required under applicable securities legislation, EMP Metals undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise forward-looking information.

Neither the Canadian Securities Exchange (“CSE”) nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the CSE) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this news release.

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