FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The collaboration of Geoscience BC, Northern Development, Lithium Bank and the Geological Survey of Canada could find new diversification opportunities for the economy in Northeast B.C.

The NEBC Lithium – Formation Water Database project will evaluate lithium concentrations, as well as other elements, in saltwater brines in the regions formations by taking water samples from existing oil and gas wells.

The samples will be analyzed before being put into a database and maps for the sampled formations, including lithium concentration maps.

“Northern Development is pleased to support a project that could result in significant long term economic benefits in the region,” said Joel McKay, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust.

“As demand for electric vehicles continues to grow so does the demand for lithium and the potential to create a new industry while utilizing the infrastructure and a highly trained workforce that already exists within the Northeast region.”

Similar research in Alberta and Saskatchewan has shown the potential to extract lithium from brines, which brings significant economic development and investment. While Northeast B.C. shares similar geology, no projects have been done in the region.

A team from Canadian Discovery and Matrix Solutions has identified a list of existing natural gas wells, and is in talks with operators to get access to samples. The team hopes to collect hundreds of samples from as many as 12 different subsurface formations.

According to a release, communities and Indigenous groups in the region have been informed and encouraged to give feedback on the project.

A report from World Bank suggests demand for metals and minerals like lithium that are used in clean energy technologies, is expected to grow by 500 per cent by 2050. The Canadian government has identified lithium as one of 31 critical minerals for the sustainable economic success of Canada and its allies.

“Lithium is critical for the battery supply chain and electric vehicle revolution, and plays a key role in our fight against climate change,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources Canada. “This project is the type of innovative research that pushes the envelope to create a pathway to net zero that will create jobs and economic opportunity.”

Canadian Discovery is in the process of reaching out to operators of natural gas and oil wells in the area. If your organization would like to take part in the program, contact Christa Williams at Canadian Discovery.