Vancouver company obtains positive results in process of extracting metals from petcoke

After receiving positive results from petcoke samples obtained from Alberta oil sands and refinery sales stockpiles of available petcoke, MGX Minerals (CSE: XMG) said that it will proceed with its previously announced partnership with Highbury Energy to develop a detailed thermochemical gasification process to extract nickel, vanadium, cobalt and hydrogen from petroleum coke.

In detail, the plan is to generate hydrogen gas and concentrate metals in the form of ash byproduct. Since petcoke is itself a carbon byproduct of the oil refining process, it concentrates the denser impurities found in the base material, which is bitumen. Such impurities are usually the aforementioned metals and sulphur compounds the companies are aiming to extract.

In a press release issued Friday, MGX explained that the oil sands sample yielded 421 ppm of vanadium, 4.8 ppm of cobalt and 76.8 ppm of nickel. The second sample, obtained from the stockpiles, yielded 458 ppm of vanadium, 1.3 ppm of cobalt and 53.4 ppm of nickel.

"Further analysis of concentrate post-gasification ash samples is now underway with ash amounting to 3% of oil sands petcoke by weight and less than 1% of the refinery petcoke sample. It is expected that the concentrations of metals will directly correspond with the reduction in material, approximately 30x and over 100x, respectively. Analyses of the ash concentrate are expected shortly," management said in the media statement.

MGX also announced that Phase II of the study is currently being completed by Highbury and will include analyses of potential site locations, most likely in Alberta where petcoke inventories were estimated in 106 million tonnes in 2016. The second phase would also study the inclusion of pilot scale gasification, advanced metals extraction process design and initial plant design parameters, the company revealed.