Wealth Receives Positive Results from Tenova Advanced Technologies Process Study for the Laguna Verde Project in Chile

Test Work Demonstrates that Tenova Advanced Technologies’ Process Technology can be Successfully Applied to the Laguna Verde Surface Brines

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE….Vancouver, British Columbia: Wealth Minerals Ltd. (the “Company” or “Wealth”) – (TSXV: WML; OTCQB: WMLLF; SSE: WMLCL; Frankfurt: EJZN) announces that it has received positive results from its previously announced process test work undertaken by Tenova Advanced Technologies (“TAT”) on samples from the Laguna Verde project (“Laguna Verde” or the “Project”). According to TAT’s results, the laboratory test work demonstrates that the LiP™ and LiSX™ processes for lithium extraction (Figure 1) can be applied successfully to the Laguna Verde surface brine.

“The surface brines at Laguna Verde represent a potential target for lithium production and these results will be important as we continue to evaluate production options,” stated Henk van Alphen, Wealth’s CEO, “With a known surface brine and considerable potential for additional subsurface brines, the Laguna Verde project is unique. While we continue to evaluate options for processing surface brines, we also plan to drill subsurface brine targets generated from recently completed geophysical surveys.”

Objectives and Results

Wealth retained TAT to conduct laboratory test work on a 50-liter surface brine sample from the Laguna Verde project.  The Laguna Verde brine was analyzed at approximately 220 mg/l of lithium, with calcium and magnesium being the major contaminants. Pretreatment is required in order to remove calcium and magnesium and to increase the pH of the solution.

Stage I (a) Pretreatment:  The objective of this stage was to evaluate the feasibility of utilizing the membrane based LiP™ process, as a pretreatment stage, to eliminate calcium and magnesium from the Laguna Verde brine solution.

The test work demonstrated that TAT’s LiP™ process could be successfully applied to Laguna Verde surface brines.  Approximately 88% of the calcium and 97% of the magnesium from the brine solution were removed in a two-pass system.

Stage I (b) Lithium RecoveryThe objective of this stage was to evaluate the feasibility of recovering lithium as Li₂SO₄ from a pretreated feed solution using a solvent extraction (“SX”) process and to estimate the purity and the recovery yield of the product.  The target purity of the LiSX™ was set at 99.5% or higher.

The test work demonstrated that TAT’s LiSX™ process for extraction of lithium from its aqueous solutions can be applied successfully to the Laguna Verde surface brine.  The process succeeded in producing a Li₂SO₄ solution with purity greater than 99.9% and lithium recovery of approximately 100% is assumed since lithium in the waste stream was below the 3mg/l detection limit.

Stage II Cost Estimates:  TAT has also been retained to complete an order of magnitude cost estimate study which will evaluate the capital expenditure and operating expenses for producing 20,000 tons per annum lithium carbonate equivalent (“LCE”) of LiOH·H₂O from Laguna Verde.  Following positive results from Stage I, the Stage II order of magnitude study is expected to be initiated and results from same will be reported in due course.

Figure 1: TAT Process Block Diagram.  The work just completed included LiPTM and LiSXTM processes.  

Qualified Persons

Mr. Keith Henderson, PGeo, is a qualified person as defined by National Instrument 43-101.  Mr. Henderson has reviewed the scientific and technical information relating to exploration at Laguna Verde contained in this news release and has approved the disclosure herein.  Mr. Henderson is not independent of the Company as he is a shareholder and holds incentive stock options.

Mr. John Hiner, a licensed geologist in the state of Washington and SME registered member, is an independent qualified person as defined by NI 43-101.  Mr. Hiner has reviewed the scientific and technical information relating to the TAT processing results contained within this news release and has approved the disclosure herein.

About TAT, TAKRAF and Tenova

TAT, which has been recently integrated into TAKRAF, offers differentiated, project-specific process technologies based on decades of research, equipment design and project execution.  Advanced solutions include solvent extraction (SX) for hydrometallurgical and bio processing, electrowinning (EW), membrane circuits, in-house state-of-the-art R&D facilities, expertise in minerals beneficiation and in phosphate processing from ore to purified phosphoric acid and salts.

TAT has developed processing solutions for the lithium industry and works closely with producing and project development companies.  Of relevance to Laguna Verde, TAT has developed;

  • a process for physical removal of alkaline earth elements (such as calcium and magnesium) from the brine using membranes (LiP™)
  • a comprehensive liquid-liquid solvent extraction process for the recovery and production of lithium sulphate solution (Li₂SO₄) (LiSX™)
  • an electrolysis process (LiEL™) followed by crystallization and drying for the production of highly pure Lithium Hydroxide Monohydrate (LiOH·H₂O).

TAKRAF is a leading global mining, bulk material handling, minerals processing and beneficiation specialist and is a Tenova Group company.  Further information can be found at www.takraf.tenova.com.

Tenova S.p.A., a Techint Group company, is a worldwide partner for innovative, reliable and sustainable solutions in metals and mining.  Leveraging a workforce of over three thousand forward-thinking professionals located in 22 countries across 5 continents, Tenova designs technologies and develops services that help companies reduce costs, save energy, limit environmental impact and improve working conditions.  Further information can be found at www.tenova.com.

About Laguna Verde

Laguna Verde is comprised of 23 exploration mining concessions covering an area of approximately 2,438 hectares.  The Company has also acquired the option to additional mining exploration concessions surrounding the Project area, which together with the Laguna Verde concessions amounts to a sizeable land position of approximately 8,700 hectares.  The Project has two lithium brine targets.  Surface lake brines are contained within Laguna Verde itself, which has been the subject of the current TAT processing test work.

The surrounding property covers a larger basin varying between 400m and 1,000m in depth.  Conductivity variations within the interpreted basin suggest the presence at depth of saline groundwater (potential brine) in lateral proximity to the surface body of water at an interpreted depth of 200 to 300m, with the strongest response at the western end of the lake.  A zone of low resistivity is also observed at depth to the northeast of the lake, representing perhaps a (partially) separated volume of saline groundwater.  Initial results suggest up to three shallow drill targets in close proximity to Laguna Verde (200 to 300m from surface) and an additional drill target to test the interpreted deeper brine to the northeast (>400m from surface).

About Wealth Minerals Ltd.

Wealth is a mineral resource company with interests in Mexico, Peru and Chile.  The Company’s main focus is the acquisition and development of lithium projects in South America.  To date, the Company has positioned itself to develop the Aguas Calientes Norte, Pujsa and Quisquiro Salars in Chile (the Trinity project), as well as to work alongside existing producers in the prolific Atacama Salar, in addition to Laguna Verde.  The Company has also positioned itself to play a role in asset consolidation in Chile with the Five Salars project.

The Company continues to pursue new acquisitions in the region, the latest of which is the Seven Salars project and is moving to bring its projects forward into production.  Lithium market dynamics and a rapidly increasing metal price are the result of profound structural issues with the industry meeting anticipated future demand.  Wealth is positioning itself to be a major beneficiary of this expected future mismatch in supply and demand.  The Company also maintains and continues to evaluate a portfolio of precious and base metal exploration-stage projects.

For further details on the Company readers are referred to the Company’s website (www.wealthminerals.com) and its Canadian regulatory filings on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

On Behalf of the Board of Directors of

“Hendrik van Alphen”
Hendrik van Alphen
Chief Executive Officer

For further information, please contact:
Marla Ritchie
Phone: 604-331-0096 Ext. 3886 or 604-638-3886
E-mail: info@wealthminerals.com

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

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This news release contains forward-looking statements and forward-looking information (collectively, “forward-looking statements”) within the meaning of applicable Canadian and U.S. securities legislation, including the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  All statements, other than statements of historical fact, included herein including, without limitation, statements regarding the anticipated content, commencement, timing and cost of exploration and development programs in respect of Laguna Verde and otherwise, anticipated results from the exploration activities, the discovery and delineation of mineral deposits/resources/reserves on the Project, the anticipated business plans and timing of future activities of the Company and the Company’s expectation that it will be able to enter into agreements to develop its existing projects and to acquire interests in additional mineral properties, are forward-looking statements.  Although the Company believes that such statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct.  Forward-looking statements are typically identified by words such as: “believe”, “expect”, “anticipate”, “intend”, “estimate”, “postulate” and similar expressions, or are those, which, by their nature, refer to future events.  The Company cautions investors that any forward-looking statements by the Company are not guarantees of future results or performance, and that actual results may differ materially from those in forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including, issues raised during Stage II of TAT’s magnitude cost estimate study and any further exploration work conducted on the Laguna Verde, operating and technical difficulties in connection with mineral exploration and development activities, actual results of exploration activities, the estimation or realization of mineral reserves and mineral resources, the timing and amount of estimated future production, the costs of production, capital expenditures, the costs and timing of the development of new deposits, requirements for additional capital, future prices of lithium and precious metals, changes in general economic conditions, changes in the financial markets and in the demand and market price for commodities, labour disputes and other risks of the mining industry, delays in obtaining governmental approvals, permits or financing or in the completion of development or construction activities, changes in laws, regulations and policies affecting mining operations, title disputes, the inability of the Company to obtain any necessary permits, consents or authorizations required, including TSX-V acceptance of any current or future property acquisitions or financings and other planned activities, the timing and possible outcome of any pending litigation, environmental issues and liabilities, and risks related to joint venture operations, and other risks and uncertainties disclosed in the Company’s latest interim Management Discussion and Analysis and filed with certain securities commissions in Canada.  All of the Company’s Canadian public disclosure filings may be accessed via www.sedar.com and readers are urged to review these materials, including the technical reports filed with respect to the Company’s mineral properties.

Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.  The Company undertakes no obligation to update any of the forward-looking statements in this news release or incorporated by reference herein, except as otherwise required by law.

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