Clean lithium developer Lake Resources NL (ASX:LKE; OTC:LLKKF) announced today further progress towards the development of sustainable, high-purity lithium, following confirmation that Hazen Research Inc (Hazen), an independent assay laboratory, is well advanced in producing initial larger samples of battery quality lithium carbonate.

Initial samples are anticipated within 15-18 days, with more samples to follow progressively as brines are delivered and processed, according to the Colorado-based company. Hazen is conducting a thorough analysis to optimize the process for a superior product. The outcome will be beneficial as treatment is commenced of the larger samples in the near future.

Hazen is in the bulk precipitation phase, one of the final stages of producing initial larger lithium carbonate samples from the concentrated lithium chloride produced from Lilac’s lithium extraction pilot plant module in California, using brines from Lake’s Kachi Lithium Brine Project. Photos of some of the equipment used are attached (Figure 1).

The first larger samples will be despatched to Novonix Battery Technology Solutions, a Nova Scotia-based independent testing and development laboratory used by recognised battery makers, to produce NMC622-based lithium-ion battery test cells using Lake’s battery quality lithium carbonate.

Under the agreement with Novonix Limited (ASX:NVX), lithium carbonate samples provided by Lake will be used together with commercial battery cathode precursor materials to form an NMC622 cathode and battery (refer ASX announcement 27 August 2020). Novonix is currently developing ‘million mile’ battery technologies with revolutionary anode and cathode materials.

Lake has attracted growing international interest in its efforts to advance direct extraction technology, including an invitation-only presentation to leading German industry officials, together with the recent presentation to the ASX Small and Mid-Cap Conference 2020.

Lake’s Managing Director, Steve Promnitz said: “It’s exciting to be this close to delivering battery-quality lithium carbonate from a well-regarded lab as Hazen. Hazen has been diligent in seeking ways to optimize the processing to produce better results.”

“This final product will then be tested in batteries using the cutting-edge battery testing technologies of Novonix. This will demonstrate a de-risked new technology, support the high purity nature of Lake’s product and reinforce the ESG benefits of a more sustainable, responsibly sourced product for the latest batteries.

“Additionally, we look forward to updating shareholders on the progress we are making advancing our flagship Kachi project. The large scale of the project has created interest and we have a number of converging value accretive events that will demonstrate just how robust the Kachi project is.”

“The latest announcements from Europe have highlighted the massive increase in demand for battery-quality lithium, and for responsibly sourced supply that Lake can deliver.”

Lilac Solution’s lithium extraction pilot plant module hassuccessfully processed Kachi brine with high recoveries to produce lithium chloride, which is suitable for processing into battery grade lithium carbonate using conventional carbonate processing. Lilac has previously produced 99.9% pure lithium carbonate from this lithium chloride using the conventional lithium carbonate process (refer ASX announcement 9 January 2020).

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