“Lake Resources is trying to do something fundamentally different in the supply chain for batteries.”
Lake Resources (ASX:LKE,OTCQB:LLKKF) CEO Stephen Promnitz joined the Investing News Network recently to discuss his company's progress developing its Kachi lithium brine project in Argentina, including the progress the company has made defining a resource, its plans to commercialize the project, and how the company is working with a partner to leverage a cutting-edge direct lithium extraction (DLE) technology that is capable of recovering a clean, high-purity, battery-grade lithium.
“Lake Resources is trying to do something fundamentally different in the supply chain for batteries. We're producing lithium, there are many other companies who either are producing or would like to be producing lithium, but we're doing something fundamentally different by using a direct extraction process," said Promnitz. “Our technology partner who provides that is an unlisted company called Lilac Solutions. They're based in California. They've been doing a great job with our pilot plant module on Kachi brines from our flagship project in Argentina. In July it was demonstrated that the quality of the liquid, the lithium chloride, is just as good as what we saw previously at lab-scale."
According to Promnitz, Lake Resources has always intended to become a producer of clean, high purity lithium. The company is currently working towards arranging financing for the Kachi project, which could allow the company to complete all studies for production and advance the development of a pilot plant on site. “We've welcomed the interest from export credit agencies, particularly the EU, UK and USA, to finance the lion's share of this project into production. Now, these discussions are only preliminary at this stage, but for probably the first time in my professional career, the actual financing of getting into production for a smaller company has a fairly clear pathway. What we're just trying to do is get from today, until about this time next year, with a clear runway of financing."
Lake Resources is currently working with partners Novonix Battery Technology Solutions and Hazen Research to help develop its end product. By confirming the lithium is battery-grade before reaching fullscale, Promnitz believes Lake Resources has the potential to rapidly advance its production capabilities once it reaches the production phase. “The next step is to convert that into a powder, that's a saleable product called lithium carbonate. We're getting that done by a third party called Hazen research which is based in Golden Colorado. We should have the first samples of that out in the next three weeks."
Once Lake Resources is capable of establishing its production process at Kachi, Promnitz is optimistic regarding the company's potential to scale the project due to the modular nature of direct lithium extraction. “The beauty of this process is that it's modular. The scale-up to a module is around three or four times and naturally, there's more of them, so you'll have 50 or 60 modules operating, but the scale-up risk is really limited. Essentially we have de-risked both the technology and demonstrated that the technology works with the particular brines and particular chemistry that we have at our flagship Kachi project in Argentina," said Promnitz.
For a more comprehensive update from Lake Resource CEO Stephen Promnitz, watch the video on this post.
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