Clean lithium developer Lake Resources NL (ASX:LKE) (FRA:LK1) (OTCMKTS:LLKKF) with its technology partner, Lilac Solutions Inc, report that high concentrations of lithium chloride are being consistently produced from Lilac’s direct lithium extraction (DLE) pilot plant module using brines from Lake’s Kachi Lithium Brine Project. Results obtained are similar to prior bench top testing.
The initial 20,000 litres of Kachi brines are being progressively processed through Lilac’s pilot plant in California. The results continue to confirm the successful scale-up of processing from lab scale to pilot plant scale. Only a minor scale-up is required to achieve targeted commercial scale.
An established independent assay laboratory will be used for the next critical step of converting these lithium chloride samples to lithium carbonate. This will produce larger battery quality lithium carbonate samples with the first expected in ~5 weeks, and then further samples in the month following. Downstream participants that are monitoring this program have advised that using an established third-party to provide independent data for samples for potential offtake partners which will also be used for commercial scale development planning and a DFS. Lake and Lilac are confident that high purity lithium carbonate will be confirmed.
Lake is making meaningful progress towards delivering high purity, cleaner, responsibly sourced lithium.
Detailed analyses are still commercial-in-confidence due to the patented innovative and disruptive technology created by Lilac, but final lithium carbonate results will be released when available.
Lake’s Managing Director, Steve Promnitz said: “Continuing to demonstrate successful production of clean, highly concentrated lithium chloride at pilot scale is a major advancement. This product from the direct extraction process is then converted to lithium carbonate using conventional methods by a respected third-party lab with the aim to meet the quality requirements of off-takers, who are looking for responsibly sourced scalable supplies of battery-quality product. However, the process is taking a little longer than anticipated. ”
Lake’s recent Kachi Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) (refer ASX announcement 30 April 2020) based on production of high purity lithium carbonate demonstrated from direct extraction (refer ASX announcement, 9 January 2020) shows the disruptive, cost competitive, sustainable and scalable nature of the Lilac process which will be employed at Kachi and its ability to produce a premium, battery-quality product sought by battery and cathode manufacturers globally.
About Lake Resources NL:
Lake Resources NL (ASX:LKE) is a lithium exploration and development company focused on developing its three lithium brine projects and hard rock project in Argentina, all owned 100%. The leases are in a prime location among the lithium sector’s largest players within the Lithium Triangle, where half of the world’s lithium is produced. Lake holds one of the largest lithium tenement packages in Argentina (~200,000Ha) secured in 2016 prior to a significant ‘rush’ by major companies. The large holdings provide the potential to provide consistent security of supply demanded by battery makers and electric vehicle manufacturers.
The Kachi project covers 69,000 ha over a salt lake south of FMC’s lithium operation and near Albemarle’s Antofalla project in Catamarca Province. Drilling at Kachi has confirmed a large lithium brine bearing basin over 20km long, 15km wide and 400m to 800m deep. Drilling over Kachi (currently 16 drill holes, 3100m) has produced a maiden indicated and inferred resource of 4.4 Mt LCE (Indicated 1.0Mt and Inferred 3.4Mt) within a 8-17 Mt LCE exploration target (refer ASX announcement 27 November 2018).
A direct extraction technique is being tested in partnership with Lilac Solutions, which has shown 80-90% recoveries and lithium brine concentrations in excess of 3000 mg/L lithium and is planned to be trialled on site in tandem with conventional methods as part of a PFS to follow the resource statement. Scope exists to unlock considerable value through partnerships and corporate deals in the near term.