Lake’s High Purity Lithium Carbonate to Produce First Lithium Batteries at Novonix

First samples of Lake’s high 99.97% purity lithium carbonate sent to Novonix in Canada to produce high-performance lithium-ion batteries.

  • First samples of Lake’s high 99.97% purity lithium carbonate sent to Novonix in Canada to produce high-performance lithium-ion batteries.
  • Novonix (ASX:NVX) provides high technology battery testing equipment to Tier 1 battery makers giving Lake global exposure.
  • Hazen continues to produce high purity 5kg-6kg carbonate samples using a simple flowsheet from lithium chloride produced at the Lilac Solutions pilot plant module from Lake’s Kachi brines.
  • Novonix program will be undertaken over four months with first results anticipated in February.

Clean lithium developer Lake Resources NL (ASX:LKE; OTC:LLKKF) is pleased to confirm that Hazen Research Inc (Hazen), has dispatched the first samples of Lake’s high purity 99.97% lithium carbonate, produced from Kachi brines, to Novonix Battery Technology Solutions in Nova Scotia, Canada for the production of NMC622-
based lithium-ion battery test cells.

Novonix Limited (ASX:NVX; OTCQX:NVNXF) provides high precision battery testing equipment to Tier 1 battery makers including Panasonic, CATL, Samsung, SK Innovation, LG Chem, Bosch, Honda and Dyson. Novonix is preparing to begin the testing of Lake’s lithium carbonate with the the preliminary cathode precursor lithiation followed by full pilot scale evaluation.

Using Novonix’s pilot cell line, Lake’s high purity, responsibly sourced lithium carbonate samples will be used together with commercial battery cathode precursor materials to form a NMC622 cathode that will then be processed into NMC622 lithium-ion batteries for testing. This will enable Lake and its potential partners and customers to make direct and relevant comparisons of Lake’s lithium product’s performance in familiar battery chemistries.

Novonix anticipates this testing process to take a minimum of four months, with the first results expected approximately two months after the cathode material is produced. Lake will update the market once results become available.

Hazen will continue to produce lithium carbonate, targeting 5kg to 6kg of samples in this round derived from the first 20,000 litres of Kachi brines (refer ASX announcement 20 October 2020). A further 20,000 litres of brine is stored with Lilac whilst additional brines are currently being prepared for transport from site to produce more samples to meet increased demand, given recent successful results (refer same ASX announcement 20 Oct 2020).

High purity lithium carbonate results have been obtained via a simple flowsheet without any anticipated changes to the operating costs previously forecast in Kachi’s Pre-Feasibility Study (refer ASX announcement 28 April 2020), which is a great result for the Company and the sector. Low impurities are a key factor in determining battery quality and the pricing and acceptance of lithium products. Lake’s high purity carbonate offers the potential for premium prices.

Managing Director Steve Promnitz commented: “The commencement of the Novonix program is an important milestone for Lake and the timeframe for delivery of first results is on track. We are confident that Novonix’s work will clearly demonstrate that lithium carbonate produced from Kachi brines will have the necessary specifications that Tier 1 battery makers require. As well, demand for such a sustainably produced and responsibly sourced product is growing in North America and Europe as electric vehicle makers look to bolster their ESG credentials and the use of gasoline engine vehicles are phased out. Kachi has all the hallmarks to deliver into this new demand at the necessary scale.”

About Novonix

Novonix Limited (ASX:NVX, OTC:NVNXF) is an integrated developer and supplier of high-performance materials, equipment and services for the global lithium-ion battery industry with operations in the USA and Canada and sales in more than 14 countries. Novonix’s mission is to support the global deployment of lithium-ion battery technologies for a cleaner energy future. For more information on Novonix, please visit the website at www.novonixgroup.com

About Lake Resources NL (ASX:LKE OTC:LLKKF ) –

Clean high purity lithium using efficient disruptive clean technology

Lake Resources NL (ASX:LKE, OTC: LLKKF) is a clean lithium developer utilising direct extraction technology for production of sustainable, high purity lithium from its flagship Kachi Project within the Lithium Triangle in Argentina among other projects covering 200,00 ha. This direct extraction method delivers a solution for two rising demands of electric vehicle batteries – high purity battery materials to avoid performance issues, and more sustainable, responsibly sourced materials.

1. Clean-Tech: Efficient, disruptive, cost-competitive technology using well-known water treatment re-engineered for lithium (not mining). Technology partner, Lilac Solutions Inc, supported by Bill Gates led Breakthrough Energy fund and MIT’s The Engine fund.

2. High Purity: 99.97% purity lithium carbonate samples never previously delivered at scale in a cost competitive manner for a premium price (refer ASX announcement 9 January 2020 and 20 October 2020).

3. Sustainable /ESG: Far smaller environmental footprint than conventional methods, that returns virtually all water (brine) to its source without changing its chemistry, avoiding “water politics” in arid environments for a better outcome for local communities.

4. Prime Location, Large Projects: Flagship Kachi project in prime location among low cost producers with a large lease holding (70,000 ha) and expandable resource (4.4 Mt LCE) of which only 20% is used for 25 years production at 25,500tpa (JORC Resource: Indicated 1.0Mt, Inferred 3.4Mt, refer ASX announcement 27 November 2018). Pre-feasibility study by tier 1 engineering firm shows large, longlife low-cost operation (refer ASX announcement 28 April 2020).

An innovative direct extraction technique, based on a well-used ion exchange water treatment method, has been tested for over 18 months in partnership with Lilac Solutions, with a pilot plant module in California operating on Kachi brines and has shown 80-90% recoveries. Battery quality lithium carbonate (99.97% purity) has been produced from Kachi brine samples with very low impurities (refer ASX announcement 20 October 2020). The first samples of high purity (99.97% purity) battery quality lithium carbonate is being tested in a NMC622 battery by Novonix. Hazen will produce further samples for downstream supply chain participants and off-takers.

This method of producing high purity lithium can revolutionise and disrupt the battery materials supply industry as it’s scalable, low cost, and delivers a consistent product quality.

Lake’s other projects include the Olaroz and Cauchari brine projects, located adjacent to major world class brine projects in production or construction, including Orocobre’s Olaroz lithium production and adjoins the impending production of Ganfeng Lithium/Lithium Americas’ Cauchari project. Lake’s Cauchari project has shown lithium brines over 506m interval with high grades averaging 493 mg/L lithium (117-460m) with up to 540 mg/L lithium. These results are similar to lithium brines in adjoining leases and infer an extension and continuity of these brines into Lake’s leases (refer ASX announcements 28 May, 12 June 2019).

Click here for the full announcement.

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Gold isn't all that glitters in the land down under — silver in Australia is a major industry, and the country is home to both large and small players.

When it comes to precious metals, Australia has long punched above its weight — the nation was born riding the wave of a gold rush.

Gold isn't all that glitters through — Australia is also a major global producer of silver. It's among the 10 top producers, and was ranked seventh in 2020, with 1,300 tonnes coming from the many operational mines in the country. By comparison, the world's top producer, Mexico, produced 6,300 tonnes that same year.

Other key players in the silver market are Peru, China and Russia, which produce more silver than Australia, and the US, Argentina and Bolivia, which produce less.


Australia is sitting on quite a lot of the precious metal, with the world's second largest reserves, behind only Peru.

According to Geoscience Australia, one of the country's first mines was a silver-lead mine near Adelaide. Since then, the entire continent has been combed over with a fine-toothed comb, with deposits identified in every state and territory and active mines in every jurisdiction but one (Victoria).

Overall, Australia is well explored when it comes to silver, and since the mid-1800s it's had a constant stream of silver production. Aside from that, the country boasts metals-processing facilities in South Australia that separate the precious metal from its commonly mined counterpart metals, lead and zinc.

Silver companies in Australia

Those looking at the Australian silver market have options. There are plenty of big players with interests in Australian silver, and many smaller players for investors to consider researching too.

Most silver comes from mines dedicated to other metals — Glencore's (LSE:GLEN,OTC Pink:GLCNF) Mount Isa in Queensland produces mainly copper, zinc and lead, but silver is separated by the company's integrated processing streams. Glencore also operates the McArthur mine in the Northern Territory, which is primarily zinc, but between its copper and zinc assets, Glencore produced 7,404,000 ounces of silver in Australia in 2020 — over 200 tonnes.

Elsewhere, BHP (ASX:BHP,NYSE:BHP,LSE:BLT) produces a lot of silver as well at the Olympic Dam operation in South Australia. Perhaps best known for the production of uranium and copper, it also yields significant silver resources to the tune of 984,000 ounces in 2020 (or almost 28 tonnes).

According to Geoscience Australia data from 2016, over 20 mines in Australia produced silver in that year, while there are dozens of other resources identified in each state.

A primary producer of silver is the Cannington mine in Queensland, where South32 (ASX:S32,OTC Pink:SHTLF), a company that was spun off from BHP in 2015, mines silver and lead. Cannington is a big one, producing 11,792,000 ounces in 2020, or 334 tonnes of silver.

Tasmania boasts the Rosebery mine, which has seen 85 years of continuous operations and is currently owned by MMG (ASX:MMG,HKEX:1208). Rosebery, like all the others here, is polymetallic, and besides silver also produces copper, zinc, lead and gold. MMG also has the Dugald River mine in Queensland which also produced silver.

Getting into smaller companies, there are those like New Century Resources (ASX:NCZ) which restarted the Century mine in the Northern Territory for zinc and silver.

The future of silver in Australia

So, you get the picture — there's a lot of silver to be mined in Australia by way of mining everything else.

It's worth noting that because silver operates both as a precious and an industrial metal, and is mined most often alongside base metals, it can be pulled in many directions. However, it traditionally follows (and lags behind) its precious metal sibling, gold, making it a valuable investment commodity to keep an eye on.

Looking forward, the future of the commodity in the land down under — especially given Australia's significant reserves and operator diversity — is as bright as you'd like it, and depends on what investors are most interested in, given the by-product nature of the metal.

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Scott Tibballs, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Australia took a stand against Facebook and Google earlier this year, and the move could have long-term implications for tech investors.

It was a ban that sent Australians wild and had the whole world watching.

Back in February, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) stopped users in Australia from posting news in a week-long blackout, reacting to proposed legislation that would have forced the social media behemoth to pay publishers for content.

What prompted Facebook to "friend" Australia again, and what are the potential long-term implications of the squabble? Read on to learn what tech-focused investors in Australia should know about the situation.


Australia squares off against Facebook

On February 25 of this year, Australia's federal government passed the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code. It was developed after extensive analysis by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and is aimed at ensuring that news media businesses are fairly remunerated for their content.

It stipulates that digital platforms such as Facebook and Google (both named in the documentation) must pay news outlets whose content they feature — for example, if content is shared on Facebook or shows up in Google search results. The idea is that this will help to sustain journalism in Australia.

Unsurprisingly, Facebook and Google didn't react well to the code, which was first introduced in 2020.

Google didn't make any moves after it passed, but Facebook quickly made it impossible for Australian users to share news content, and pages for both local and international news organisations went blank — a major concern given the COVID-19 and wildfire concerns that were circulating at the time.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was scathing about Facebook's decision — which he ironically shared in a Facebook post — declaring the tech giant's actions "as arrogant as they were disappointing." He added, "These actions will only confirm the concerns that an increasing number of countries are expressing about the behaviour of BigTech companies who think they are bigger than governments and that the rules should not apply to them."

Despite strong feelings from both Australia and Facebook, the dispute was resolved fairly quickly, with the country agreeing to make four amendments to the legislation and Facebook restoring Australian's access to news.

Implications for Big Tech and news organisations

Both Australia and Facebook have claimed victory in the dispute, with a Facebook representative saying the company will be able to decide if news appears on the platform — meaning it won't automatically have to negotiate with any news businesses. Changes were also made to the arbitration process.

Tech experts have pointed out that larger news companies may ultimately benefit from the changes, but smaller ones could be pushed to the side. Major publishers that have struck agreements with tech giants, such as News Corp, Nine Entertainment (ASX:NEC,OTC Pink:NNMTF), Seven West Media (ASX:SWM) and Guardian Australia, may be able to increase their market share while smaller independent players lose out.

A business that is in full support of the laws is Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). During the conflict, President Brad Smith came out loudly in favour of Australia's law, and advised that his company is willing to step up with search engine Bing should Google and/or Facebook pull out of the Australian market.

"In Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pushed forward with legislation two years in the making to redress the competitive imbalance between the tech sector and an independent press. The ideas are straightforward. Dominant tech properties like Facebook and Google will need to invest in transparency, including by explaining how they display news content," he said in a blog post.

"The United States should not object to a creative Australian proposal that strengthens democracy by requiring tech companies to support a free press. It should copy it instead."

Global reach and tech investor impact

Six months down the road from Australia's landmark legislation, it's tough to say what the long-term impact may be.

That said, market watchers do believe the country is part of a new precedent of forcing Big Tech into paying for journalism — something giants Facebook and Google are not used to.

Countries looking to pursue similar legislation include Canada, where Facebook agreed in May to pay 14 publishers to link to their articles on its COVID-19 and climate science pages, as well as other unspecified use cases. Canada is pursuing other avenues too. Meanwhile, in France, Google said it will pay publishers for news content after the country took up new EU copyright laws that make digital platforms liable for infringements.

For investors, the takeaway is perhaps that while companies like Facebook and Google may seem too big too fail, they too can fall subject to new regulations that can change how they do business. As nations around the world look to take back control from these mega companies, it's important to be aware of possible effects on their bottom lines.

Don't forget to follow @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Ronelle Richards, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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