Lake Resources NL (ASX: LKE) and technology partner, Lilac Solutions, confirm that 20,000 litres of brine samples from Lake’s Kachi Lithium Brine Project in Argentina have arrived at Lilac’s direct extraction ion exchange pilot plant module in Oakland, California.
Lithium explorer and developer Lake Resources NL (ASX: LKE) together with its technology partner, Lilac Solutions, confirm that 20,000 litres of brine samples from Lake’s Kachi Lithium Brine Project in Argentina have arrived at Lilac’s direct extraction ion exchange pilot plant module in Oakland, California (see Figure 1 below).
Lilac will process the brine to produce high-purity lithium chloride (starting in March) for conversion to battery- grade lithium carbonate, from April onwards. Lilac has previously demonstrated the ability to produce battery grade lithium carbonate with 99.9% purity, and very low impurities, which is a high priority for battery/cathode producers (refer ASX announcement 9 January 2020).
With these Kachi brines, Lilac will produce multiple kilograms of high purity lithium carbonate samples available for prospective off-takers from late March to start their qualification process. Initially, these brine samples will be used to complete the commissioning of Lilac’s pilot-scale ion exchange module.
Lake’s Managing Director Steve Promnitz said: “Our key focus at this time is to prove conclusively that the Lilac Solutions pilot-scale ion exchange module can consistently process the Kachi brines into high purity, battery grade lithium carbonate at volume, as sought by potential buyers.
“Thanks to investor support for Lake and our technology partner, Lilac, we are now well positioned to advance our flagship Kachi project and ensure the delivery of a sustainable and scalable solution that is exactly what the market requires.”
Lake aims to produce at Kachi a high quality, low impurity product capable of attracting premium pricing. A pre- feasibility study (PFS) for Kachi is nearing completion and is anticipated to show production costs in the lower part of the global cost curve.
The direct extraction process, together with the Kachi project, offers a sustainable solution for the downstream battery makers by extracting lithium from brines using ion exchange without traditional evaporation ponds. Brine is returned to the aquifer once the lithium has been extracted without changing the brine chemistry. This addresses increasing interest from electric vehicle makers (OEM’s) and battery makers to demonstrate they have access to a sustainable scalable supply chain for raw materials.
Lake and Lilac look forward to reporting first finished samples from April onwards.
Figure 1: Kachi Project brines being delivered to the Lilac pilot plant in California, USA.