Neo Lithium Corp (CVE:NLC) (OTCMKTS:NTTHF) updated on its 3Q project in Catamarca province in Argentina, where it has now commissioned a pilot plant and plans to produce technical grade lithium carbonate by August this year and battery grade a month later.
The pilot plant, which has capacity to generate 50 tonnes of lithium carbonate per year, includes a solvent extraction phase (SX-B), a sulfation plant to remove calcium and another phase phase to remove magnesium and any remaining calcium.
The process is rounded off with three stages of soda ash carbonation and drying.
"After completing a successful PFS, we are now fully engaged and focused in demonstrating that our technology is capable to produce battery grade lithium carbonate at very efficient levels,” said Waldo Perez, CEO of Neo Lithium.
"Producing battery grade lithium carbonate in our pilot plant is our ultimate goal, which will validate that the project is scalable and economically viable as we push forward with our objective to create and maximize shareholder value."
The pilot plant was successfully reassembled at Neo Lithium’s Fiambalá facility, before tested, fine-tuned and commissioned, using brine from the salar, the company said.
The company also announced today the completion of its geochemical laboratory in Fiambalá and the engagement of Alex Stewart International Argentina SA to assist with setting up the equipment, protocols, and operating procedures.
Below the high-grade zone
Updating on this year's drilling, which was focused on areas below the high-grade zone to expand this resource, Neo Lithium said one hole was drilled down to 160 meters and provided 1,128 mg/l (miligram per liter) lithium, thus expanding the high-grade zone significantly.
Another hole was completed this month, drilling down to 280 meters depth, located on the eastern border of the 3Q lake, an area where the reserve estimation assumed brine to be present to only 10 meters depth, however the hole encountered brine all the way from surface to 280 metres depth.
The well was pumped over 72 hours to collect 10 brine samples. Geochemical results are expected during the second quarter, the firm said.
Shares in Toronto nudged up nearly 4% to $0.83 in early deals.
Contact Giles at [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter@Gile74