Around 20,000 samples, which are being used to complete the commissioning of a Lilac Solutions pilot-scale ion exchange module, are being transported from Kachi and are expected to arrive in 10 days to the docks in Oakland, California.
In preparation for the arrival and testing of the Kachi brines, the company is testing replicate brine to ensure technology is consistent and fully functional.
The replicate samples are expected to produce very similar results as the initial Kachi brines and Lake and Lilac will report on the outcomes from this test work.
Deliveries of lithium carbonate samples to downstream groups are being planned to start the qualification process with off-takers.
“Transformational moment in the industry”
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.
“The rationale for processing these replicate brines is to ensure the pilot plant testing of the actual Kachi brines is completed without a ‘hitch’.
“This is a transformational moment in the industry.”
“Unique opportunity to deliver more sustainable lithium products”
Promnitz continued: “Lake has an almost unique opportunity to deliver more sustainable lithium products with very low impurities - what EV makers and battery makers are increasingly seeking.
“The Kachi brines will arrive at Lilac in the next 10 days and testing will commence shortly thereafter.
“This is a critical program for Lake and Lilac and we look forward to providing updates as the test work unfolds.”
High quality, low impurity product
The company aims to produce a high quality, low impurity product capable of attracting premium pricing.
The pre-feasibility study (PFS), which is almost completed 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.