Lake Resources NL (ASX:LKE) has delivered 20,000 litres of brine samples from its Kachi Lithium Brine Project in Argentina to technology partner Lilac Solutions’ direct extraction ion exchange pilot plant module in Oakland, California.
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.
Lithium carbonate product with 99.9% purity and low impurities from the Kachi Lithium Brine Project using Lilac’s direct extraction ion exchange process
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 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.”
Lithium bearing brines pumped into containers at the Kachi Lithium Brine Project for trucking to port for dispatch to California
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 the increasing interest from electric vehicle makers and battery makers to demonstrate they have access to a sustainable scalable supply chain for raw materials.