Lake Resources NL (ASX:LKE) has been progressing the testing of lithium brine samples from its Kachi Lithium Brine Project using Lilac’s direct extraction ion exchange pilot plant module in Oakland, California.
Kachi brine samples have been used to complete the commissioning of Lilac’s pilot-scale ion-exchange module. Lilac will process the brine to produce high-purity lithium chloride for conversion to battery-grade lithium carbonate from April onwards for prospective off-takers.
Backed by leading U.S. sustainability-focused investors, Lilac has previously demonstrated its ability to produce battery-grade lithium carbonate with 99.9% purity, and very low impurities, which is a high priority for battery-cathode producers capable of attracting premium pricing.
A pre-feasibility study (PFS) for Kachi is expected to be completed in the next two to three weeks and is anticipated to show production costs in the lower part of the global cost curve.
“Vote of confidence” in future of Lake
Lake managing director Steve Promnitz said: “Given the well-known billionaire backing of funds supporting Lake’s technology partner, Lilac, we are well underway to demonstrate high purity battery-grade lithium carbonate coming from the direct extraction process, which is what battery makers are seeking.
“Investors have asked how the process works and how this fits into Lake’s strategy, so we have undertaken a video interview to explain this in context.
“Once again, I would like to thank existing and new investors for supporting our capital raising amid extremely uncertain market conditions – this is truly a vote of confidence in the future of Lake and sustainable, scalable direct extraction technology.”
Direct extraction process
The direct extraction process has been undertaken using brines from Lake’s 100% owned Kachi project.
This offers a sustainable solution for 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.