Lake Resources Ltd (ASX:LKE) (OTC:LLKKF) technology partner Lilac Solutions has completed commissioning of the direct lithium extraction pilot plant module dedicated to processing of brines from the Kachi project in Argentina.
Processing is now underway of 20,000 litres of brine from Kachi at Lilac’s newly upgraded industrial facility in California, USA.
This milestone in the company's strategy to become a supplier of high-purity lithium product to meet growing demand for battery-grade product has seen shares rise more than 8% to 3.8 cents intra-day.
"A key milestone"
Managing director Steve Promnitz said: “The processing of the Kachi brines is a key milestone for both Lake and Lilac, as they are a central plank in establishing Kachi as a low-cost, large-scale lithium project that can meet both the supply and product quality requirements of large off-takers.
“While lithium demand forecasts continue to be revised upwards, the supply response is falling further behind, particularly the lack of battery-grade product.
“Put simply, this is an industry that desperately needs high-quality supply and it simply isn’t being produced in sufficient quantities to meet future demand numbers."
Samples to be analysed
As Lilac's work continues, initial samples of lithium chloride, which is the targeted product from the direct extraction process, will be analysed next week and then be converted to lithium carbonate.
Additional lithium chloride will be produced from the second shipment of 20,000 litres of Kachi brine, once that arrives.
Lake’s recent Kachi pre-feasibility study (PFS) and recently published research demonstrate the disruptive, cost-competitive, sustainable and scalable nature of the Lilac process which will be employed at Kachi to produce a premium, battery-grade product which is keenly sought by battery and cathode manufacturers globally.
Sustainable ESG benefit
Promnitz told Proactive the technology provided by Lilac Solutions, which had received the backing of major investors and household names, had a sustainable ESG benefit.
He said: "The environmental footprint is small and avoids the 'water politics' of conventional evaporation ponds in arid environments.
"Tier-1 electric vehicle makers and battery makers (Volkswagen, Daimler) have been seeking more sustainable, responsible sourced materials in their supply which has driven demand for our products."
"Achieving excellent results"
Lilac chief executive officer Dave Syndacker said: “Lilac’s engineering team has commissioned a custom pilot module for the Kachi brine and is achieving excellent results.
“Scale-up has gone smoothly thanks to the robust design of the Lilac modules, which are manufactured in California and can be easily shipped and installed on-site to avoid the multi-year commissioning process that we’ve seen with evaporation pond-based lithium projects in Argentina.
“We are excited to advance the work at Kachi with on-site pilot operations.”
Need for more lithium
Recent announcements from Europe have pointed to the full-scale electric vehicle revolution currently underway and the need for up to 60 times more lithium by 2050 for Europe alone, according to the EU Market Commissioner.
China, the world’s largest EV market, has extended EV subsidies, while North America’s clean energy industry continues to pick up speed.
Promnitz added: “We look forward to demonstrating unequivocally that we can produce large volumes of high-purity lithium carbonate samples and deliver them to industry buyers that are eagerly awaiting our results.”