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Lake Resources firms up clean lithium credentials with 99.97% lithium carbonate produced

High purity lithium carbonate has been produced by Hazen Research from lithium chloride produced at the Lilac Solutions pilot plant module from Lake’s Kachi brines.

Lake Resources NL - Lake Resources firms up clean lithium credentials with 99.97% lithium carbonate produced
Lake expects the high quality and low impurity product to be attractive for the battery market.

Lake Resources N.L. (ASX:LKE) (OTCMKTS:LLKKF) continues to enhance its clean lithium credentials with tests establishing that very high purity 99.97% battery-quality lithium carbonate with low impurities can be produced from Kachi project brines.

Hazen Research Inc produced the results using lithium chloride produced by Lake’s technology partner Lilac Solutions using its’ proprietary ion-exchange direct lithium extraction method (DLE) at pilot plant module scale.

Lithium chloride samples from Lilac’s pilot plant in California were further processed into lithium carbonate by Hazen in Colorado, USA.

“Excellent results”

As well as the high purity, the lithium carbonate has very low impurities and Lake expects that this product will be attractive for the lithium-ion battery market in which low impurities are a key factor in determining quality.

Lake’s managing director Steve Promnitz said: "These are excellent results. We are very pleased not only with the very high purity lithium carbonate grades, but also with the very low impurities.

"This is a function of the purity of the raw brine at our Kachi project, combined with the excellent work done by Lilac Solutions over the past two years, and by Hazen Research.”

Confident of replicating at full production

The company is also confident of replicating these results at full production.

Lake’s ambition is to sustainably produce the cleanest quality lithium carbonate at scale for use in the fast-growing battery market.

Investors have responded positively to the results with shares as much as 23% higher to 8.2 cents intra-day.

Lake well-placed

Promnitz added: “Lake has a clean process, based on standard chemical processing techniques, which is readily scalable. The environmental footprint is small.

"Based on the results reported today, we believe Lake is well placed to deliver among the highest quality, sustainable, clean lithium carbonate products to the EV and energy storage market.”

Test methods

Hazen conducted a series of tests aimed at optimising lithium carbonate quality while maintaining a simple flowsheet.

Conventional treatment methods, including evaporation, treatment with sodium hydroxide and soda ash, ion exchange, and precipitation, were used.

This process optimisation was a critical step prior to production of larger volumes of high purity lithium carbonate samples.

The Hazen tests establish that very high purity 99.97% lithium carbonate with low impurities can be produced from Kachi brines.

To ensure accuracy, a number of analytical techniques were employed to verify the lithium carbonate grade and the low impurities levels including inductively coupled plasma spectrometry and titration, both of which are accepted assaying techniques.

Low impurities

Samples produced show a 70% reduction in the overall level of impurities compared to Lake’s earlier lithium carbonate production and a 94% reduction in impurities compared with 99.5% lithium carbonate, which is widely accepted as ‘battery grade’ in the current market.

These results include very low metal and cation impurities including iron and boron.

Expectation of higher prices

As pricing is largely determined by lithium carbonate grade and the level and type of impurities, the Lilac and Hazen results suggest the potential to achieve substantially higher prices than previously envisaged.

Lake’s pre-feasibility study (PFS) earlier this year was based on achieving 99.9% lithium carbonate and a fixed selling price of US$11,000/tonne.

Larger samples

Hazen is continuing its work with samples of 5-6-kilograms being produced in coming weeks.

Samples will be sent to Novonix Limited (ASX:NVX) to be tested together with commercial battery cathode precursor materials in NMC622 batteries.

Novonix is developing ‘million mile’ battery technologies with revolutionary anode and cathode materials.

Samples will also be sent to other potential off-take partners in Asia and Europe.

The results of Hazen’s process optimisation, forthcoming battery tests, updated price expectations and decisions on final plant module capacity, will be incorporated into the forthcoming definitive feasibility study.

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Lake Resources welcomes test results confirming it can produce very high...

Lake Resources NL's (ASX:LKE) (OTCMKTS:LLKKF) Steve Promnitz caught up with Proactive's Andrew Scott after testing confirmed that very high purity 99.97% battery-quality lithium carbonate with low impurities can be produced from its Kachi brines. Hazen Research Inc produced the results using...

on 20/10/20

3 min read