Anson Resources (ASX: ASN) has boosted its lithium recoveries during test work on brine samples from its Paradox lithium project in Utah.
Lilac Solutions carried out the testing on a sample from the Cane Creek well within the project and used its proprietary Lilac IX process to generate a concentrate lithium sulphate solution between 10,000 milligrams per litre lithium to 15,000mg/l lithium.
According to Anson, the average lithium eluate product captured from the brine was about 80%, which it says was a “significant improvement” on previous recoveries.
The lithium eluate can then be converted into battery grade lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide using conventional processes.
Anson anticipates the overall lithium retrieval after extraction and downstream processing will be about 70%. The company said this “compares favourably” with other lithium brine operations in South America which achieve lithium recoveries below 50% but have higher grade lithium brine.
“Lilac is extremely pleased that we have been able to consistently achieve this recovered lithium into high purity lithium chemicals,” Lilac chief executive officer David Snydacker said.
Lilac’s technology selectively extracts lithium from the brine using ion exchange and the lithium extraction levels were achieved after one pass through the process.
Anson has investigated several techniques for recovering its lithium from Paradox brines.
The techniques include traditional solar evaporation, Outotec’s solvent extraction and Lilac’s ion exchange method.
Based on the results, Anson now plans to design and construct a pilot plant that includes Lilac’s technology.
It is expected there will be cost advantages if Anson uses Lilac’s process as it can extract lithium from the brine with reduced processing times, a simplified technique and high recovery rates.
“The results that have been achieved by the Lilac process have been exceptional,” Anson executive chairman Bruce Richardson said.
“To ensure that the best economic results could be achieved, several different extraction methodologies have been tested.”
“As an early adopter of the Lilac process, the company will gain a significant advantage over traditional brine producers by utilising a new technology that provides an improved recover rate, a faster production process, with less environmental impact, and as a result, improved economics,” Mr Richardson added.
Re-enter existing wells
Anson hopes to hasten its JORC resource calculation for Paradox and has submitted applications to re-enter two existing wells at the project: Skyline Unit 1 and Long Canyon No2.
The company only pegged the wells in September and plans to prove up a JORC resource and use the wells for potential production.
Once it gains approvals, which are expected before the end of the year, Anson will begin drilling immediately, with the exploration campaign expected to wind up before the end of the March quarter.
By early afternoon trade, shares in Anson had risen almost 19% to $0.095.