Lithium brine explorer Anson Resources (ASX: ASN) has produced its first lithium hydroxide product from its Paradox project in Utah, United States.
The company emerged from a trading halt to announce the first vial of the product, which was the result of research and development precipitation test work carried out on Cane Creek brine by lithium extraction experts Lilac Solutions.
Anson is examining different production processes to assess the best recovery and purity results from lithium brine extracted from the Cane Creek 32-1 well.
Anson managing director Bruce Richardson described the results achieved to date as “very impressive” and represented significant steps forward in the development of the Paradox project.
“The ability to produce either lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide would enable the company to meet the demands of customers of both products and would provide it with the flexibility to meet changes in the product demand,” he said.
The Lilac process
Since July, Lilac’s metallurgical test work has been running in parallel with test work being carried out by Finnish mining technology company Outotec.
Lilac’s production process uses a newly developed technology that extracts only the lithium from the brine using an adsorption methodology.
Other minerals including boron, bromide, iodine and magnesium are not recovered using this process.
A 1000kg bulk sample of supersaturated Cane Creek brine was passed through Lilac’s process to produce a concentrated lithium sulphate solution, with an average lithium recovery of about 55%.
A two-step purification process then removed impurities from the lithium eluate, before calcium hydroxide was added to the product to make a lithium hydroxide solution.
This solution was then crystallised after the calcium carbonate was filtered out, resulting in a product measuring at 99.7% pure.
According to Anson, the work was designed to optimise the purification and processing of the lithium samples, rather than for lithium recovery.
“At present, a much larger lithium hydroxide sample is being produced which should increase the recovery significantly,” Anson stated.
In addition, the company said waste streams were not recycled using the Lilac process in this original test work but will be in future, which is also expected to increase the overall lithium recovery.
“For a commercial lithium product in the Paradox Basin, Lilac expects the lithium recovery in the Lilac IX unit to be 60-80% and downstream lithium recovery to be 90%, resulting in an overall plant lithium recovery of approximately 50-70%,” Anson reported.
Boron, bromide and iodine extraction
The company also today announced that Colorado-based Hazen Research has commenced a series of bench-scale experiments to examine the potential extraction and purification of boron, bromide and iodine from a Cane Creek brine sample.
While test work is continuing with producing battery-grade lithium products, Richardson said the company was also looking forward to Hazen’s results.
“It is considered that the extraction of these minerals may not only provide additional revenue streams but also contribute to improving the quality and recovery of lithium carbonate and/or lithium hydroxide,” he said.
By late afternoon trade, Anson shares had jumped 31.58% to $0.10.