Lake Resources (ASX: LKE) has cemented an existing partnership further with Lilac Solutions to fast-track development of its Kachi lithium brine project in Argentina.
The deal will see Lilac contribute technology, engineering teams, and an onsite demonstration plant to Lake.
In return, Lilac will gain a 25% stake in Kachi. Once Lilac has secured the 25% interest, it will then be expected to invest about US$50 million in developing the project.
The US$50 million is equivalent to Lilac’s pro-rata share of future development costs.
Lake managing director Steve Promnitz said the company was pleased to have established the partnership following successful testing and pilot-stage work.
Chief executive officer Dave Snydacker said the deal paves the way for Lake to deliver global battery makers the large volumes of high-quality lithium chemicals needed efficiently and in a more environmentally-friendly way.
Lilac direct extraction technology
Lake has been evaluating Lilac’s direct extraction processing technology on Kachi lithium brine. The technology is an adaption of a known water treatment and involves returning 99% of the brine back to its source without changing the chemistry.
Unlike traditional processes on brine, Lilac’s technology does not require evaporation, consumes much less water and has a smaller environmental footprint.
On top of this, Lilac’s process has been found to generate higher lithium recovery rates of 80-90% and is able to produce a 99.97% pure lithium carbonate product.
The process takes days compared to traditional methods that can take months or even years.
“Lilac’s technology is truly disruptive as it has taken a non-mining tech solution, which cuts operating costs and boost lithium recovery from our brines,” Mr Promnitz noted.
“The process is modular – producing high purity lithium and can be ramped up quickly through pilot to commercial stages.”
Mr Promnitz said the today’s announced deal with Lilac will enable the rapid commercialisation of the technology at Kachi.
Lake is on its way to securing 70% of the funding required to develop Kachi after revealing last month it had received a formal expression of interest from official export credit agency UK Export Finance to provide the required cash.
Mr Promnitz said the company has also been approached by a number of banks interested in being part of Kachi’s development.
The proposed Kachi brine operation is underpinned by a 4.4Mt lithium carbonate resource.