A demonstration plant based on Lilac Solutions’ lithium extraction technology is on its way to Lake Resources’ (ASX: LKE) Kachi brine project in Argentina following successful testing.
Lake’s technical partner Lilac has assembled the plant which includes ion exchange modules and supporting equipment.
Transported in shipping containers, the modular-designed plant allows for a “plug and play” approach once brine feed, power and reagents are connected.
This plant will operate between three-and-four months to produce lithium chloride, which will be converted into about 2.5 tonnes of lithium carbonate.
The lithium carbonate product will be sent to potential offtake parties and battery qualification later in the year.
Operating the demonstration plant on-site at Kachi will also underpin the final engineering design prior to construction of a commercial scale facility.
“Both Lake and Lilac are very confident that the demonstration plant incorporating Lilac’s proprietary ion exchange process will prove to investors and off-takers that it is scalable and functions well on site by successfully producing a high-quality lithium product,” Lake managing director Steve Promnitz said.
He added the company was “well positioned” to deliver a major project with a high-quality product along with “substantial” ESG benefits.
Lilac chief executive officer Dave Snydacker said the company’s lithium brine processing technology is “truly disruptive”.
“We’ve taken ion exchange, a non-mining technology solution that is ubiquitous in the water treatment industry, and with cutting edge innovations have created a unique technology for lithium extraction, which we strongly believe will reduce operating costs and boost lithium recovery for production of lithium chemicals from the Kachi brines,” Mr Snydacker added.
He pointed out that compared to conventional brine processing technologies, Lilac’s solution is lower cost and has higher lithium recovery rates of 80-90% to generate battery grade lithium carbonate.
This is all done while protecting the local environment including water resources.
“Our process is modular, produces high purity lithium, and can be ramped up quickly from pilot to commercial stages – our equity stake ensures a rapid commercialisation of the Lilac technology at what is a globally significant lithium resource.”
“We’ve worked extensively with this brine – generating the data needed for engineering studies, and it is a fantastic fit for the Lilac technology,” Mr Snydacker said.
Test work is also continuing at Lilac’s facility in California, with the aim of producing data required for the definitive feasibility study.
At Hazen Research in Colorado, test work is ongoing on lithium carbonation.
Lake and Lilac cemented their partnership further in September last year, which gave Lilac a 25% stake in Kachi in return for its technology, engineering teams and demonstration plant.
Lilac is also contributing US$50 million, which is its pro-rate share in developing Kachi.