Tag Archives: lithium brine

Worley to take Neo Lithium’s 3Q brine project into DFS stage

Neo Lithium Corp and its Argentinean subsidiary LIEX SA have engaged Worley Chile and Worley Argentina to complete a definitive feasibility study (DFS) of its flagship 3Q lithium brine project in Catamarca, Argentina.

The development strategy for 3Q focuses on production of 20,000 t/y of lithium carbonate with the flexibility to expand production to 40,000 t/y after phase one is completed and operational. The DFS is scheduled for completion in the September quarter of 2021.

Gabriel Pindar, COO of Neo Lithium Corp, said: “On the back of CATL’s investment and involvement, we are very pleased to have engaged and be working with Worley who bring a wealth of lithium knowledge and experience to our 3Q project. Worley is a leading global engineering firm and has been involved in all aspects of lithium brine operations which will be invaluable in executing our DFS.”

Results of the last prefeasibility study (PFS) on 3Q performed by GHD Chile SA and Groundwater Insight Inc outlined a project with 20,000 t/y of lithium carbonate production potential with after-tax net present value (8% discount rate) of $1.143 billion, internal rate of return of 49.9%, and capital expenditure of $318.9 million.

Neo Lithium said the studies carried out by the company in its evaporation pilot plant at the salar site and the lithium carbonate pilot plant in the town of Fiambalá confirm that the general parameters defined in the PFS will be validated in the DFS.

Neo Lithium has been operating pilot evaporation ponds for more than three years, while the pilot lithium carbonate plant has been in operation for nearly two years. This has resulted in a meaningful ramp up in knowledge while improving the process all the way through to validate the PFS and take the project more efficiently into DFS with a view towards future construction, it said.

“As a result of our efforts to maintain steady operations at pilot scale level, we continue to produce our own lithium brine concentrate and lithium carbonate on a regular basis, and believe that we are on track towards our goal of being in production by the later stages of 2023,” the company added.

Albemarle to double capacity at Silver Peak lithium brine operation

Albemarle Corp has confirmed it will expand capacity at its lithium production facility in Silver Peak, Nevada, USA, and begin a program to evaluate clays and other available Nevada resources for commercial production of lithium.

Beginning in 2021, the company plans to invest $30-$50 million to double the current production at the Nevada site by 2025, making full use of its brine water rights. Additionally, the company plans to commence exploration of clay and evaluate technology that could accelerate the viability of lithium production from clay resources in the region this year.

The company explained: “As global demand for electric vehicles grows, North America automotive manufacturers are seeking to regionalise their supply chain for greater security and sustainability. Albemarle’s investment in Silver Peak, which produces lithium from brine extracted from the Clayton Valley basin, will support this increased demand for domestic supply of lithium.”

Eric Norris, Albemarle President, Lithium, said: “As a leader in the lithium industry, our priority is to optimise our world-class resources and production. This includes Silver Peak, a site uniquely positioned as the only lithium-producing resource in the United States.

“This investment in domestic capacity shows that we are committed to looking at the many ways in which Silver Peak can provide domestic support for the growing electric vehicle market.”

In addition to examining clay resources, Albemarle is seeking ways to optimise lithium extraction from its brine resources, including those in the Clayton Valley. Through a US Department of Energy-sponsored research project with Argonne National Laboratory, the company is investigating a process to streamline production of lithium hydroxide, which is principally used in electric vehicle batteries, from brine resources.

Albemarle’s domestic resources also include the historic 324 ha Kings Mountain, North Carolina, lithium site, which, it says, is one of the richest spodumene ore deposits in the world and home to the company’s global lithium technical centre and piloting operations, as well as lithium-containing brines in Arkansas.

AIS Resources invests in new solvent extraction process

Lithium-focused AIS Resources says it has signed an option agreement with Ekos Research to invest $1 million in its SOLVEX solvent extraction process.

The 120-day option pact would see AIS take a 15% stake in Ekos.

The SOLVEX process is the culmination of three years of research and development by Ekos Research, the University of Melbourne and the University of Tsinghua (China), according to AIS. This research has seen SOLVEX produce extraction rates exceed 99%, with greater than 99.2% purity lithium produced.

According to AIS, more than 90% of the solvents can be reclaimed using SOLVEX, while the process has 98.5% efficiency in removing major ions such as magnesium, calcium, potassium and boron.

Another potential benefit for AIS, which is currently exploring and developing lithium brine projects in northern Argentina (pictured), is the process looks to be “much more economic” than fractional crystallisation as no ponds are required. This could potentially reduce lithium processing investments by more than 60%, according to AIS.

“It is very efficient at handling high magnesium brines that pose a serious recovery problem using other technologies such as membranes, reverse osmosis, ion exchange and fractional crystallisation,” the company added.

The planned $1 million investment will go towards building a pilot plant in Melbourne that will be subsequently shipped to Salta, Argentina, where brines will be processed to demonstrate commercial viability, AIS said. This could see a pilot plant constructed nine months after the funding is received.

Standard Lithium engages WorleyParsons’ Advisian for LANXESS PEA

Standard Lithium has engaged Advisian, the consulting arm of WorleyParsons Canada Services, to carry out a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) on its flagship LANXESS project in the south-central region of Arkansas, the US.

The AACE Class 5 PEA on the 150,000-acre (60,703-ha) lithium brine project will be established using a baseline production of around 20,000 t/y of lithium carbonate equivalent. It is expected to be completed towards the end of the June quarter.

Dr Andy Robinson, Standard Lithium President and COO, said: “Myself and the Standard Lithium team are very familiar with the high level of quality and technical rigour that Advisian will bring to this PEA. Their deep experience in the lithium brine processing and crystallisation world, combined with a long track record of working in the US Gulk Coast region, is ideal for evaluating Standard Lithium’s unique and advanced lithium brine project in southern Arkansas.”

Advisian and WorleyParsons have carried out many lithium studies for brine and produced-water projects in North and South America for a range of operating and development-stage clients, according to Standard Lithium.

Standard Lithium’s patent-pending rapid lithium extraction process has the potential to reduce the recovery time of extracting lithium from brine from the current industry method that takes years to as little as several hours, according to the company.

“The process may also prove to be much more environmentally-friendly with a significantly smaller footprint than the conventional processes,” Standard Lithium said.

The company has a signed agreement to locate a demonstration-scale plant in Southern Arkansas, in 2019, with a processing approach that has not yet been used to extract and process lithium from brines at a commercial scale anywhere globally.