Posted on September 14, 2018
Standard Lithium Ltd. has updated its progress to develop and build a large-scale lithium production pilot plant for deployment near El Dorado.
The Vancouver, BC, company and its Scientific Advisory Team have been developing, testing and optimizing proprietary lithium extraction and crystallization technologies on Smackover brines for over a year.
The test is now at the stage where the process flowsheet is sufficiently tested and proven to allow procurement and fabrication to commence on the full-scale pilot plant.
A lithium extraction mini-pilot plant has been operated continuously for long durations, and has demonstrated that lithium can be selectively extracted from raw Smackover brine (with no pre-treatment other than pH adjustment); can be converted into a concentrated and substantially purified (compared to the feed brine) lithium chloride solution; that the lithium-loaded sorbent material can be continuously regenerated and recycled to the extraction stage; and that overall lithium extraction efficiencies of over 90 percent can be achieved.
Completion of this work has allowed design of the large-scale lithium extraction pilot plant to be sufficiently completed, such that procurement of long lead-time equipment has commenced. The procurement and fabrication of the lithium extraction pilot plant is being performed by Zeton Inc. at their design and fabrication facility in Burlington, Ontario. Once fabrication of the modular pilot plant is complete, it will be shipped to the project site in Union County for installation, commissioning and operation.
Initial site investigation and civil/mechanical engineering design work have commenced at the project site, and it is expected that all site preparation and brine/utility interconnections will be completed well in advance of deployment of the pilot plant modules to the site.
The company has been performing testwork to selectively crystallise “battery-grade” lithium carbonate directly from the concentrated lithium chloride solutions produced by the company’s proprietary lithium extraction technology. This testwork has been successful in making high purity lithium carbonate material of more than 99.5 percent purity), and as previously announced the company and its technology partners are currently fabricating a pilot scale crystallisation plant.
This first pilot scale plant will be capable of running continuously, and will serve as proof-of-concept that Standard Lithium’s proprietary crystallisation technology can be used in place of existing OEM crystallisation technologies. Should initial testing be successful, then a larger pilot/demo scale crystalliser will be constructed for deployment at the Project site.
Dr. Andy Robinson, president and COO of Standard Lithium said, “Our Scientific Advisory Team and technology partners have been working tirelessly over the past 12 months to develop modern, efficient and scaleable technology solutions appropriate for deployment at our project site in Arkansas. We’re very excited that we’re now at the stage where procurement and construction of the full-scale pilot equipment has commenced, and all project activities are aligned towards deploying the full-scale modular pilot plant in the first part of 2019.
“Standard Lithium has some significant milestones ahead of us in the next two quarters, and we look forward to sharing more details on our projects and proprietary process technologies as we issue technical reports over the coming months.”