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CleanTech Lithium confirms Laguna Verde brine is battery grade

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AIM-listed lithium miner CleanTech Lithium, has completed its laboratory scale Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) test work, which has yielded a one kilo sample of lithium carbonate. Lab analysis of the sample is now also available, following independent analysis by German lab Dorfner Anzaplan.

Testing has confirmed that the project’s lithium surpasses the required benchmark grade for battery lithium, with very low impurities.

CleanTech Lithium is an exploration and development company, advancing the next generation of sustainable lithium projects in Chile. Its mission is to produce material quantities of battery grade lithium with near zero carbon emissions and low environmental impact, offering the EU EV market a green lithium supply solution.

The company has two prospective lithium projects – the Laguna Verde and Francisco Basin projects, both located in the lithium triangle, the world’s centre for battery grade lithium production. They are situated within basins entirely controlled by CleanTech Lithium, which affords significant potential development and operational advantages. The projects have direct access to excellent infrastructure and renewable power.

Why the Beyond Lithium extraction process is so important

The DLE process developed by Beyond Lithium is based on using an alumina based resin to adsorb lithium followed by further processing stages of reverse osmosis, mechanical evaporation, impurity removal and carbonation.

The DLE process is a proprietary process for CleanTech Lithium, designed to be scalable, cost effective and to minimise the project´s environmental footprint. “This is a proprietary process developed for the Laguna Verde brine, which is designed to be scalable, cost effective and to minimise the projects environmental footprint,” said Aldo Boitano, who is CEO of CleanTech Lithium.

Boitano said that the next stage of the project will involved advancing to pilot scale work to further optimise and de-risk the process in line with CleanTech Lithium’s mission to produce material quantities of battery grade lithium, with near zero carbon emissions and low environmental impact. This could offer the EU EV market a green lithium supply solution, making this a very exciting project indeed.

The optimal temperature for the adsorption process is 20 degrees Celsius, which is similar to the measured temperature of brine from sampling of the company’s Laguna Verde subsurface brine, potentially reducing project operating costs and the environmental footprint.

CleanTech Lithium´s process partner, Beyond Lithium, completed laboratory scale test-work to produce 1kg of battery grade lithium carbonate. CleanTech provided 2,000 litres of brine from the Laguna Verde project, which was delivered to Beyond Lithium´s laboratory in Salta, Argentina. In the process designed for the Laguna Verde project, the feed brine, which is the brine pumped from the project, is processed in five stages (see below).

Cleantech Lithium process for Laguna Verde project

So what next for CleanTech Lithium?

CleanTech Lithium and Beyond Lithium say they will now advance to the next stage of DLE test-work, which is pilot scale production with the aim of producing 10 tonnes of battery grade lithium per month. Pilot scale test-work will focus on optimising the process. This will include reverse osmosis to concentrate the eluate and working with KMX Technologies, the leader in membrane distillation, which has strong potential to replace the mechanical evaporator stage of the process resulting in the maximisation of water retention. The company said the planning of pilot scale test-work is currently advancing and will be funded from the monies raised at the time of the IPO.

In the DLE process, heating of brine is a significant component of a project´s energy consumption and operating costs. Beyond Lithium confirmed the optimal temperature for brine to be processed with the sorbent designed for the Laguna Verde DLE process is 20 degrees C. The temperature of sub-surface brine at Laguna Verde has been systematically measured as part of the recently completed resource drill program.

Measurements have indicated a strong geothermal influence on the sub-surface brine with temperatures in a very similar range to the optimal DLE process temperature. CleanTech Lithium said it will further evaluate the significance of this, particularly on the potential to reduce energy consumption and therefore operating costs and the project’s environmental footprint, as feasibility studies continue to progress.

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This article does not constitute investment advice. Make sure you do your own research or consult a professional advisor.

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