Lake Resources Ltd’s (ASX:LKE) is making considerable progress with its strategy to sustainably produce the cleanest quality lithium carbonate at scale for use in the fast-growing battery market.
The strategy is centred on Lake's Argentine projects which are in a prime location within the Lithium Triangle alongside all five major lithium producers, where 40% of the world’s lithium is produced at the lowest cost, and with the Kachi project being most advanced.
A key component of the strategy is utilising the clean direct lithium extraction method developed by technology partner Lilac Solutions Inc and which is being successfully tested in ongoing work with Kachi brines.
Lake Resources is committed to being an efficient, responsibly-sourced, environmentally friendly and cost-competitive supplier of high-purity lithium, which is readily scalable, and in-demand from Tier-1 electric vehicle makers and battery makers.
The company owns more than 200,000 hectares of leases, including one hard rock project and is well-financed for its current plans, including the initiation of a definitive feasibility study (DFS) for the Kachi Project.
Discussions with international investment funds continue to secure funding for other studies and works to advance the Kachi project through to the establishment of construction finance.
Lake held cash of $3.06 million as at September 30 with no debt.
During the September quarter, LKE produced a high-quality lithium chloride solution from Kachi brine, which was processed by direct lithium extraction (DLE) in the pilot plant at Lilac Solutions in Oakland, California.
This solution was subsequently treated by Hazen Research Inc to convert the lithium chloride to high-quality, low-impurity lithium carbonate: 99.97% lithium carbonate.
Lithium carbonate produced by Hazen shows a 70% reduction in the overall level of impurities compared to Lake’s earlier lithium carbonate production and a significant 94% reduction in impurities compared with 99.5% lithium carbonate, widely accepted as 'battery-grade' in the current market.
Notably, the results show very low metal and cation impurities including iron and boron.
These results together with earlier tests have demonstrated the efficacy of the DLE process in producing a lithium chloride solution which can generate a high-quality lithium carbonate suitable for the battery market.
Lake expects this product to be highly attractive for the lithium-ion battery market where low impurities is a key factor in determining battery quality.
Geotechnical study underway
The company aims to bring the project towards production using the efficient, disruptive and low-cost DLE technology from Lilac Solutions.
Earlier in November, the company announced that a geotechnical study of the site where the direct lithium extraction pilot-demonstration plant will be located is underway following COVID-19 protocols.
The study will be conducted by local qualified consultants from Catamarca and the data will feed into the definitive feasibility study (DFS).
Shallow drill testing will begin shortly as part of this study.
With interpreted geophysical results, shallow water wells of up to 60 metres in depth will be drilled for the DFS.
Drill contracts for both geotechnical and water drilling are being finalised for mobilisation to site.
On top of this, a geophysical program that has been underway for nearly two months is almost complete and will assist in the positioning of brine test holes.
The final three lines of data of passive seismic geophysics are being collected and analysed to improve data quality.
Lake Resources is well-financed and these activities, while important, are not major expenditure items.
Updates on other activities with samples in the USA will be provided soon and the company confirms that the program with Hazen is ongoing and advancing to plan and timelines.