Standard Lithium provides results of DLE process

Standard Lithium Ltd., a leading near-commercial lithium development company, has…

Standard Lithium Ltd., a leading near-commercial lithium development company, has shared detailed performance results from its Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) process at its Demonstration Plant near El Dorado, Arkansas.

Standard Lithium’s Demonstration Plant is the only truly large-scale, continuously operating DLE plant in North America. Initially commissioned in May 2020, the Plant has operated on a 24/7 basis since then (aside from turnaround due to equipment upgrades in the plant and brine supply interruptions). To date, the Plant has processed over 15 million gallons of Smackover brine, providing valuable data and overall process improvements for the design and future operation of a full-scale commercial DLE plant. The detailed performance results reported below reflect the success of the LiPROTM LSS (DLE) technology integrated into Standard Lithium’s overall flowsheet, which is detailed in the Definitive Feasibility Study for Phase 1A and the Preliminary Feasibility Study for South West Arkansas. Both studies incorporate the LiPRO LSS (DLE) process developed in collaboration with Koch Technology Solutions, LLC (“KTS”).

Key Findings:

  • Lithium recovery efficiency: During a representative period of performance over July and August 2023, the LiPRO LSS (DLE) process achieved an average lithium recovery of 96.1% from the continuous incoming brine flow.
  • Element rejection rate: During the same period, the DLE process rejected, on average, over 99% of the key contaminants sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium from the brine (i.e. less than 1% of those contaminants made it through the DLE into the first lithium chloride solution); and over 95% of boron was rejected.
  • Operational cycles: The LiPRO LSS (DLE) process has completed over 8000 operational cycles.
  • Brine processed: As of the end of September 2023, the Demo Plant had processed 15 467 815 gallons of Smackover brine, produced directly from the formation and reinjected continuously back into the same formation.
  • Product: The LiPRO LSS (DLE) initial product has been further purified and concentrated in the integrated Plant to form a final LiCl solution containing over 10 000 mg/L lithium. This Intermediate Product has been shipped off-site and has been successfully converted to both battery quality lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide.

One of the fundamental findings of the Demonstration Plant is the necessity of long-duration, on-site continuous processing of real brine. In traditional small-scale, short-term off-site batch processes, where brine is isolated, transported and often undergoes physical and chemical changes before testing, Standard Lithium’s Demo Plant handles real Smackover brine directly from the resource. The long-term operation of the Demo Plant has been crucial in replicating and understanding the real-world dynamic conditions of continuous commercial-scale operations. In addition, operating the Demo Plant for an extended period has allowed Standard Lithium and their Joint Development Partners, Koch Technology Solutions, to tailor and optimise all parts of the multi-step flowsheet that allow the Plant to be scaled-up for commercial production.

Standard Lithium’s President, Dr. Andy Robinson commented, “Over three and a half years of rigorous testing and integrated process improvements have provided us with unrivalled knowledge of lithium extraction from Smackover brines. We selected Smackover brines for their existing commercial operations, exceptional lithium grade, and straightforward geochemical nature, distinguishing them as North America’s premier lithium brine resource and comparable to those in Chile and Argentina. Systematically tackling the technical challenges of continuous operation and scaling-up has prepared us for a smoother transition to commercial production. Whilst we anticipate challenges, our extensive experience and knowledge, in combination with our technology partners and the expertise of our Plant’s engineers and operators, sets us up for success. The continuous performance of the Plant, over a sustained period of time, has exceeded our expectations and allows us to move our projects forward confidently. We now have a tested and proven DLE technology and integrated flowsheet that we can apply across our series of world-class Smackover assets with our current and future partners”.

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