Alpha Lithium Corporation, Vancouver, Canada, (TSX.V: ALLI) (OTC: ALLIF) (Frankfurt: 2P62), sole owner of one of the last large, undeveloped salars in Argentina’s Lithium Triangle, has produced an excellent result from small scale Direct Lithium Extraction (“DLE”) studies, conducted by the principals of Beyond Lithium LLC, a team of renowned lithium brine processing experts.
Alpha’s first DLE investigation resulted in a lithium concentration of 4,540 mg/L utilizing raw brine from the historic legacy well, drilled by the previous owners in the Tolillar Salar.
The process utilized readily available, standard DLE-type methodologies, equipment and products resulting in very low measures of impurities such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, sulfates and boron. Further refinement of the post DLE eluate is underway, with the objective of (i) achieving an even higher lithium concentration in the future and (ii) producing samples of LCE and lithium hydroxide.
The result of 4,540 mg/L was achieved using a single pass-through reverse osmosis procedure and the results are expected to improve incrementally after subsequent trials.
Based on the strong results thus far, Alpha has expanded its investigation of the entire process flowsheet beyond the initial concentration stage and is confident that it will produce LCE and lithium hydroxide from Tolillar brine in the future. The Company plans to provide a further update and the results of LCE, and/or lithium hydroxide production in the next month.
Brad Nichol, President and CEO, commented, “Our successful concentration of brine, being the first step of the entire lithium production flowsheet, is very encouraging and definitely exceeded our expectations. We have high hopes on taking this first step to its logical conclusion, which is the production of lithium hydroxide and/or LCE. What our team has achieved in such a short period of time is incredible. We have combined ingenuity, technology and experience to demonstrate the viability of brine from the Tolillar Salar.”
Industry-wide, DLE technology development has demonstrated significant benefits over traditional evaporative techniques. Alpha’s DLE testing, to date, has focused on the (i) concentration of lithium and (ii) elimination of as many of the impurities as possible, early in the production process, with the overall objectives of:
- Reducing Capital Expenditures (“CAPEX”) by reducing the reliance on massive evaporation ponds, which are historically one of the most expensive components of brine-based projects,
- Increasing efficiency in lithium recoverability, as successful DLE deployment can recover up to 90% of the lithium,
- Reducing Operating Expenditures (“OPEX”) through the minimization of reagents use, which would typically be transported in large quantities to site, and
- Minimizing negative impacts on the environment through smaller operating footprints, fewer hazardous materials use, lesser reagents transported to site, and the reduction or elimination of evaporation ponds spread across hundreds or even thousands of hectares.
The Company previously announced that it has sent Lilac Solutions Inc (“Lilac”) brine samples from Tolillar Salar. The results of Lilac’s testing are still forthcoming, and the Company is eager to compare the results of Lilac’s patented ion exchange technology that facilitates production of lithium from abundant brine resources with minimal cost and ultra-low environmental footprint.
Once Phase 3 drilling is complete, all drilling, logging and flow data will be reviewed by Alpha’s independent engineering firm, Montgomery and Associates, whom have been engaged to prepare a Resource Estimate.
About Alpha Lithium
Alpha Lithium is a growing team of industry professionals and experienced stakeholders focused on the development of the Tolillar Salar. Together, we have assembled 100% ownership of what may be one of Argentina’s last undeveloped lithium salars, encompassing 27,500 hectares (67,954 acres), neighboring multi-billion-dollar lithium players in the heart of the renowned “Lithium Triangle”. Other companies in the area exploring for lithium brines or currently in production include Galaxy Lithium, Livent, and POSCO in Salar del Hombre Muerto; Orocobre in Salar Olaroz; Eramine SudAmerica S.A. in Salar de Centenario; and Gangfeng and Lithium Americas in Salar de Cauchari.