Alpha Lithium Corporation has announce that it has engaged an experienced, specialist firm to undertake detailed engineering for a lithium pilot plant to be located in one of the Company’s primary asset locations, the Tolillar Salar in Argentina’s Lithium Triangle. Additionally, the Company has undertaken a bidding process to produce a Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA”) on a scalable, commercial production facility capable of producing up to 40,000 tonnes per year of high-purity lithium carbonate.
The Company currently has $44 million in cash; and accordingly, is well-funded to continue working towards its lithium carbonate production ambitions in Argentina.
Imec Ingeneria 360°, whom the Company had previously engaged to provide basic engineering services, is now engaged to provide detailed engineering services for the pilot plant. This is a natural progression of services, especially considering Alpha’s successful production of high-purity lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide. Imec’s mandate was expanded to include the detailed design of a fully operational pilot plant, which is intended to provide important data and information to inform the design of a full scale 40,000 tonne-per-year lithium chemicals production facility.
Alpha’s pilot plant will be constructed and tested in Salta’s industrial park, utilizing a skid-mounted, modular, and mobile design. Constructing in Salta in ideal factory conditions, versus on-site construction, provides the Company with significant cost savings, reliability of materials and construction crews, and availability of our technical experts to stress-test the entire process using Company-specific brine from both Tolillar and Hombre Muerto Salars. Once fully calibrated, the equipment, lab facilities and additional offices will be relocated to Tolillar Salar, where the current camp is being upgraded to accommodate a 400-person operation.
Brad Nichol, President, and CEO of Alpha, stated, “Construction of a lithium carbonate pilot plant is an important step towards large-scale commercial production, where we have targeted a first module of at least 20,000 tonnes per year with the intention to expand well beyond that initial phase. We are initiating discussions with the world’s most renowned engineering firms, capable of providing the significant engineering services for the design of such a large lithium chemicals production facility. A combination of the right people, processes, technology, and assets have brought Alpha to this important point in its development. With our maiden Resource Estimate expected shortly, Alpha Lithium is ready for the next level of advancement, with the objective of actively providing solutions for the global lithium supply shortage.”
Alpha’s proprietary Direct Lithium Extraction (“DLE”) process was developed in-house by the principals of Beyond Lithium LLC (“Beyond Lithium”) and concentrated lithium to 9,474 mg/L, after starting with a 200 mg/L brine sample. DLE processes comprise the first stage of the lithium refining flow sheet. Alpha’s DLE process, in addition to several other potential DLE processes, will be incorporated into the detailed engineering work currently being undertaken by Imec and is expected to be utilized by the engineering firm chosen to provide the PEA on a 40,000 tonne per year commercial plant.
The Company has also announced the engagement of Mario Portillo, a lithium expert and project manager with more than 40 years of experience. He has been hired to oversee the design, engineering, and construction process of the pilot plant. Mr. Portillo is world-renowned for his experience and rare expertise in the lithium processing and engineering fields. He previously held a leadership position at Techint, one of the oldest engineering and construction companies in Argentina, which designed and constructed Livent Corporation’s 25-year producing lithium carbonate and lithium chloride plants. He has previously worked for, amongst many others, Lithium Americas in the nearby Cauchari-Olaroz Salar and Galaxy Resources (now Allkem Limited) on the adjacent Sal de Vida project in the Hombre Muerto Salar.