• Arizona Lithium’s DLE pilot plant produces very high quality and consistent results
  • Plant delivers +13,500L of high-purity lithium concentrate
  • Operational data will be used to inform final design and engineering of commercial plant


Special Report: Arizona Lithium’s direct lithium extraction pilot plant at its Prairie project in Saskatchewan, Canada, has operated exceedingly well over the past three months and will help determine the final design and engineering of the commercial plant.

Prairie hosts a resource of 6.3Mt of contained lithium carbonate equivalent – including 4.5Mt in the higher confidence indicated category – and benefits from being in one of the world’s top mining-friendly jurisdictions, with easy access to key infrastructure including electricity, natural gas, fresh water, paved highways and railroads.

A Pre-Feasibility Study completed by Arizona Lithium (ASX:AZL) has already estimated annual operating costs of US$2,819/t for a Phase 1 project producing 6,000tpa of LCE from Prairie.

This will deliver net present value and internal rate of return – both measures of a project’s profitability – of US$448m and 23.9% respectively, with capex estimated at just US$290m.

AZL previously noted that concentrate produced by the pilot plant has a grade of 1,328mg/L with an attractive baseline steady-state lithium extraction rate of 95.6%.


Lithium brine processing methodology. Pic: Supplied (AZL)


Pilot plant in final phase of operations

The DLE pilot plant, which is in its final phases of operation, produced very high quality and consistent results, according to AZL.

Over the past three months, the plant processed over 200,000L of brine and produced over 13,500L of high-purity lithium concentrate.

Data from the pilot plant will be used to finalise the design and engineering of the commercial DLE facility.

AZL has shipped the concentrate to its Lithium Research Centre in Arizona where it will be further processed using Counter Flow Reverse Osmosis (CFRO).

The CFRO pilot is anticipated to be operational at the LRC in Q2 2024 and will produce a final concentrate product to be converted into high-purity, commercial-grade lithium products, where it can be qualified for strategics offtakes.


Comprehensive report in the works

“Having recently again visited the pilot plant at our Prairie project in Saskatchewan, I am very impressed with the operational consistency and exceptional results delivered over the past three months,” AZL managing director Paul Lloyd said.

“Seeing the pilot plant process brine from our well and produce a high-quality lithium concentrate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, has the whole team very excited for commercialisation.

“We are in our final phase of the pilot and look forward to releasing an extensive report on the results.”



This article was developed in collaboration with Arizona Lithium, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.


This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.