Eye on Lithium: Direct lithium extraction technology picking up steam, Lodestar eyes 2km anomaly in WA
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All your ASX lithium news for Thursday, March 3.
Direct extraction technology is nothing new – it’s been used in water treatment for decades – but its use to extract lithium from brines is just now coming into its own.
DLE tech promises to produce cheaper, higher quality, and more environmentally friendly lithium than incumbent processes. Its why companies like Lake Resources (ASX:LKE), Vulcan (ASX:VUL) and Anson Resources (ASX:ASN) have it at the heart of their respective projects.
Now Canadian cleantech company Summit Nanotech has just closed a Series A investment round of US$14M, co-led by Xora Innovation, Capricorn’s Technology Impact Fund, along with BHP Ventures.
The funds will be used to advance the commercialisation of its denaLi Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) platform, which leverages advanced nanomaterials and employs proprietary processes to make lithium extraction even cleaner and more efficient.
The denaLi 1000 m3/day modular units are designed to double yield, reduce climate pollution, minimise the use of chemicals and freshwater, and cut waste by 90% compared to traditional lithium extraction methods, driving global ESG standards.
Plus, the technology is also being developed to recover lithium from battery recycling streams to support the circular economy.
“It’s not an overstatement to say that we are on the doorstep of a massive problem with lithium demand. This financing will enable us to scale our denaLi technologies to make lithium mining more efficient and sustainable,” Summit CEO and founder Amanda Hall said.
“We’re fortunate to now be joined by an exceptional group of experienced investors, headquartered on three continents and with truly global reach. They not only grasp our scientific foundations but also share our ambitions to bring sustainable solutions and attractive economics to F500 and junior mining companies alike.”
The junior explorer is hoping to confirm the presence of a 2km-long lithium soil anomaly at ‘Coolgardie West’ project in WA.
LSR managing director Bill Clayton calls it “one of the more compelling lithium soil anomalies I have seen”.
In December, a reconnaissance visit observed historic mining activity in poorly outcropping pegmatite (lithium host rock) at the northern end of the anomaly.
This pegmatite is not mapped, nor is there any record of pegmatites previously identified within the tenement, says LSR, which is the first operator to specifically target lithium at Coolgardie West.
The new exploration program will entail field mapping and soil sampling within the anomaly to confirm the LCT potential, it says.
“The next phase of exploration at Coolgardie West represents an exciting progression designed to provide robust, walk-up drill targets for both lithium and gold that can be rapidly tested on grant of the tenement,” Clayton says.
The $18m market cap stock is up 20% year-to-date. It has about $2.8m in the bank following a recent placement.
This $6.3m market cap company is on the hunt for new opportunities, and is expanding into the lithium space, announcing the WA Department of Mines Industry Regulations and Safety (DMIRS) has accepted applications by its subsidiary AUSBCM for two lithium tenements.
The ELA 38/3718 Barneys and ELA 38/3719 Neckersgat cover a total area of 275.8sqkm north-west of Laverton, where Ausmon reckons there’s potential for lithium based on studies indicating the presence of pegmatites.
The company plans to explore the area to determine if the pegmatites are the lithium, caesium, tantalum (LCT) type – which is associated with lithium already being mined around WA.
The company says ongoing diamond drilling campaign at the Salinas Lithium Project in Brazil is continuing to intersect thick, shallow dipping spodumene rich pegmatites, with the SADD003 hole returning a best intercept of 16.17m true thickness.
“We are extremely pleased with the progress of the drilling campaign, as well as our initial observations of the drill core.
“We are continuing to intersect the three separate pegmatites in the drilling, but importantly, we have indications that these pegmatites are increasing in thickness along strike to the south, as well as down dip,” MD Chris Gale said.
“This is a significant observation from the new drilling, and while we are very encouraged by these early signs from this greenfields discovery and our Salinas lithium project, we will continue to develop our geological model as our fully funded drilling campaign progresses and we continue to step out and test further afield along strike and down dip.”
Given the early success, the $51m market cap company anticipates that the current drilling campaign will be expanded following the completion of the current program, with the potential to add additional holes based on logging.
Infinity, through its Spanish subsidiary Extremadura New Energies, has nabbed a membership with the Círculo Empresarial Cacereño (CEC) – a well-known business group in the Cáceres and represents 3,500 businesses in the Cáceres province – which is where the company’s San José project is based.
The company says the collaboration will promote economic development and business initiatives within the lithium-ion battery chain in Cáceres – and ensure that maximum benefits from the project are realised by the town.
Plus, Extremadura New Energies has also signed a co-operative agreement outlining how they can work together for the benefit of the people of Cáceres, with the aim of promoting economic development within the lithium-ion battery value chain.
“This is an opportunity for the city and for the province, this project is a generator of employment and wealth, and it can also provide an opportunity on the future for the retention of talent and a way to combat depopulation,” CEC president Diego Hernández said.
The two groups will also work together on identifying relevant skills shortages locally and collaborate with local training and education institutes to develop future programs or opportunities.
Speaking of DLE tech, Lake is one of a handful of ASX listed players with exposure at its Kachi project in Argentina.
The $1b market cap company announced today that the modular demonstration plant designed and built by the engineering team at Lilac Solutions has been dispatched from California to Kachi.
“[We] have created a unique technology for lithium extraction which we strongly believe will reduce operating costs and boost lithium recovery for production of lithium chemicals from the Kachi brines,” Lilac’s CEO Dave Snydacker said
“Relative to conventional technology, our production process is lower cost and offers higher lithium recovery rates of 80-90 percent to produce battery quality lithium carbonate, while also protecting the local environment, including water resources.
“Our process is modular, produces high purity lithium, and can be ramped up quickly from pilot to commercial stages – our equity stake ensures a rapid commercialization of the Lilac technology at what is a globally significant lithium resource.”
The modular design allows for a “plug and play” approach, once brine feed, power and reagents are connected.
The demonstration plant will operate for around 3 to 4 months to produce lithium chloride (eluate) representing 2.5 tonnes of lithium carbonate, which will be converted into high purity battery quality lithium carbonate for potential offtakers and battery qualification later in the year.
Meanwhile, test work in California continues to produce data for the definitive feasibility study and product samples for testing.
The $18m market cap company has completed the second phase of its on-ground exploration at Barrow Creek in the NT, and says high potential areas remain untested, as they lie in the southeast of the project, outside of the one tested by the phase II work.
“Our phase one reconnaissance work disovered fertile pegmatites with assay results of up to 817ppm lithium,” VP exploration and geology Johan Lambrechts says.
“We thoroughly investigated and tested this area with the recently completed pahse two program and eagerly await the results.
“The recent field program identified several regions with extensive pegmatite outcrop, which are cause for further enthusiasm.
“The results for this last phase of work will form the basis for what the company hopes will be the inaugural RC drilling campaign on the Barrow Creek lithium project.”
The company’s share price is up 80% year-to-date, currently trading at $0.38.
Suzhou TA&A Ultra Clean Technology Co’s deal-spree continues.
GL1 – which has a 18.4 million tonne-and-growing lithium resource across its WA projects – has inked a 10-year offtake deal with Suzhou, which is also GL1’s largest shareholder at 9.4%.
“Having joined our register in December 2021 as a cornerstone investor, Suzhou TA&A has provided tremendous support in not only maintaining their 9.4% stake but also providing invaluable introductions and assistance, which has led us to signing this Strategic Offtake Agreement,” GL1 chair Warrick Hazeldine says.
“We look forward to continuing to work alongside Suzhou TA&A and its associated entities to further develop our lithium assets towards production and beyond.”
Earlier his month GL1 announced a maiden 9.9Mt resource grading 1.14% lithium and 49ppm tantalum for the ‘Manna’ lithium project in the goldfields of WA.
It almost doubles the company’s attributable resource base (Marble Bar project 100%, Manna project 80%) to 18.4Mt lithium.
A big achievement for a company which only listed on the ASX in May last year.
The $236m market cap stock is up 52% year-to-date, and 760% on its 2021 IPO price of 20c per share. It had $11m in the bank at the end of December.
The company identified a large LCT pegmatite anomaly at its Arunta West project in WA, just days after the rare earth REE anomaly announcement earlier in the week.
CEO Charles Schaus says the occurrence of the elevated and coincident lithium, tantalum and niobium samples along a greenstone-granite contact makes for “very exciting” follow-up exploration of this LCT pegmatite target.
“Norwest is submitting a follow-up work program this week to ensure the rapid mobilization of our field crew to site,” he said.
Detailed geochemical analysis of 6,550 multi-element assays from the company’s 2021 surface sampling program is progressing.