• 99.5% battery-grade Li has been produced from Solaroz brines
  • LEL is weighing up between production rates of either 20ktpa or 40ktpa


Special Report: A first sample of battery grade (99.5%) lithium carbonate has been produced through Norlab testwork from Lithium Energy’s Solaroz project – a significant milestone towards production.

Lithium Energy’s (ASX:LEL) Solaroz project is on the Olaroz salar, where fellow ASX-listed miner Arcadium’s (ASX:LTM) (formerly Allkem) Olaroz lithium facility is ramping up production to 42.5ktpa and the recently commissioned Lithium Argentina Corporation’s Cauchari-Olaroz facility is targeting a 40ktpa LCE production rate.

The Solaroz 3.3Mt LCE resource contains a high-grade core of 1.3Mt of LCE with an average concentration of 400 mg/l Li (at a 320 mg/l Li cut-off grade).

That core underpins recent scoping study outcomes for both 20ktpa and 40ktpa LCE production from Solaroz using conventional evaporation ponds processing, while indicating that direct lithium extraction (DLE) techniques can potentially provide better recoveries and a more cost- effective operation.

Lithium Energy (ASX:LEL)
The Solaroz tenements and surrounding lithium-brine projects. Pic supplied: (LEL)


Battery grade carbonate

Started by Norlab SRL in Argentina in October last year,  evaporation pond testwork was conducted on a 300L sample of Solaroz brine taken from Chico I’s SOZDD003 hole at a depth of between 514-552m with a feed grade of 397mg/l Li, determined to be generally representative of the lithium rich brines contained at Solaroz.

LEL says production of battery grade lithium carbonate is “a highly important step in the advancement of Solaroz to production, with work conducted to date providing the key design criteria inputs for the advancement of the project”.


Testwork continues

In parallel to the Norlab work, the first batch of on-site evaporation tests have been completed across two installed ponds at Chico I.

LEL is now able to receive on-site field data on daily evaporation rates and brine chemistry – crucial data that’s required to advance to production.

The ponds have been emptied and cleaned and will be refilled to continue further evaporation testwork during the coming months to assess the seasonal differences that can be expected on the Olaroz Salar.

Meanwhile, the developer is also continuing the assessment of a 3,000tpa pilot plant with DLE tech company Lanshen as it weighs up extraction options for Solaroz.



This article was developed in collaboration with Lithium Energy, 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.