• Lithium Energy sends large sample of Solaroz lithium brine to DLE tech provider Lanshen’s laboratory in Chile
  • Lanshen will carry out test work to optimise the DLE process and provide data for the proposed DLE demonstration plant
  • Test work expected to be completed dur ing Q1 2024


Special Report: Lithium Energy has sent a 10,000 litre sample of lithium brine from its Solaroz project in Argentina to direct lithium extraction specialists Xi’an Lanshen New Material Technology for detailed test work.

While the company’s recent scoping study confirmed conventional pond evaporation remains the preferred base development case for Solaroz, its third-party funded direct lithium extraction (DLE) plant project with Lanshen provides an alternative potential production pathway.

Under the agreement with Lithium Energy (ASX:LEL), Lanshen will design, construct and operate a demonstration DLE plant capable of producing up to 3,000 tonnes per annum of battery-grade lithium carbonate at Solaroz.

Solaroz is on the Olaroz salar next to Allkem’s (ASX:AKE)  Olaroz JV with Toyota Tsusho and Lithium Argentina’s Olaroz-Cauchari JV with Ganfeng Lithium.

It has a contained resource of 3.3Mt lithium carbonate equivalent, of which 2.4Mt is in the higher confidence indicated category that allows for mine planning. The high-grade core of 1.3Mt at an average grade of 400mg/LCE was used in the scoping study.

Two production scenarios are envisaged for the project – a base 20,000tpa LCE option that will cost US$542m (excluding contingency) at an average opex of US$4,985/t and an upsized 40,000tpa option that will increase capex to US$987m but reduce opex to US$4,611/t.

Assuming an average Li2CO3 selling price of US$25,000/t over the life of mine (LOM) periods, even the base option will deliver post-tax internal rate of return (IRR) and net present value (NPV) – both measures of profitability – of 29% and US$1,319m respectively.


Test work to optimise DLE process

The 10,000l of representative lithium brines have been delivered to Lanshen’s laboratory in Santiago, Chile to undergo detailed test work, which will build on previous bench-scale testing.

Lithium Energy (ASX:LEL)
Lanshen’s laboratory in Chile. Pic: Supplied (LEL).

This test work will optimise the DLE process flowsheet, optimise resin performance and provide preliminary engineering data for the development of the proposed Lanshen DLE demonstration plant at Solaroz.

LEL expects the large-scale laboratory test work to be completed in Q1 CY2024, marking a significant milestone in the advancement of the proposed Lanshen DLE plant.



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.