Lithium extraction techniques – a look at the latest technologies and the companies involved _ seeking alpha

When I talk about the lithium miners with industry experts and industry insiders, the most interesting and yet unknown area, involves that of the disruptive lithium extraction technologies.

In response to several Seeking Alpha commentators requests, I take a look at the latest lithium extraction techniques and try to draw some conclusions. Gasbuddy login My purpose is to summarize the main options, and then to let investors and other experts give their input to reach the best conclusions, recognizing my limitations of not being a chemical engineer or expert in this area.

Brine – Using evaporation (18 months), then leaching. Electricity questions grade 6 Costs are about USD 2,000/tonne of LCE. E85 gas stations florida Slow process time, low (40- 50%) lithium extraction rate, high start up costs.

Spodumene – Using crushing, roasting, leaching. Q gastrobar Costs about USD 4,500/tonne of LCE, plus extra costs of around USD 3,000 to convert to higher battery grade lithium. Gas city indiana zip code Quick process time, lower start up costs.

Put simply, extracting lithium from brine is cheap but slow, from spodumene is expensive but fast, and from clay is not yet commercially proven at scale.

It is the cost of “crushing and roasting” that renders the cost of lithium from spodumene uncompetitive compared to the production of lithium chemicals from brines. E85 gas stations in iowa Despite spodumenes costing more to produce they still make up around 50% of the lithium market as lithium demand is currently so strong (and some low iron spodumene is used in ceramics and glass). Gas x chewables reviews Additionally, one also needs to consider that lithium concentrate is considerably higher in pegmatites (spodumene (LiAlSi 2O 6) is found in pegmatites) at around 8%, than in brines, helping pegmatite deposits to be economically viable and able to compete with brine deposits.

After the brine mines came online, and before the recent electric vehicle (EV) and lithium boom, virtually all of the spodumene producers went out of business as they had a higher cost of production (the exception was the Greenbushes mine that could sell low iron spodumene for the ceramics and glass market).

A key issue for the spodumene miners is how can they get their costs of production down, so that they are able to compete when the lithium price turns down again. Gas in michigan For the brine miners, the question is how can they produce more volumes and quicker, with less environmental damage. Electricity sources The answer to this will be in developing new lithium extraction techniques to disrupt the industry.

The four leading technologies involve leaching, solvent extraction, geothermal extraction, and electrolysis. Electricity transmission efficiency In some cases there is a combination of the above.

Lithium Australia is a dedicated developer of disruptive lithium extraction technologies including the versatile “Sileach” process, which is capable of recovering lithium from any silicate minerals. Gas efficient cars 2010 Lithium Australia has strategic alliances with a number of companies, potentially providing access to a diversified lithium mineral inventory globally. Gas gas In some case Lithium Australia has gained free access to process the lithium micas (waste ore), which they believe can be profitable using their Sileach technology.Sileach is based primarily on using sulfuric acid as the key reagent along with Lithium Australia’s proprietary Lixiviant preparation to leach (actually dissolve) the Lithium from the spodumene ore, or from brine. Electricity bill cost per unit The key is that it does not use roasting, thereby reduces cost.

According to Lithium Australia, the Sileach process will cost around USD 2,000 per tonne, putting it on par with the cost of the brine producers. Electricity merit badge requirements The advantage is that the process takes only 4 hours, to extract 90% of the lithium, and is effective on spodumene, and supposedly on clay. Gas definition Unlike conventional processes, the Sileach process does not require a roasting step, and therefore has the potential to be much more energy efficient. Electric utility companies in florida Reduction of energy consumption, together with the potential to recover valuable by-product credits, may provide cost efficiencies which were not previously possible. Pass gas in spanish The Sileach process cost is shown below by the red arrow, and the spodumene average costs is shown by the blue arrow.

Lithium Australia are currently starting a pilot plant project partially funded by the Australian Government backed ANSTO, in News South Wales, to further test their technology. Gas x strips directions By late 2016 they plan to build a demonstration plant, and in 2017 they hope to start a commercial production plant.

Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) has agreed to share equally in the operating costs of the pilot plant program (estimated to be approximately $400,000). Gas zeta costa rica If the program is successful, the parties will commit to form a 50/50 joint venture and undertake a Pre-Feasibility Study on the establishment of a large-scale pilot plant facility in the Port Headland area, the capital cost of which would be met by Lithium Australia.

Lithium Australia are also applying their Sileach technology on the Alix Resources ( OTC:ARXRF) (TSXV:AIX) clay lithium Electra project in Sonora Mexico, next door to Bacanora Minerals ( OTC:BCRMF) [TSXV:BCN]. 9gag nsfw If this succeeds it will open up clay based lithium projects to the market, and help establish the Sileach technology. O gosh Additionally Lithium Australia have been able to take a 25% equity stake in Alix Resources.

POSCO has developed their own secretive lithium extraction technique, since 2010, possibly using leaching. Gas 78 It is reported to have an 80- 90% lithium recovery rate when using it on brine, and taking just 8 hours. Mp electricity bill payment paschim kshetra POSCO have had several failed attempts at partnering up with a lithium project – initially in Bolivia, then Chile, then with Lithium Americas in Argentina. La gas prices now In February 2016, POSCO stated that it planned to build a large scale lithium processing plant in Argentina, which would utilize a lithium supply contract with Lithea Inc. Electricity in india ppt of Argentina, the company owning the mining rights of Pozuelos Salt Lake in Argentina, securing the stable permissions to access the lake. Static electricity definition physics They hope to produce 40ktpa of LCE by end 2017, and 135ktpa of LCE by 2020.

Note – Seeking Alpha commentator “philtskier” has stated (see comments section) after visiting POSCO’s project, “my view is POSCO and Lithea will never bring Pozuelos into production using any of their so called new technologies. Gas in oil mower Having visited Salta in the last few days POSCO seems to be hiding and covering up everything because their so called processes are costing a rumored $14,000 per tonne at their 2,500 (tonne) pilot plant and using a version of a patent that was developed in the 60’s. Electricity cost in california No-one I know in Boliva, Chile, Peru or Argentina (nor their suppliers in Salta) can pinpoint this so called new technology. Gaz 67 If they have brines with all the 2 valency ions removed it should only take 15 minutes not 8 hours to produce lithium chloride and another 15 minutes with some sodium carbonate to produce lithium carbonate.” I would be happy to hear from POSCO if this in not true, and if they can offer details on their technology and cost and rate of extraction.

Simbol announced in late 2012 that it had developed proprietary separation technology capable of extracting high-purity lithium carbonate from hydrothermal brines, a by-product of the geothermal power plants that operate on Southern California’s Salton Sea. Gas efficient suv 2014 Reports suggested they would use “reverse osmosis”, however their website discusses using hydrothermal brines, a by-product of geothermal power plants. Bp gas prices ny They use a proprietary technology that seamlessly bolts onto existing geothermal power plants. What is electricity The company states that their, “separation technology extracts lithium, manganese, and zinc in high quality at the first product cut. Gas in dogs causes We transform these materials using by-products from the geothermal plant, such as CO2, wastewater, and condensate, into high performance battery materials using our proprietary materials synthesis technology.”

Tenova is a worldwide supplier of advanced technologies, products, and services for the metals and mining industries providing innovative, integrated solutions for complete process areas.

LiSX technology achieved spectacular results at bench scale with 100% Lithium extraction at robust purity, lithium chloride solution (>99.9%), in just 1 day.

“Brine is pumped from underground and filtered to remove magnesium and calcium. B games 2 It’s then mixed with a proprietary solvent that selectively removes only the lithium. Gas x breastfeeding side effects The lithium in the brine combines with the solvent, even at low concentrations (as low as 20ppm). Electricity and circuits ppt The solvent is then moved into settling tanks where it is collected. A gas station The lithium is removed from the solvent, and processed into high purity battery materials such as lithium hydroxide. La gas prices map Now that the solvent has no remaining lithium in it, it’s available to be recycled and used again. Gas tax by state The process is continuous, takes less than a day, and the lithium free brine would be re-injected back into the ground, providing a uniquely sustainable low energy intensive, and truly green solution.”

Tenova are currently working with several lithium miners such as Pure Energy (HMGLF) (NYSE: PE), Orocobre ( OTCPK:OROCF) (ASX:ORE), and Lithium Americas ( OTCQX:LACDF) [TSX:LAC].

Eramet are a large French mining and metallurgical group. Electricity 2pm mp3 The company acts at each stage of the chain from exploration to mining to extraction to final metal product. Gas leak smell 2015 sales revenue breakdown was 46% manganese, 32% alloys, 22% nickel. Electricity equations physics You can read more about ERAMET here.

The brine goes through columns filled with solid beads which retain lithium, whereas the majority of other elements such as magnesium, calcium, boron, and sulphates are not captured. Electricity in the body These are then discharged with the brine. Gas stoichiometry formula After the brine has gone through the unit, a solution is used to recover lithium from the beads to which it is attached. Electricity bill You can view the full flow chart here.

Currently ERAMET are working on their Centenario-Ratones Argentine lithium brine project, with their Salta Government partner REMSA. Electricity projects for high school students In 2016, the ERAMET Lithium Project will enter the last phase of its development. Que gases componen el aire y su porcentaje After two years of development and optimization studies at lab scale and through continuous piloting, the Direct Extraction Process will be piloted at an industrial scale this year to finalize engineering studies and qualify the product for future clients.

Neometals has developed the ELi Process. Gas vs electric oven review The ELi process converts spodumene concentrate into a high purity lithium chloride solution, then uses “electrolysis” to produce high purity lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate.

Put simply the plant takes in lithium ore or brine, adds hydrochloric Acid ((HCl)), then using electrolysis splits the compound to separate out the lithium to form lithium hydroxide.

Electrolysis involves using electricity to split the lithium compound to form lithium hydroxide. Electricity video bill nye The advantages are it is a fairly simple process, and plant capex can be reasonable. Gas weed strain The main problem has been that electrolysis uses a lot of electricity, so it can be costly, especially if your electricity source is not cheap.

By using electrolysis, Nemaska Lithium’s main input cost is electricity, which in Quebec is highly predictable and cost effective. Grade 9 electricity module In Quebec, hydroelectricity costs just $0.05 kWh. Gas kinetic energy CEO Guy Bourassa sees this as a game changer for lithium extraction. Gas oil ratio units You can read more here. Gas 85 octane You can also read more about Nemaska Lithium here.

2) Lithium mines could be set up quicker and cheaper, and lithium supply can be brought to market a lot faster, and potentially in higher volumes. 850 gas block Lithium recoveries would be increased, improving economics.

3) This may lead to periods of oversupply in the lithium market. Gasbuddy diesel However, with rapid EV and energy storage adoption accelerating as prices fall ( especially after 2020) it may well be that demand rises just as fast as supply, and we see the lithium market grow at a rate much faster than previously.

4) Lithium brine deposits may lose some of their cost advantage, as spodumene and maybe clay can be processed cheaper. Gas efficient cars under 15000 The brine miners would have lower initial capital costs, and could bring their product to market quicker than previously (which was the advantage of spodumene). Electricity basics Those with access to cheap electricity such as Nemaska Lithium may prove to use electrolysis successfully to lower costs.

Overall, it looks to me as though all segments of the lithium miners (brine, spodumene and clay) can be winners for different reasons. Gas ninjas This will also help bring much needed supply to market, especially after 2020, when I see demand rising rapidly.

Given the large implications I believe all lithium miners could be affected by changes in this area. N game In particular the major lithium producers SQM (NYSE: SQM), Albermarle (NYSE: ALB), FMC Corp (NYSE: FMC),Ganfeng Lithium (SHE:002466), Sichuan Tianqi Lithium Industries (SHE:002466), Orocobre, Mineral Resources, Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY) ( OTCPK:GALXF), and Neometals. Electricity voltage in usa The near-term producers including Altura Mining ( OTC:ALTAF) [ASX:AJM], Pilbara Minerals, Nemaska Lithium, Critical Elements ( OTCQX:CRECF) (TSXV: CRE), Lithium Americas, Lithium X ( OTC:ROCEF) (TSXV:LIX), European Metals Holdings Ltd (ASX:EMH) (LSE:EMH) and Bacanora Minerals ( OTC:BCRMF) [TSXV:BCN]. Gas bubble And the prominent juniors Pure Energy, International Lithium ( OTC:ILHMF)(TSXV: ILC), and Dajin Resources ( OTCPK:DJIFF) (Private: DJI). Gsa 2016 Also this applies to the Lithium ETF .

2) There are different options developing such as leaching, solvent extraction, geothermal extraction, and electrolysis. Gas up shawty I am not knowledgeable enough to know which one will win, but it maybe more than one, depending on the mine type and location.

3) For now, I would favor for brines the Tenova Bateman or ERAMET solvent extraction technologies, as they can extract 100% of the lithium, and the brine can be returned to the salar, maintaining a more healthy environment. Gas numbers stove temperature However, they would lose some of the other mineral credits such as potash. 9gag For spodumene, where miners have access to very cheap electricity, it appears (from Nemaska Lithium’s cost estimates) that “electrolysis” can also be an effective solution, and if no cheap electricity the leaching technologies (Lithium Australia, maybe POSCO) look reasonable. Gas pedal lyrics Simbol’s geothermal extraction is really a lithium mining and extraction technique all in one, and obviously also has great potential.

In writing this article, I would hope to get some feedback from industry experts and insiders, so that investors can better understand which lithium extraction technique will be likely to succeed, and then factor that in on their selection of lithium miners. Electricity generation by source by state I am happy to modify my view and conclusions, if experts present compelling views and information forward, as I state I am not an expert in this field.

Disclosure: I am/we are long GALAXY RESOURCES (ASX:GXY), ALBERMARLE (ALB), OROCOBRE (ASX:ORE), LITHIUM AMERICAS (LAC), PILBARA METALS (ASX:PLS), NEMASKA LITHIUM (TSXV:NMX), ALTURA MINING (ASX:AJM), LITHIUM X (TSXV:LIX), CRITICAL ELEMENTS (TSXV:CRE)., CRYSTAL PEAK MINERALS (TVXV:CPM) , INTERNATIONAL LITHIUM CORP (TSXV:ILC), DAJIN RESOURCES (TSXV:DJI), ASBURTON VENTURES (TSXV:ABR), ALIX RESOURCES (TSXV:AIX).