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Standard Lithium, Lanxess agree to test viability of lithium extraction from South Arkansas brine

Friday, May 11, 2018

 

May 9, 2018 Updated May 9, 2018                                        
 

 

 

Standard Lithium and Lanxess are studying the possibility of processing lithium from brine at Lanxess' Union County facilities. Standard Lithium also has brine leases in Lafayette and Columbia counties.

 

Standard Lithium

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Standard Lithium Ltd. has announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Lanxess and its U.S. affiliate, Great Lakes Chemical Corporation, with the purpose of testing and proving the commercial viability of extraction of lithium from brine.

The brine is produced as part of Lanxess's bromine extraction business at its three Union County, Arkansas facilities.

Lanxess' land operations in Southern Arkansas encompass more than 150,000 acres, 10,000 brine leases and surface agreements and 250 miles of pipelines. Lanxess the brine from wells located throughout the area, and the brine is transported to the three plants through a network of pipelines. The three bromine extraction plants currently employ approximately 500 people and process and reinject several hundred thousand barrels of brine per day.

 

Standard Lithium has developed proprietary processes related to the extraction of high purity lithium directly from brines, including tail brine. Additionally, the company has secured the rights to conduct exploration, production and lithium extraction activities on roughly 30,000 acres of brine leases located elsewhere in the Smackover Formation in Southwest Arkansas.

 

According to a map provided by the company, most of the 30,000 acres of brine leases have been acquired from Tetra Technologies in western Columbia and eastern Lafayette counties.

The MoU sets out the basis on which the parties have agreed to cooperate in a phased process toward developing commercial opportunities related to the production, marketing and sale of battery grade lithium products extracted from tail brine and brine produced from the Smackover Formation.

The MoU forms the basis of what will become a definitive agreement and is binding until the execution of a more comprehensive agreement that the parties may execute on the completion of further development phases. Standard Lithium has paid an initial $3,000,000 reservation fee to Lanxess to secure access to the tail brine, with additional fees and obligations in the future subject to certain conditions.

Robert Mintak, CEO of Standard Lithium, said, "We are delighted to be entering into a cooperation with Lanxess, a highly-respected world leader in the specialty chemical sector."

“Given the scale of the existing infrastructure and potential resource, the mitigation of project execution risks and acceleration of the Smackover project development timeline, this MoU represents an important step for Standard Lithium,” Mintak said.

Dr. Andy Robinson, president and COO of the company, said, "This project provides the perfect opportunity to test modern brine processing technology on an existing lithium brine stream. We hope to move as quickly as possible toward deploying our pilot plant."

Companies all over the world are rapidly developing technology to locate and process lithium, one of the basic elements, into a battery-grade product for automobiles and potentially almost any electronic device. Albemarle Corporation has already emerged as a leader in lithium refining, although it is not conducting that activity at its Columbia County facilities.