Lake Resources NL (ASX:LKE; OTC:LLKKF) is a clean lithium developer utilising clean, direct extraction technology for the development of sustainable, high purity lithium from its flagship Kachi Project, as well as three other lithium brine projects in Argentina. The projects cover 200 sq km in a prime location within the Lithium Triangle, where 40% of the world’s lithium is produced at the lowest cost.
An Australian public company, Lake aims to become an efficient, responsibly-sourced, environmentally friendly and cost competitive supplier of high-purity lithium. Lake’s projects are readily scalable and its battery-quality product is in demand from Tier 1 electric vehicle (EV) makers and battery makers worldwide.
Lake’s technology partner, California-based Lilac Solutions Inc has developed efficient and disruptive clean technology to produce sustainable high purity lithium. This has a small environmental footprint, both physically and by returning almost all brine to its source. The consistently high quality product together and its environmental and social benefits, make this in demand from tier one EV and battery makers.
Lilac’s cost-competitive technology has been backed by the Bill Gates-led Breakthrough Energy Fund and MIT’s The Engine Fund, among other leading sustainability investors.
High purity lithium carbonate samples (99.9%) with very low impurities have been produced from lithium brines from Lake’s flagship project. The growth of higher density batteries to drive the latest EVs has significantly increased demand for a consistently high purity product (battery quality) with low impurities, providing premium pricing for Lake’s planned product.
Prime location, large projects
Lake’s projects are located in the Lithium Triangle, the prime location globally for low cost lithium production from large projects. The Kachi Project covers 70,000 ha (170,000 acres) over a salt lake south of Livent’s lithium operation, with a large indicated and inferred resource of 4.4 Mt LCE (Indicated 1.0Mt, Inferred 3.4Mt).
A pre-feasibility study (PFS) on Kachi by a tier 1 engineering firm has shown the potential for a large, long-life low-cost operation, with competitive production costs at the lower end of the cost curve similar to current lithium brine producers.
Sustainable ESG benefit
By using a benign water treatment process to produce lithium, Lake avoids any mining and returns virtually all water (brine) to its source without changing its chemistry (apart from lithium removal). The environmental footprint is therefore far smaller than conventional brine evaporation pond processes or of hard rock mining, providing a better outcome for local communities and the environment.
Tier one EV and battery makers have been seeking more sustainable, responsibly sourced materials in their supply chain, as stated by VW, Daimler, BMW, Tesla and the European Commission, and this is driving demand for Lake’s product.
With analysts pointing to an increasing supply deficit for battery-quality lithium, Lake’s projects are in the right location at the right time and are ready for development.