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Vancouver, Canada-based Standard Lithium said Oct. 10 it confirmed what it believes is the highest lithium grade brine in North America in the East Texas Smackover region.
The company said its latest lithium sample analyses from a new well drilled in East Texas show lithium concentrations of 663 milligrams of lithium per liter (mg/L) with grades comparable to some resources in South America. Results are based on two samples from the Upper Smackover Zone.
The lithium concentrations are triple the average lithium concentration levels reported for the California Salton Sea Geothermal Brine area, the company said.
“We expect our East Texas landholdings to form a substantially larger and higher-grade lithium brine project for future production,” Standard Lithium COO Andy Robinson said in a news release. “Standard Lithium will continue to progress its portfolio of projects to help meet U.S. demand for lithium over the next decade.”
The push to lower emissions has led to higher demand for lithium, a critical metal and key ingredient for rechargeable batteries used to power electric vehicles (EVs) and personal electronic devices. As global lithium demand is expected to spike in the coming decades, the U.S. is on a mission to increase domestic supplies and reduce reliance on Asian imports.
In addition to the East Texas project, Standard Lithium has two other, more advanced projects underway in Arkansas. The Phase 1A project in El Dorado, Arkansas, is targeting production of 5,400 metric tons per annum (mtpa) of battery quality lithium carbonate over a 25-year operating life, with an average lithium grade of 217 mg/L. Standard Lithium’s South West Arkansas Project aims for at least 30,000 mtpa of battery quality lithium hydroxide over a 20-year operating life, with an average reported lithium grade of 437 mg/L, according to the release.
“Lithium grades in the company’s projects indicate an increasing trend moving westward from Phase 1A to the South West Arkansas Project and finally, into East Texas,” the release stated. “In Standard Lithium’s experience, higher lithium grades in brine are directly correlated with lower capital and operating expenses per tonne of lithium produced, thereby enhancing the economic viability of potential projects.”
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