CleanTech Lithium moves closer to opening DLE plant, selects Lanshen as resin supplier
( ) , a Chile-focused lithium explorer, announced positive results from its recently completed Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) process test work. The results informed the selection of the lithium adsorbent to be used in CleanTech's pilot plant, currently being commissioned in Copiapó, Chile.
DLE is a more modern and sustainable method of extracting lithium with significant environmental and cost benefits. In contrast to older methods, DLE has a much smaller geographical footprint, enabling cheaper and more efficient production while reducing aquifer depletion. CleanTech undertook extensive DLE work in 2023 to optimise its process, and today announced the selection of a lithium absorbent (used in the extraction process), from Xián Lanshen New Material Technology.
CleanTech said that recently completed multi-cycle tests on brine from its flagship Laguna Verde project produced very positive results for key DLE metrics: adsorbent capacity, lithium recovery rates, and eluate composition. The results were achieved without pH adjustment in pre-treatment or heating of the brine or eluant, with distilled water used for desorption.
CleanTech's DLE pilot plant at its R&D Centre in Copiapó, Chile has now been filled with Lanshen adsorbent and is in the latter stages of commissioning, the company said.
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CleanTech Lithium's DLE pilot plant is coming along, expected to be operational soon pending process and product verification. The plant is being commissioned at CleanTech's R&D Centre in Copiapó while much of DLE testing, including for selection of the absorbent, took place at the company's DLE testing lab in Antofagasta.
The selection of absorbent (or resin) is an important milestone for the plant. Lanshen is one of the largest DLE adsorbent suppliers in China with a lithium adsorbent manufacturing capacity of 8,000 cubic meters. Major shareholders of Lanshen include Softbank, Minmetals and CICC Capital. For North America and Europe, Lanshen has an exclusive agreement with Koch Industries under which Lanshen adsorbent is used in Koch's Li-Pro DLE process.
CleanTech is a pioneer of DLE technology in Chile, committed to using 100% renewable energy in its lithium extraction and processing. DLE offers substantial advantages in extraction efficiency, capacity scaling, timing, and environmental permitting. With the ability to potentially double lithium yield from brine projects, elevating it from the conventional 40-60% range to 70-90%+, DLE introduces sustainability benefits that align with the preferences of ESG-oriented investors. Notably, these include a remarkable 20-fold reduction in land usage from the lack of evaporation ponds.
CleanTech's DLE pilot plant is designed to produce up to 1 tonne per month of LCE in concentrated lithium eluate, which will be processed to battery-grade lithium carbonate at an existing 3rd party facility. CleanTech is also advancing a pre-feasibility study (PFS) at its flagship Laguna Verde project, which will incorporate results from test work over 6 months using a lab-scale multivalve DLE system.
CleanTech's approach is aligned with Chile's National Lithium Strategy, which mandates the use of DLE.
Investors interested in sustainable lithium mining utilising DLE technology shouldCleanTech Lithium.
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