Summit Nanotech starts Argentina lithium extraction pilot

August 30, 2023
In the news

The original story was published by Elinor Trebilcock at BNamericas on August 30, 2023 (link).

Canadian technology company Summit Nanotech and Australian junior Power Minerals are advancing a joint lithium project at Argentina’s Salar de Incahuasi.

The companies aim to extract lithium at the property in Salta province to supply electric vehicle manufacturers.

Summit successfully completed a first phase of testing its proprietary lithium extraction technology, called denaLi, with brine from the salt flat, Power Minerals (formerly PepinNini) said in a statement. "The results confirm the ability to produce a low-impurity lithium concentrate with adequate potential to process lithium products suitable for batteries," it said.

Summit CEO Amanda Hall told BNamericas that the next phase involves “starting pilot testing for Incahuasi brines at our Santiago scale-up facility in 4Q23. Data collected there will be used to support a prefeasibility study and de-risk the on-site demo planned in the future.”

The phase will extend into 2025 with a capacity of 100t/y and seek to "eliminate the risks of moving toward a commercial facility that aims at greater production. It will also support the definitive feasibility study we will carry out with Power Minerals," she added.

Hall said the technology will allow recovering and reusing 95% of the water needed. "Although most of our water is recycled, water consumption at commercial scale will be less than 25m3/t LCE. This can be sourced through desalination."

The project took into consideration previous studies by Power Minerals, which "allowed us to visualize the potential of the Salar de Incahuasi," Hall said.

A reputation of “realistic and diligent data collection and transparent publications are among the many reasons we chose Power Minerals as a partner. Summit has leveraged these data to estimate pro forma economics and techno-economic assessments.”

The agreement involves an initial US$3mn investment by Summit, with which it will gain the right to get a 30% stake in the project, subject to the results of the denaLiTM pilot, regulatory requirements and the decisions made based on the feasibility study.

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