IBC Produces 99.5+% Lithium Hydroxide Monohydrate Product from Brine at Salar de Maricunga, Chile using Direct Lithium to Product™ (DLP™) Process

AMERICAN FORK, Utah, April 25, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — IBC Advanced Technologies, Inc. (“IBC”) announces production of 99.5+% lithium hydroxide monohydrate (“LiOH.H2O”) product at its Direct Lithium to Product™ (DLP™) pilot plant (“Pilot Plant”) currently operating at Salar de Maricunga, Chile. This follows the successful demonstration of highly selective, high-yield (99+%) direct lithium (“Li”) extraction from Salar de Maricunga brine with high water efficiency.

Direct Lithium to Product™ (DLP™) Pilot Plant Crystallizer

Please see press release dated March 24, 2023 for more information on the direct lithium extraction results:

IBC Demonstrates Highly Selective, High Yield (99+%) Direct Lithium Extraction from Brine at Salar de Maricunga, Chile using Direct Lithium to Product™ (DLP™) Process (prnewswire.com)   

Summary

  • Direct production of 99.5+% lithium hydroxide monohydrate product, without the need to first produce lithium carbonate
  • Non-detectable levels of magnetic and other impurities including Fe, Cr, Ni, Mg and Pb
  • Analyses performed by the Universidad de Atacama, an independent third-party laboratory
  • 99% overall recovery yield from brine to production of lithium hydroxide monohydrate product
  • Lithium hydroxide monohydrate production at the same site as direct lithium extraction from brine
  • High water efficiency

DLP™ – Supporting the Chilean Mandate for Water Conservation, Environmental Stewardship and Cultural Preservation

The IBC/SIMCO team is appreciative of, and fully supports Chilean President Gabriel Boric’s foresight and leadership in mitigating the environmental effects of lithium mining. The DLP™ process achieves President Boric’s vision. DLP™ is unique in its demonstrated ability to produce pure (99.5+%) lithium hydroxide monohydrate product at the same site as direct lithium extraction, with 99% overall recovery yield from brine to product, while conserving precious water resources, minimizing environmental impact and preserving surrounding communities.   

DLP™ Process

DLP™ is a self-contained process that produces pure lithium hydroxide monohydrate product at the same site as direct lithium extraction from brine. LiOH.H2O is produced sustainably, efficiently and rapidly at high yield.

DLP™ begins with direct lithium extraction from brine (99+% extraction yield), at ambient temperature and atmospheric pressure, using IBC’s proprietary Molecular Recognition Technology™ (MRT™) process incorporating SuperLig® 285 resin (manufactured exclusively by IBC) which is highly selective for Li. The brine, minus the extracted Li, is returned to the salar. High extraction yield results in less volume of the brine that needs to be treated per unit of lithium extracted, thereby eliminating negative environmental effects, avoiding wastage and conserving water, energy, space and capital equipment. The purified, concentrated lithium-rich solution from the MRT™ module is transformed directly to lithium hydroxide and crystallized to lithium hydroxide monohydrate product.

High Water Efficiency

The DLP™ process is highly water efficient:  

  • Need for only infrequent washing of the MRT™ columns
  • No introduction of contaminants in the simple column washing procedure
  • Production of a concentrated, pure lithium eluate solution, thereby minimizing downstream processing volume
  • Complete recycling of process water

High Lithium Recovery Yield from Brine to LiOH.H2O Product

The DLP™ process performs direct lithium extraction from Salar de Maricunga brine at 99+% recovery yield. This extracted lithium is completely eluted from the SuperLig® 285 resin and processed through the MRT™ module resulting in a pure, concentrated Li-rich solution that is transformed directly to lithium hydroxide and crystallized to lithium hydroxide monohydrate. Minimal lithium is lost in the process, making the overall recovery yield from brine to production of lithium hydroxide monohydrate product 99%.   

Direct Production of Pure Lithium Hydroxide Monohydrate Product

Lithium hydroxide monohydrate is produced directly, without the need to first produce lithium carbonate. The direct production of LiOH.H2O product completely avoids the large operational inefficiency cost and environmentally damaging, energy intensive process that would otherwise be required to convert lithium carbonate to lithium hydroxide monohydrate, wherein up to 20% of lithium is lost.  

The DLP™ process uses no organic solvents or harsh chemicals and does not add contaminants, such as Cl, to the lithium-rich stream.

Lithium hydroxide monohydrate product produced by the DLP™ Pilot Plant is being qualified by a major end-user in anticipation of near-term full-scale installation of the DLP™ process.

DLP™ Pilot Plant

Concentrations of key elements in the Salar de Maricunga brine are: Li (0.767 g/L), Mg (5.37 g/L) and Ca (7.2 g/L). The Phase 1 average flowrate of brine through the MRT™ system is 7.2 m3 per day. Each component of the DLP™ Pilot Plant has now been successfully operated, from direct lithium extraction from brine to production of pure lithium hydroxide monohydrate product. Subsequent phases are being implemented to achieve a full Pilot Plant capacity average flowrate of 50.4 m3 per day.

The Pilot Plant is being operated with the support of SIMCO Lithium, a JV between Grupo Errazuriz (55%) and Simbalik Group (45%), in cooperation with the Japanese company Chori.

José Joaquín Matte, Manager of New Businesses of the Errázuriz Group stated: “Production of 99.5+% pure lithium hydroxide monohydrate product is a key milestone achieved by the DLP™ Pilot Plant. We are especially pleased with the absence of deleterious impurities and anticipate positive evaluation by our prospective end-use customers. We are looking forward to full-scale commercial installation of the DLP™ process at Salar de Maricunga.”

Steven R. Izatt, President and CEO of IBC commented: “The DLP™ process has been proven to produce highly pure lithium hydroxide monohydrate. The overall lithium recovery rate from brine to product of 99% provides efficient, sustainable production of lithium hydroxide monohydrate while conserving water, which is required for the environmentally-friendly growth of the lithium extraction industry.”

Background of IBC

IBC is an award-winning manufacturer and supplier of highly selective separations products, engineered systems and processes based on Molecular Recognition Technology™ (MRT™), including the transformative Direct Lithium to Product™ (DLP™) process for highly selective direct lithium extraction from brine and direct production of battery-grade lithium end-products. Based on green chemistry and green engineering principles, IBC’s SuperLig®, AnaLig® and MacroLig® products and associated processes are used worldwide in mining, metals, manufacturing, environmental, medical, analytical and laboratory applications.

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