Zeton Works with Standard Lithium to Complete a Direct Lithium Extraction Demonstration Plant
November 18, 2020
Standard Lithium Ltd. (TSX:V SLL) approached Zeton in early 2018 with the goal to fabricate a demonstration plant to showcase an innovative process to extract lithium directly from underground brine. The underground brine, located in Smackover AR, has a rich bromine content. This bromine is currently extracted by three Lanxess operated brine processing plants. In addition to the bromine, the brine in southern Arkansas also contains roughly 200-400 mg/L of lithium, which until now, has been ignored. Standard Lithium partnered with Lanxess to use the otherwise waste tail brine as a means to harvest the dilute lithium.
Traditionally the extraction is completed via large ponds and passive solar evaporation. However the concentration of lithium in the tail brine and the climate in Arkansas are insufficient to make this process viable. Standard Lithium has developed a proprietary process that uses a solid ceramic adsorbent material that is capable of selectively pulling lithium ions from the tail brine after it has passed through the bromine-extraction step. The proprietary adsorbent materials are used to both load the lithium in the front end of the plant and extract the lithium into a concentrated solution at the tail end of the plant.
The process design was finalized in the fall of 2018 and the contract was awarded shortly afterwards. Through diligent efforts by both Zeton and Standard Lithium, the project was completed and tested in phases during the spring and summer of 2019. The demonstration plant completed installation at site in the fall of 2019, successfully confirming the viability of the novel extraction process and is still in operation at site in Arkansas.
This project showcased the importance of teaming up early in the project, even while the process was still being tested and finalized. This result could not have been achieved without the strong cooperation and flexibility of both Standard Lithium and Zeton in order to deliver their project on time. Congratulations to both project teams on this impressive achievement.
“Zeton have been a flexible, understanding and professional partner to Standard Lithium Ltd, from the very first discussions of project concept, right through to delivery, installation and commissioning of the plant. I would highly recommend Zeton to any proponent wishing to design and build a modern industrial pilot plant.” Dr. Andy Robinson, Ph.D., President and COO, Standard Lithium Ltd.