Home » How Canada’s First Commercial Lithium Plant Will Boost Green Energy

How Canada’s First Commercial Lithium Plant Will Boost Green Energy

by Victor Adetimilehin

Canada is set to welcome its first commercial direct lithium extraction facility, thanks to an Australian company that has started construction at the Prairie project, in Saskatchewan. The facility will use a groundbreaking technology that can extract lithium from brine without the need for evaporation ponds or chemicals.

Lithium is a vital component for batteries and electric vehicles, which are key to the global transition to a low-carbon economy. However, most of the world’s lithium supply comes from countries like Australia, Chile, and China, where the extraction process is often environmentally damaging and energy-intensive.

The Prairie project, on the other hand, aims to produce about 2,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent per year in a sustainable and cost-effective way. The project will use a novel direct lithium extraction (DLE) technology developed by Lilac Solutions, a California-based company that has partnered with Arizona Lithium, the owner of the project.

The DLE technology uses ion exchange beads that selectively bind to lithium ions in the brine, while leaving behind other minerals and impurities. The beads are then rinsed with a mild acid solution to release the lithium, which is then purified and crystallized into battery-grade lithium carbonate. The process takes only a few hours, compared to months or years for conventional methods, and uses less water and energy.

The project is located in a mining-friendly jurisdiction that has a strong regulatory framework and infrastructure. The company said the construction of the well pad is an important step in preparing for the drilling of production and disposal wells in the first half of next year2. The company also said it has received positive feedback from the local communities and First Nations groups.

The global demand for lithium is expected to soar in the coming years, as more countries and companies adopt electric vehicles and renewable energy sources. According to a report by Roskill, the lithium market could reach 1.8 million tonnes by 2030, driven by the electrification of transport and energy storage.

Arizona Lithium’s CEO Paul Lloyd said the company is confident that its project will be one of the first to market in North America, and that it will contribute to the green energy revolution.

“We are very excited to be moving forward with the construction of our first commercial direct lithium extraction facility, which marks the transition from pilot operations to commercial-scale lithium production,” he said.

“Our project in Saskatchewan has the potential to become a world-class lithium producer, with a low environmental footprint and a high-quality product. We look forward to working with our partners and stakeholders to make this project a success.”

Source: [Mining Weekly] 



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