Lake Resources NL(ASX:LKE) has confirmed the dispatch of the first samples of Lake’s high purity 99.97% lithium carbonate for the production of NMC622- based lithium-ion battery test cells.
Produced from Kachi brines, the lithium carbonate has been dispatched by Lake’s technical partner Hazen Research Inc. to Novonix Battery Technology Solutions in Nova Scotia, Canada.
Novonix Limited provides high precision battery testing equipment to Tier 1 battery makers including Panasonic, CATL, Samsung, SK Innovation, LG Chem, Bosch, Honda and Dyson.
Lake Managing Director, Steve Promnitz, said Novonix is preparing to begin the testing of Lake’s lithium carbonate with the preliminary cathode precursor lithiation followed by full pilot scale evaluation.
Using Novonix’s pilot cell line, Lake’s high purity, responsibly sourced lithium carbonate samples will be used together with commercial battery cathode precursor materials to form a NMC622 cathode that will then be processed into NMC622 lithium-ion batteries for testing. This will enable Lake and its potential partners and customers to make direct and relevant comparisons of Lake’s lithium product’s performance in familiar battery chemistries.
Novonix anticipates this testing process to take a minimum of four months, with the first results expected approximately two months after the cathode material is produced. Lake will update the market once results become available.
Hazen will continue to produce lithium carbonate, targeting 5kg to 6kg of samples in this round derived from the first 20,000 litres of Kachi brines.
A further 20,000 litres of brine is stored with Lilac whilst additional brines are currently being prepared for transport from site to produce more samples to meet increased demand, given recent successful results.
High purity lithium carbonate results have been obtained via a simple flowsheet without any anticipated changes to the operating costs previously forecast in Kachi’s Pre-Feasibility Study (refer ASX announcement 28 April 2020), which is a great result for the Company and the sector. Low impurities are a key factor in determining battery quality and the pricing and acceptance of lithium products. Lake’s high purity carbonate offers the potential for premium prices.
The commencement of the Novonix programme is an important milestone for Lake and the timeframe for delivery of first results is on track,” Mr Promnitz said.
“We are confident that Novonix’s work will clearly demonstrate that lithium carbonate produced from Kachi brines will have the necessary specifications that Tier 1 battery makers require.
“As well, demand for such a sustainably produced and responsibly sourced product is growing in North America and Europe as electric vehicle makers look to bolster their ESG credentials and the use of gasoline engine vehicles are phased out. Kachi has all the hallmarks to deliver into this new demand at the necessary scale.”