First LiSTR direct lithium extraction facility in US open

The LiSTR direct lithium extraction facility has been installed at LANXESS’ South Plant facility near El Dorado, Arkansas, pictured here. (Image courtesy of Standard Lithium).

Standard Lithium (TSXV: SLL) announced the kickstart of operations at its Arkansas LiSTR direct lithium extraction facility, the first-of-its-kind in the world, according to the company.

Installed at project partner and chemicals manufacturer LANXESS’ South Plant facility near El Dorado, Arkansas, LiSTR is an environmentally friendly technology that selectively extracts lithium ions from tail brine.

The brine is a by-product of existing bromine production facilities run by LANXESS in south Arkansas.

The LiSTR process unlocks unconventional resources – Arkansas Smackover brines

“When compared to the conventional methods for recovering lithium from brine, the LiSTR process provides many benefits: Vastly reduced recovery time – several hours versus as long as a year; significant efficiency gains – 90% recovery versus 40-60%; improved purity of the final product; and unlocking of unconventional resources – Arkansas Smackover brines,” Standard Lithium said in a press release.

The miner also said that planning for the project’s phased commercial development is currently underway, with a target initial annual production of 20,900 tonnes of battery-quality lithium chemicals, roughly five times the current domestic production.

“Today, the U.S. represents less than 2% of global lithium production and no new lithium mine has been built in the United States in almost 60 years,” the brief states. “A Trump administration executive order named lithium among 35 ‘critical minerals’ for which the government wants to boost domestic production and reduce its heavy reliance on imports. U.S. imports of lithium have nearly doubled since 2014 due in part to rising demand from Tesla, SK Innovation Co and others building battery plants in the country.”