Standard Lithium Ltd. (TSXV:SLI) (NYSE American:SLI) (FRA:S5L), a leading player in the near-commercial lithium sector, has taken a significant step forward in its quest to revolutionise US lithium production. The company announced today the filing of its Definitive Feasibility Study for Phase 1A, the first commercial lithium project in the United States to break ground in six decades. Positioned at the LANXESS South Plant, this project promises to enhance lithium production and contribute to the sustainability of critical minerals.
A Game-Changing Milestone in US Lithium Production
With the anticipated commencement of production in 2026, Standard Lithium's Phase 1A marks a pivotal moment in the US energy sector. Not only will it represent the first American lithium production project in 60 years, but it also introduces North America's initial commercial direct lithium extraction facility. This project holds the potential to double current lithium production levels in the United States, offering a crucial resource for the growing electric vehicle industry and clean energy sector.
Efficient Lithium Extraction from Existing Infrastructure
Phase 1A's strategic location at the LANXESS South Plant allows for the processing of lithium-rich brine through pre-existing infrastructure. Remarkably, Phase 1A will only harness a fraction of the colossal Measured and Indicated Resource, which boasts an impressive 2.8 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (“LCE”)¹. The Definitive Feasibility Study underscores the project's robust economics, with an initial annual production target of 5,700 tonnes and an average annual output of 5,400 tonnes of high-quality battery-grade lithium carbonate. This exceptional performance is expected to endure over a 25-year operational life, drawing from Proven and Probable Reserves of 208,000 tonnes LCE at an average concentration of 217 mg/L. Importantly, Phase 1A represents a 60-fold scale-up from the operational Demonstration Plant, which has demonstrated effective and efficient lithium extraction from the same brine that will supply the proposed commercial plant. A final investment decision for Phase 1A is projected to occur in the first half of 2024.
Scaling Sustainable Development Across the Smackover Formation
Standard Lithium envisions replicating the Phase 1A development model across its range of projects in the Smackover Formation, including the South West Arkansas Project and East Texas landholdings. Significantly, the lithium concentrations in these projects tend to improve from east to west across the Smackover Formation. Recent drilling results in East Texas yielded the highest-grade lithium brine concentrations in North America, measuring an impressive 663 mg/L. By harnessing higher lithium concentrations and capitalising on economies of scale through the advancement of multiple projects, Standard Lithium is positioning itself for a competitive edge as it extends its presence throughout the Smackover Formation.
A Sustainable Approach to Meeting Critical Mineral Needs
Standard Lithium's submission of the Definitive Feasibility Study underscores its unwavering commitment to commercialise direct lithium extraction technology, commencing with Phase 1A. This innovative approach aims to unlock the vast potential of the Smackover Formation and address the United States' critical mineral requirements sustainably and responsibly, providing a vital resource for the nation's green energy ambitions.
As the world looks toward cleaner energy solutions, Standard Lithium is poised to play a leading role in securing a domestic and sustainable lithium supply, bolstering the nation's energy independence and reducing its carbon footprint.