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Neo Lithium Produces 99.1 % Lithium Carbonate in the First Batch from its Pilot Plant

September 16, 2019
  • Lithium carbonate pilot plant fully operational in Fiambalá using 3Q Project brine
  • Achieved high purity of 99.1% in the very  first batch of lithium carbonate production
  • First batch of battery grade lithium carbonate expected in early Q4 2019

TORONTO, Sept. 16, 2019 /CNW/ - Neo Lithium Corp. ("Neo Lithium" or the "Company") (TSXV:NLC; OTCQX:NTTHF; FSE:NE2) is pleased to announce the results of its first batch of lithium carbonate production from its pilot plant in Fiambalá using concentrated brine from its wholly-owned Tres Quebradas lithium project ("3Q Project") in Catamarca Province, Argentina.

The in-situ brine comes from the high-grade northern sector of the 3Q Project salar, with an initial chemical composition as follows:

Li

Cl

Na

Ca

Mg

K

B

Density

mg/L

mg/L

mg/L

mg/L

mg/L

mg/L

mg/L

g/ml

1,175

212,662

68,861

51,529

1,875

11,319

1,567

1,237

 

The brine was evaporated in the industrial scale ponds (http://www.neolithium.ca/project/default.aspx#section=pictures) at the 3Q Project salar under similar conditions that would occur during production scale ponds. Final concentration took approximately six months to reach the point to be used as feed material to the pilot plant. No chemical reagents were added to the brine other than minor amounts of hydrochloric acid (HCl) for ph control at the final stage of evaporation. The concentrated brine chemical composition was as follows:

Li

Cl

Na

Ca

Mg

K

B

Density

mg/L

mg/L

mg/L

mg/L

mg/L

mg/L

mg/L

g/ml

54,622

526,121

1,866

121,284

2,692

31,602

8,023

1,433

 

The concentrated brine was then transported by truck to the pilot plant located in Fiambalá, which is located 160 km from the 3Q Project salar. The Company's lithium carbonate pilot plant, which was built by the Instituto de Investigaciones Tecnologicas from Universidad de Concepcion, Chile, has been operational since May 2019 at Neo Lithium's Fiambalá facility. The pilot plant has a designed capacity of 40 tonnes of lithium carbonate per year.

The concentrated brine was then processed with a solvent extraction phase (SX-B) for boron removal, a sulfatation phase for calcium removal and a liming and carbonation phase to remove magnesium and any remaining calcium. The lithium carbonate process is then completed with three stages of soda ash carbonation, washing and drying. See pictures of the operation at http://www.neolithium.ca/project/default.aspx#section=pictures.

The result of the aforementioned process, produced lithium carbonate with a purity of 99.1%. These results are not only very positive but also encouraging considering this is only the first batch of production. The composition of impurities in the lithium carbonate after the first batch is as follows*:

SO4

Cl

Mg

K

B

Ca

Na

Insoluble

Humidity

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

0.372

0.073

0.001

0.017

0.007

0.018

0.111

0.011

0.289

* Other elements undetected. 

 

"Producing lithium carbonate with this purity level in our first batch is due to the hard work of our technical team and the results of our proven upstream pilot pond system we have implemented," stated Waldo Perez, President and CEO of Neo Lithium. "This is not a bench scale study; this is real life field conditions for evaporation at the project site and 1:500 scale pilot plant testing in Fiambalá obtaining high purity lithium carbonate in our first attempt. We have now proven our concept, and now we have our focus on the production of battery grade lithium carbonate production during the Q4 2019."

Despite the high purity obtained for the lithium carbonate after the first batch, the Company considers this first batch as technical grade because some impurities need to be below specific thresholds or industry specifications for the Company's goal of producing battery grade lithium carbonate. The Company will continue to fine-tune the process, reagents and operations to obtain battery grade in early Q4 2019.

Technical Information

The samples collected were delivered by Company personnel to Andesmar Transport Company ("Andesmar") in La Rioja, in the province of Rioja. Andesmar delivered the samples by truck to ASL, an ISO 9001-2008-certified laboratory in Mendoza, Argentina. ASL used the following analytical methodologies: ICP-OES (inductively-coupled plasma-optical (atomic) emission spectrometry) to quantify boron, barium, calcium, lithium, magnesium, manganese, and potassium; an argentometric method to assay for chloride; a gravimetric method to analyze for sulfate; a volumetric analysis (acid/base titration) for the evaluation of alkalinity (as CaCO3); a gravimetric method to determine density and total dissolved solids; and, a laboratory pH meter to determine pH. All analytical work is subject to a systematic and rigorous Quality Assurance-Quality Control. A reference ("standard") sample was inserted into the sample stream at a frequency of approximately 1 in 15 samples; a field blank was inserted at a frequency of approximately 1 in 15 samples; and a field duplicate sample was inserted at a frequency of approximately 1 in 15 samples.

Waldo Perez, Ph.D, P.Geo., the CEO and President of Neo Lithium Corp. is the Qualified Person who approved the scientific and technical disclosure in the news release.

About Neo Lithium Corp.

Neo Lithium Corp. has quickly become a prominent new name in lithium brine exploration by virtue of its high quality 3Q Project and experienced team. Already well capitalized, Neo Lithium is rapidly advancing its recently discovered 3Q Project - a unique high-grade lithium brine lake and salar complex in Latin America's "Lithium Triangle".

The 3Q Project is in Catamarca Province, the largest lithium producing area in Argentina. The project covers approximately 35,000 ha and the salar complex within this area is approximately 16,000 ha.

The technical team that has discovered the 3Q Project characterized this unique salar as one of the most experienced in lithium salars. For example, this team discovered and led the technical work, including resource definition and full feasibility study, that established the Cauchari lithium salar as one of the largest lithium brine resources in the world.

Additional information regarding Neo Lithium Corp. is available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com under the Company's profile and at its website at www.neolithium.ca, including various pictures of ongoing work at the project.

Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. The TSX Venture Exchange Inc. has in no way approved nor disapproved the contents of this press release.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward Looking Statements - Certain information set forth in this news release may contain forward-looking statements. Such statements include but are not limited to, statements as to lithium brine grades at depth being consistent with surface results, the potential for resource expansion at depth, the potential of the northern salar sediments, and deeper sediments, for hosting brine, the ability to proceed to scoping studies quickly, proceeding with continued work for additional economic studies the potential for production expansion in the Company's assessment of the economic potential of the 3Q Project, that test results are indicative of future results, and the additional of additional independent directors. Generally, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as "plans", "expects" or "is expected", "scheduled", "estimates" "intends", "anticipates", "believes", or variations of such words and phrases, or statements that certain actions, events or results "can", "may", "could", "would", "should", "might" or "will", occur or be achieved, or the negative connotations thereof. These forward-looking statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, certain of which are beyond the control of the Company, which could cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from the future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. These risks include, without limitation, risks related to failure to obtain adequate financing on a timely basis and on acceptable terms, political and regulatory risks associated with mining and exploration activities, including environmental regulation, risks and uncertainties relating to the interpretation of drill and sample results, risks related to the uncertainty of cost and time estimation and the potential for unexpected delays, costs and expenses, risks related to metal price fluctuations, the market for lithium products, competition for experienced directors in the junior mineral exploration and development sector, and other risks and uncertainties related to the Company's prospects, properties and business detailed elsewhere in the Company's disclosure record. Although the Company believes its expectations are based upon reasonable assumptions and has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended and undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements.

SOURCE Neo Lithium Corp.

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