IBC, a manufacturer and supplier of metal separation products, has demonstrated high efficiency in the initial Phase 1 operation of its Direct Lithium to Product (DLP) pilot plant in Salar de Maricunga, Chile. SIMCO Lithium, a 55-45% joint venture (JV) between Grupo Errazuriz and Taiwanese Simbalik Group, and Japanese business Chori are supporting the pilot plant.
The DLP process produces battery-grade lithium products on-site. Phase 1 revealed that over 99% of the lithium efficiently recovered directly from Salar de Maricunga brine is below analytical detection limits in Li-depleted brine.
The concentrated, pure Li eluate solution (9 g/L Li) produced matches Phase 1 design specifications, with optimization to 10 g/L Li planned for future phases, without removing or evaporating salar water. The brine contains Li (0.767 g/L), Mg (5.37 g/L), and Ca (7.2 g/L) and the brine flow rate through the molecular recognition technology system averages 7.2 m3/day. Subsequent phases of the project are expected to reach a full pilot plant capacity average flow rate of 50.4 m3/day.
“IBC’s DLP process has been demonstrated for the sustainable, circular economy, highly selective, high-yield direct lithium extraction from brine, meeting specifications for subsequent direct production of battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate, without the need to first produce lithium carbonate,” IBC President and CEO Steven R. Izatt said.