Morella Corporation (ASX:1MC) reports it has confirmed a ‘highly efficient’ lithium concentrating process through a Direct Lithium Extraction study (DLE) being completed by Recion Technologies at Recion’s laboratories in Edmonton, Canada.
This study aims at providing the company with a preliminary assessment of lithium extraction and underlying economics using Recion’s technology solution and Fish Lake Valley (FLV) brine.
An interim progress report from Recion has provided Morella with ‘positive’ early-stage indications of successful lithium concentration using Recion’s ion exchange media (Media) process and FLV brine.
Morella says the brine sample was obtained from near surface of the playa at FLV and was expected to be highly diluted from surface water, however the testing process focused on lithium extraction from the brine type or signature of the brine, and as part of the next phase of DLE testing, Morella will provide brine samples from reservoirs identified in the Passive Seismic and MT surveys completed earlier this year.
The report has identified that 2 hours of absorption is ‘sufficient’ to extract lithium from the brine with extraction efficiency up to 95% using an absorption column configuration, and this configuration has been used in water treatment operations and is known to be scalable using standard and commercially available equipment.
extended testing saw ‘high’ lithium recoveries, resulting in lithium concentration levels over 600% at around 400ppm to 500ppm
Morella reports extended testing saw ‘high’ lithium recoveries, resulting in lithium concentration levels over 600% at around 400ppm to 500ppm.
To test the lithium extraction rate, a prescribed amount of Media was packed into a column, a prescribed amount of brine then flowed through the column at a set flowrate, and the lithium was desorbed from the column by using acid at the set flowrate.
Morella says concentrate samples were taken every 30 minutes and analysed for lithium concentration. Through this, Recion has identified 2 hours as the optimal cycle time after conducting a set of extended series repeat tests varying Media quantity, flow rates and total brine volume flowing through the column.
It reports these results continue to build a body of knowledge on processing options for larger scale testing.
Recion also conducted a series of tests to assess the performance of the Media process for extended cycles of lithium absorption and desorption, and observations identified that the media process performed consistently, achieving 80% to 95% lithium extraction over more than 2 months of operation.
It also tested Media which had been used for more than 8 months and achieved a ‘high’ lithium extraction rate.
Recion states the performance of the process over repeat cycles is a key area of interest to support developing an economic model around the use of DLE technology to underpin the FLV project, and Media performance testing is ongoing.
Recion has also determined the preliminary economics and will be refining this following the provision of more representative ‘deeper’ reservoir samples from an upcoming drill program.
Morella reports the DLE study will continue, and it has recently provided additional brine material to Recion, with the primary objective of the next testing phase aiming to generate enough concentrated lithium in solution to allow for continued processing at benchtop scale and production of lithium chemicals from the FLV brine.
The company is currently in the final stages of permitting and a drill contract has been awarded for a drill program aimed at providing brine samples at depth at the FLV project, and it expects the drilling will commence later in Q4 2022.
Morella Corporation is an exploration and resource development company focused on lithium and battery minerals, and is currently engaged in exploration activities on multiple lithium project opportunities in Australia and the US.
Images: Morella Corporation Ltd & iStock