The company has the rights to use a patent pending lithium and potassium extraction method for its salars. The first step is to add water to the clay and then agitate it to release the lithium and potassium from the clay. Then using electrical separation, a concentrate would be produced of lithium, potassium and water. Followed by adding an organic compound to the concentrate to separate the lithium and potassium from the water.
According to Advance Lithium, the key benefit of this extraction method is that low energy would be needed, which could be provided using solar power. The lithium extraction methods for other lithium clay deposits need expensive roasters that have high energy costs as the lithium is bound up in other minerals, it says.
The water from the method could be recycled and used many times, which is a key difference between other lithium extraction methods from clay deposits that require significant amounts of water that cannot be recycled. There is also no need for acid digestion to liberate the lithium and potassium from other minerals. “It truly is a green mining solution to produce lithium crucial for green energy,” Advance Lithium claims.
A demonstration plant is currently being built in Zacatecas, Mexico, by a team of metallurgists with extensive experience working for Mexican major mining companies building and operating production facilities. The goal is to show potential partners, shareholders and other interested parties Advance Lithium’s unique method to extract lithium and potassium from its salars.
“I’m excited about entering discussions with LitioMx to form a joint venture. Two large vehicle manufacturing companies have recently announced plans to build battery manufacturing facilities in Mexico, one of which will be located in the state of San Luis Potosi in close proximity to our salars,” Allan Barry Laboucan, CEO of Advance Lithium, said in a media release.
“It has always been a goal of Advance Lithium that if we become a lithium and potassium producer and that the lithium and potassium stays in Mexico to help with domestic battery manufacturing,” he added.
On Tuesday, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced that Tesla has committed to building a new plant in the industrial hub of Monterrey. The Tesla factory will be one of Mexico’s first that is entirely dedicated to the expensive and complex process of making electric cars.
In addition to the lithium salars, Advance Lithium has a 100% interest in the Tabasquena silver mine and the Venaditas polymetalic project, both located in Zacatecas, Mexico.
Shares of Advance Lithium surged 50% by 1 p.m. ET Wednesday on news of its Mexico JV discussions, with trading volume of nearly 5.5 million shares, about 18 times its daily average. The company’s market capitalization is C$3.3 million ($2.4m).