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Koch Industries Veteran David Park Joins Standard Lithium in Arkansas Projects

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A veteran Koch Industries executive has joined lithium mining startup Standard Lithium of Canada as the company works to establish a commercial lithium operation in south Arkansas.

David Park will be a senior strategic adviser to Standard, which has two pilot plants deriving lithium products from underground brine streams in El Dorado, and is planning a large production facility in the area to supply the growing lithium-ion battery market.

Park recently retired after 28 years at Koch Industries, the multinational conglomerate based in Wichita, Kansas. Koch is the second-largest privately held company in the country, behind Cargill.

Several Koch Industries affiliates are involved in Standard’s work to become the next domestic producer of lithium, and Park was president of Koch Strategic Platforms, which invested $100 million in the project in 2021.

Park has strong experience in the energy and industrial sector and was once senior vice president for strategy and business development at Georgia-Pacific, a Koch subsidiary. He was also president of TrueNorth Energy and Koch Exploration after serving as CFO of Koch’s Canadian exploration, production, pipeline and energy trading business.

Standard Lithium CEO Robert Mintak said in a news release that Park, who began his career as an international business development specialist at Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., will bring valuable experience and industry relations to Standard.

“He will play a pivotal role in refining and accelerating our commercial strategies moving forward and contribute meaningfully on our journey to become the next producer of lithium in the United States,” Mintak said.

Park, who holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M and a master’s in economics from George Mason University in Virginia, said he was eager to help Standard in its next stage of development toward commercialization. He praised Mintak and the company’s chief operating officer, Andy Robinson, “for their efforts to advance and de-risk their projects” over the last two years.

“Given their efforts, the value proposition of SLI becoming the next, low cost, environmentally friendly domestic source of lithium for electric vehicles is stronger than ever,” Park said in the release.

Standard Lithium Ltd. is traded as SLI on the TSX Venture Exchange and the NYSE American Exchanges.

The company announced progress updates on its two projects in Arkansas: a process using the well and pipeline infrastructure of bromine produces Lanxess AG in El Dorado, and a project near the Louisiana and Texas borders in southwest Arkansas.

“We expect to file the feasibility studies for our flagship Arkansas projects early in the third quarter,” Robinson said in a statement. “Our project teams and partners are working diligently to complete the studies, which we are eager to finalize and share with key stakeholders.”

In September, Standard began a definitive feasibility study, known as a DFS, and a front-end-engineering study for the Lanxess Project. In May 2022, it started a preliminary feasibility study, or PFS, on the southwest Arkansas project. Both studies are expected to be complete early in the third quarter.

Robinson said the company is awaiting final vendor pricing for the Lanxess Project DFS, and critical third-party analytical data from drilling on the southwest arkansas project. “We have analyzed all of the brine samples from SWA at our own analytical facility and anticipate sharing the data once we receive verification from the external laboratory.”

Robinson said the company continues “to expect our flagship Arkansas projects to be meaningful contributors to U.S. lithium production in the coming decades.”

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