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New Standard Well Yields High Concentrations of Lithium, Potash and Bromine

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Standard Lithium, the Canadian company on track to build two battery-grade lithium production plants in south Arkansas, reported Wednesday that it has drilled a new brine well in the Smackover Formation of east Texas that broke its own record for lithium concentration.

The company called it another significant milestone in its efforts to commercialize brine on its leases in the geological formation, which has for years been a commercial source of petroleum and bromine.

The brine pumped up from what the company calls ETX New Well #3 produced lithium concentrations of 806 milligrams per liter, as well as high concentrations of potash and bromine. In a news release, Standard of Vancouver, British Columbia, said it sees “a large potential for these commodities,” and that the company has secured the rights to all minerals in the brine.

“This most recent brine sample from our newest well in East Texas confirms the exceptional quality of the brine assets we’re acquiring in East Texas,” Standard President and COO Andy Robinson said in the release. “With a new confirmed analysis of 806 mg/L and an average grade of 644 mg/L in our drilled area, we believe we have identified a globally significant lithium brine asset.”

He credited the discovery to the company’s team of Smackover experts who have been working to find top-quality lithium brine in the region for more than three years. Standard has a pilot lithium extraction facility in El Dorado, where it plans to build North America’s first commercial lithium brine plant; it is also planning a far larger facility west of Magnolia that could produce 30,000 tons of lithium battery ingredients per year, according to preliminary feasibility studies.

“We understand that lithium grade is one of the most significant factors when considering the economics of a lithium brine project,” Robinson said. “We are committed to securing the highest-grade and potentially largest lithium brine resource outside of Argentina and Chile. Additionally, the highly elevated concentrations of potassium and bromine in all three of our new wells support our understanding that Standard Lithium now also controls a project with very large potash and bromine potential.”

The discovery is strategically important, the company said. Standard projects that its Phase 1A project in El Dorado could produce 5,400 tons of battery-quality lithium carbonate per year over a 25-year operating life. Current total U.S. production is just 5,000 tons a year, according to Standard CEO Robert Mintak.

The southwest Arkansas facility planned west of Magnolia near Lewisville was the subject of a preliminary feasibility study that outlines plans for at least 30,000 tons per year of battery-quality lithium hydroxide over 20 years. The average lithium grade in that area is 437 milligrams per liter, the company said.

The company has been finding increasing concentrations as it moves west from El Dorado to Lafayette County and then into Texas.

“In Standard Lithium’s experience, higher lithium grades in brine are directly correlated with lower capital and operating expenses per tonne of lithium produced, thereby enhancing the economic viability of potential projects,” the release said.

Standard Lithium trades on both the TSX Venture Exchange and the NYSE American under the symbol “SLI”; and on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange under the symbol “S5L.”

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