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Standard Lithium Announces 2 New Independent Directors

3 min read

Standard Lithium, the Canadian company that has begun site work toward designing a commercial lithium plant near El Dorado, has added two independent directors to its board as it seeks to make south Arkansas a hub for supplying products to lithium-ion battery manufacturers.

The new board members, experienced energy executives Claudia D’Orazio and Anca Rusu, are expected to provide additional expertise in project management and financial and human resources for the south Arkansas project, which has been refining lithium products from the underground brines of the Smackover Project at two test plants for more than two years.

The board appointments were effective immediately, according to company statements, and board Chairman Robert Cross called them “accomplished senior executives who bring decades of experience in the energy sector.”

D’Orazio, a certified public accountant, is vice president and chief human resources and technology officer of Centerra Gold Inc., a publicly traded Canadian gold mining company. She previously held leadership roles with Pembina Pipeline Corp. of Calgary for 14 years, becoming vice president, human resources. She spent years earlier in her career in public audit and finance at the Royal Bank of Canada and KPMG LLP. D’Orazio is on the board of the Canadian Mineral Industry Education Foundation and has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and management information systems from McGill University in Montreal.

Rusu has spent two decades directing global capital projects in the energy field, most recently as special advisor, projects and engineering, for Royal Dutch Shell. There, she helped reposition the company’s global projects to align with a focus on energy transition. She held two vice president positions at Royal Dutch Shell, where she started in 2005, and led the construction of Shell’s major petrochemical plant in Pennsylvania.

Rusu is on the national board of the Project Management Association of Canada, and holds a

An MBA from York University in Toronto and a bachelor’s degree in chemical and mechanical engineering from Politechnica University of Bucharest, Romania.

Cross, the board chairman, said the two new board members “will be of great value to Standard Lithium as we continue to progress towards commercialization.”

In a news release, CEO Robert Mintak said the two “exceptional” directors will “Bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise across the energy, resource and financial sectors that will significantly strengthen and complement the current makeup of our board.”

In December, Standard Lithium announced the completion of agreements with Lanxess Corp. to secure access to its proposed commercial lithium plant site and to conduct all required field work to support a definitive feasibility study for the project that is already in progress.

Standard’s modular test plants are sited on the Lanxess South site in El Dorado, where Lanxess derives bromine from the brine and where Standard’s plants take advantage of Lanxess’ existing infrastructure. The lithium plants use “tail brine” from Lanxess’ extraction operation for proving its lithium extraction process.

“Subsequent to signing this agreement, the company has commenced the site work necessary for the design of its first commercial lithium plant, marking an important milestone in the design towards the company’s first commercial lithium project,” a Standard Lithium press representative told Arkansas Business via email.

Standard is traded on the TSX Venture Exchange and the NYSE American exchange under the trading symbol SLI. Its symbol on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange is S5L.

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