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Standard Lithium, Koch Affiliate in Deal to Speed Commercial Development

3 min read

Standard Lithium, the Canadian company with a foothold in an emerging Arkansas industry — producing battery-standard lithium from the underground brine of the Smackover geological formation — has signed a joint development agreement with Koch Technology Solutions, an affiliate of Koch Engineered Solutions.

The deal, in which the companies will share data and together develop and commercialize lithium brine processing flow sheets for Standard’s use in the region, forges another bond with subsidiaries of Koch Industries of Wichita, a significant investor in the project.

“The agreement will further enhance Standard Lithium’s position to build the first U.S. commercial lithium project in several decades and begin to meet the surging demand for lithium,” a company news release said on Tuesday.

The release said that under the deal, the companies will team up to integrate a proprietary technology, “KTS Li-Pro Lithium Selective Sorption,” into a complete flowsheet. Standard Lithium, which is based in Vancouver, British Columbia and has been mining lithium from south Arkansas brine for more than two years at a Lanxess bromine processing location in El Dorado, will have exclusive rights to deploy the proprietary lithium sorption technology at any of its projects in the Smackover formation under a license agreement.

Koch Technology Solutions would also provide performance guarantees for the deployment and the technology to allow “high levels of commercial extraction,” the release said. The deal gives Standard Lithium’s development process more cost efficiency, it said.

“Today’s announcement is about greater certainty, speed, and choice,” Standard Lithium President and Chief Operating Officer Andy Robinson said in a statement. “The performance guarantees for the … technology license will provide significant risk reduction for Standard Lithium and its shareholders.” Robinson expects the partnership to accelerate on Standard’s path to a commercial lithium processing plant, giving it a second direct lithium extraction technology along with its own proprietary process.

“The joint development relationship will also allow our project execution team to take what we learn from the demonstration Plant at the Lanxess property in El Dorado, Arkansas, and leverage these insights as we scale to our first commercial facility and continue to develop multiple lithium projects across the Smackover Formation.”

He cited high-grade brines as lithium sources in what the company calls its South West Arkansas Project near the Arkansas border with Louisiana and the company’s recent expansion into drilling in east Texas.

Koch Technology Solutions President Adam Sackett called Standard Lithium an incredible development partner. “This Joint Development Agreement signals the acceleration of the collaboration to drive commercial success,” Sackett said in a statement. “Standard Lithium has done an excellent job to position itself as a first mover supporting broader domestic energy through the application” of direct lithium extraction technology. “KTS is excited to be a part of this significant opportunity.”

Standard Lithium has seen success in tests of the KTS technology since October at the pre-commercial demonstration plant in El Dorado, the release said. It added that more than 1.4 million gallons of Smackover brine has been processed in more than 4,600 cycles of lithium loading and elution. “Production of high-purity lithium eluates that have been further concentrated and purified using the integrated operations at the demonstration plant,” the release said.

In chemistry, elution is the process of extracting one material from another by washing with a solvent.

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