Toronto-based Lithium One has significantly advanced the process flow sheet for their Sal de Vida project. Lab and pilot scale testing work have now mapped the path to production of battery-grade lithium carbonate and standard grade potash. Because of to the high potassium and low sulphate content of the Sal de Vida brine, the pilot evaporation ponds have been yielding good potash recovery for months. The potash concentrate from the ponds has now been upgraded with lab-scale flotation cells. These initial tests demonstrated that the potash can be effectively separated from the associated halite (common salt) using conventional flotation methods. This data are being incorporated into the pilot plant, a major step in designing the potash plant process flow sheet.
The Sal de Vida project is one of the largest and the highest-grade lithium and potash brine projects in the world, with an inferred resource of 5.4 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent and 21 million tonnes of potash equivalent (1,470M m3 at 695 mg/L Li and 7590 mg/L K). KORES, LG International and GS Caltex are earning a maximum 30% project equity in Sal de Vida by funding the feasibility study expected in less than twelve months and providing an off-take agreement for up to 50% of the lithium production. Potassium is used to make fertilizer, gun-powder, and various industrial chemicals. For example, potassium can be used to make glass stronger.