The El Dorado project site is located at speciality chemicals company Lanxess' South Plant facility in Arkansas, US.
The new SiFT plant has been designed around Standard Lithium's SiFT continuous fractional crystallisation technology. It will be installed next to the LiSTR direct lithium extraction (DLE) pre-commercial scale demo plant.
The SiFT plant will take the intermediate product made by the DLE process, which is a high purity, concentrated lithium chloride solution, and convert it into a lithium carbonate that is battery-quality or better.
The modular plant was delivered in a number of truck loads and has been reassembled on purpose-built foundations. Standard Lithium's engineers are now reconnecting the modules with the assistance of contractor Milam Construction and engineering company Hunt Guillot & Associates (HGA). They are also connecting SiFT plant's utility, instrumentation, control, reagent and process flow to the DLE demo plant.
The next step will be to install a weatherproof structure at the site, which will be done later this month. Once the SiFT plant is weatherproofed, it can be hydraulically integrated. Following this, site-specific commissioning can be completed.
Standard Lithium noted that the SiFT plant was previously fully commissioned and has been operating successfully for a year in Vancouver, Canada. It processes lithium chloride produced at the company's El Dorado site in Arkansas.
Dr Andy Robinson, president and COO of Standard Lithium, said that the company has been running the SiFT plant in Vancouver separately due to constraints from the Covid-19 pandemic. He added: "This work has been extremely successful, and we have produced large volumes of better-than battery quality lithium carbonate from lithium chloride concentrates made by the El Dorado plant."
It also reprocesses technical grade lithium carbonate from brine operations in South America into battery-quality lithium carbonate. Robinson said: "We've also been reprocessing very large quantities of low-quality material sourced from existing South American brine producers, and have demonstrated that the SiFT technology can easily upgrade off-spec material in a single, simple step."
He concluded: "We're now thrilled to move the SiFT plant to El Dorado, which was always our plan, get the plant connected and running, and then operate the only continuous, 24/7 start-to-finish brine-to-carbonate plant in North America."