The firms have entered a non-exclusive agreement that makes Summit Nanotech the preferred extraction technology provider on all of Lithium Chile's lithium prospects. Lithium Chile is developing a lithium property portfolio consisting of 110,280 hectares in Chile, covering sections of 11 salars and two laguna complexes.
The sites will trial Summit Nanotech's DenaLi 1.0 Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) system, a process that the company says uses interconnected modules, nanoporous membranes and specific filtration functions. Carbon dioxide is used to initiate end-product precipitation.
"This will be the inaugural field test for our DenaLi 1.0 DLE process and is an important step in proving the technology on the path to commercialisation," said Amanda Hall, chief executive and founder of Summit Nanotech.
"We are thrilled to be piloting our technology with Lithium Chile. Their broad expertise in exploration, consistency in governance and strong relationships within Chile - especially with respect to indigenous communities - is crucial for the sustainable development of these assets," she added.
The process of lithium extraction in South America typically starts with miners drilling a hole in salt flats and pumping brine to the surface. The water-intensive separation process can use 500,000 gallons per tonne of lithium, impacting on local agriculture and water supply.
"Over the last two years we have looked at a number of emerging technologies for the economical and green extraction of lithium at the well head," said Steve Cochrane, president and chief executive of Lithium Chile.
"I truly believe the future of lithium production from brines will be technology driven and Summit's technology is one of the most exciting emerging processes we have seen."