The program was intended to test its direct lithium extraction technology, which is formulated to reduce costs by extracting a higher recovery rate of lithium.
Pilot Program Results
Volt Lithium Corp. has announced the results of its pilot project to test its proprietary direct lithium extraction (DLE) technology. The pilot project, which launched in March of 2023, was successful and proved the company's ability to reach lithium recovery rates of 90% based on concentrations of only 34 mg/L. The pilot program also occurred in a simulated commercial environment.
The company simulated operating conditions at concentrations of 120mg/L and achieved recoveries of up to 97% with operating costs under CA$4,000 per ton, assuming sustained average annual production of 20,000 tons of lithium hydroxide monohydrate (LHM). The simulation provided exceptional results, as it proved Volt's DLE technology can maintain a 90% recovery rate in lithium concentrations as low as 34mg/L and still be commercially viable.
According to Ballinger, "This narrows the playing field down to a smaller sample size when portfolio managers are seeking out names in the lithium space, but it really favors those advanced developers already at or approaching the pilot plant stage as the last stage before commercial production."
According to Alex Wylie, the President and CEO of Volt, " These results confirm that Volt's proprietary technology is a true game-changer. With this accomplishment, we are poised to lead the way in North America as the first commercial producer of lithium from oilfield brines, which we are targeting for the second half of next year."
Volt has a total inferred mineral resource of 4.3 million tons of lithium carbonate equivalent, or 4.9 million tons of LHM, at its Rainbow Lake property. This estimate represents 215 times its targeted, sustained average production of 20,000tpa. The property is estimated to contain concentrations of lithium as high as 121mg/L.
Volt also participated in a webinar hosted by Energy Prospectus Group on the morning of Wednesday, May 24, 2023. There, representatives of the company discussed the significance of the results and what shareholders can expect from the future.
According to Bevis Yeo of Stockhead, the prices of battery-grade lithium saw a downward trend from April 19 to May 3, 2023. Lithium hydroxide fell by 16.9% to US$38,217/t, and lithium carbonate fell by 9.9% to US$35,333. Other international markets did much better; the Chinese market saw a climb by 8.1% to US$24,3000/t. Electric vehicles have done well in March and could herald a bright future for lithium.
In a more recent report, Stockhead predicted that the lithium market could trend upward as lithium prices grew by 5.48% in China in May. China is a major purchaser of electric vehicles, and production requires lithium batteries.
Earlier this month, analyst Michael Ballinger stated that the state of the lithium market favored companies that were extracting lithium from brine rather than hard-rock mining. According to Ballinger, "This narrows the playing field down to a smaller sample size when portfolio managers are seeking out names in the lithium space, but it really favors those advanced developers already at or approaching the pilot plant stage as the last stage before commercial production." Volt's pilot program should put it in an advantageous position on the market.
Volt has a proprietary DLE technology, which involves a two-stage process to extract lithium from oilfield brine. Stage One is completed when oilfield brine is treated using its equipment and established processes. In Stage Two, Volt uses the company's IES-300 technology to extract lithium from the brine, which is concentrated down into a lithium chloride solution. This solution will ultimately be upgraded to LHM, which will be produced for use in batteries. Volt's technology reduces the amount of reagent required to treat oilfield brine as it enters the extraction process.
The company's asset base offers significant development opportunities at the higher lithium concentration levels, Volt wishes to expand its asset base, and access to brine necessitates achieving extraction recovery levels of at least 90% using brine with lower lithium concentrations. The pilot project has proved this goal is achievable.
Based on the execution of the Pilot Project, Volt will seek to establish a permanent pilot plant in order to continue refining its IES-300 technology, test the optimization of reagent usage, and continue to improve operating conditions with the goal of continually driving down operating costs. Volt will also continue to focus on upgrading its resource estimate and commencing the preparation of a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) based on the successful extraction and operating results of this Pilot Project and the recent resource report.
Streetwise Ownership Overview*
Volt will advance the engineering design phase to determine the optimal commercial parameters for its DLE process, which will support commercial production.
Ownership and Share Structure
James Alexander Wylie owns 11.15% of the company with 11.14 million shares, Scase Martin owns 6.44% with 6.44 million shares, Kyle Hookey owns 1.52% with 1.52m shares, Warner Uhl owns 0.98% with 976.11k shares, John Smyth owns 0.82% with 815k shares, Morgan Tiernan owns 0.5% with 502.96k shares, and Maury Dumba owns 0.27% with 270k shares.
As for institutions, Eagle Claw Investments Pty. Ltd. owns 0.42% with 0.42 million shares.
Volt has a market cap of CA$48.5 million, with 99,455,752 outstanding shares and 76.68 million shares in public float. It trades in the 52-week range between CA$0.06 and CA$0.55.
- As of the date of this article, officers and/or employees of Streetwise Reports LLC (including members of their household) own securities of Volt Lithium Corp.
- Amanda Duvall wrote this article for Streetwise Reports LLC and provides services to Streetwise Reports as an employee.
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