Lithium Americas has inaugurated its Lithium Technical Development Center (LTDC) as it moves forward with plans to produce materials for the US’ domestic lithium-ion battery market.
Based in Reno, Nevada, the centre has been developed to demonstrate the chemical process for producing lithium carbonate samples in an integrated process testing facility.
The process was designed for the Canadian-based firm’s Thacker Pass lithium mining project in Humboldt Country, Nevada, on which the firm is due to begin construction work this year.
The 30,000 ft2 LTDC facility will conduct test work on new target ores and brines and contains a state-of-the-art analytical laboratory capable of analysing ultra-pure lithium compounds.
The facility’s initial production, using the Thacker Pass flowsheet and sedimentary resources from the project site, produced five kilograms of battery-quality lithium carbonate.
Jonathan Evans, president and CEO of Lithium Americas, said: “As we prepare to break ground on Thacker Pass, we have never lost sight of our broader responsibility in developing the largest and most advanced new source of lithium in the US.
“We hope to play a meaningful role in securing domestic supply of lithium to meet our country’s electrification needs.”
Lithium Americas and the University of Nevada, Reno are collaborating on this commercial work, while also using the project as an educational tool for the next generation of engineers and researchers.
The firm is conducting a feasibility study targeting an initial production capacity of 40,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of lithium carbonate during Phase 1 with a second stage targeting 80,000 tpa.
Results of the study are expected in the second half of 2022.
Photo front left to right: Brian Sandoval, University of Nevada, Reno president; Jonathan Evans, president & CEO; Steve Sisolak, governor of Nevada; Littlestar Abel; Maria Anderson, the company’s community relations manager; members of the Tribe and Lithium Americas’ staff