Vancouver, British Columbia – Bearing Lithium Corp. (“Bearing” or the “Company“) (TSX Venture: BRZ) (OTCQB: BRGRF) (FRANKFURT: B6K1) is pleased to announce that the first sample of lithium carbonate has been produced from brine sourced from the Maricunga project in Chile. The sample was produced using the optimised process developed for the project by GEA of Germany.
The Maricunga joint-venture continues to advance towards the submission of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the project in Q2/2018 and the completion of a Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) which is anticipated in Q3/2018.
Production of Lithium Carbonate Sample
Minera Salar Blanco (MSB) has provided an update on the ongoing advancements at the Maricunga lithium project in Chile. Minera Salar Blanco (MSB) is a joint-venture company owned by Bearing Lithium (17.7%), Minera Salar Blanco SpA (32.3%) and Lithium Power International (50%). Under the terms of the JV, Lithium Power is funding all exploration and development costs with both Bearing and MSB having a free carry through to the completion of a Definitive Feasibility Study.
Minera Salar Blanco has produced its first lithium carbonate sample from Salar de Maricunga brine at the GEA facilities in Germany. The brine was concentrated at pilot plant solar evaporation ponds at the site for almost 12 months, and subsequently treated at the lab of GEA in Duisburg, Germany, in order to purify and precipitate lithium carbonate suitable for battery grade specification similar to those produced in Chile by Albemarle and SQM. The processing approach is based on conventional technology, which has been employed within the industry for decades, and is scalable up to commercial production levels. The purity of the product is estimated above 99.4% (c.f. Table 1 below).
Cristobal García-Huidobro, the CEO of Minera Salar Blanco, commented “We are very pleased with this news, as it’s a major milestone on our route to become one of a select few lithium carbonate producers, and demonstrate the value of the Maricunga project.”
President and CEO of Bearing Lithium commented: “The Maricunga project continues to make significant advancements that firmly establish it as one of a handful of pre-production lithium brine projects globally. The production of a high-purity, battery-grade lithium carbonate sample using conventional technology highlights the quality of the resource and low-technical risk of the project.”
Table 1: Specifications of Lithium Carbonate Sample
Figure 1: Lithium Carbonate Sample (left) & Washed Sample from Completed Process (right)
Peter Ehren, MSc. Raw Materials Technology, who is a technical consultant to the Company and is a qualified person within the context of National Instrument 43-101, has approved the scientific and technical disclosure in the news release.
About GEA Group
GEA is a major global process engineering company with headquarters in Düsseldorf, Germany which employs 17,000 people globally and specializes in design and production of equipment for the chemical, pharmaceutical, environmental and food industries. GEA has been operating a pilot plant in their facilities for the Maricunga JV since Q3/2017, when they began working to optimise the lithium carbonate process. This work will be ongoing during the Definitive Feasibility Study that the joint venture is undertaking during 2018. Optimisation of the lithium extraction and potassium production aims to establish the lowest cost for the process, with the highest possible lithium recovery.