Lithium One Inc.
TSX VENTURE : LI

Lithium One Inc.

February 17, 2011 11:51 ET

Lithium One Reports First Production of Lithium Carbonate at Sal de Vida Lithium-Potash Brine Project, Argentina

Highlights

- Milestone to Feasibility achieved: On-site testing underway to develop the commercial process for recovering lithium and potash from Sal de Vida brines

- Brine chemistry conforming to design expectations: Lithium and potassium already near commercial concentrations in test ponds

- Brine concentration sufficient to recover test-scale lithium carbonate and potash

VANCOUVER, CANADA--(Marketwire - Feb. 17, 2011) - Lithium One Inc. (the "Company") (TSX VENTURE:LI), is pleased to report the first recovery of lithium carbonate and potassium chloride from its on-site pilot-plant. The operating pilot facility represents a smaller scale simulation of a commercial evaporation process operation that has been designed to concentrate and recover lithium (for lithium carbonate production) and potassium (for muriate of potash production) from the Sal de Vida brines.

The pilot facility, including evaporation ponds and a lithium carbonate plant, commenced operation in early October 2010. This is a key step towards the feasibility study at Sal de Vida, which is targeted for early 2012. The pilot plant test work allows Lithium One to optimize the low-cost evaporation technology for the commercial production of lithium carbonate and muriate of potash (potassium chloride). Lithium carbonate in high purity forms is the preferred commercial product for the lithium battery industry. Production of battery-grade lithium carbonate and by-product potash is the objective of the Sal de Vida Project.

After only four months of evaporation processing, lithium concentrations of more than 1.25% have already been achieved in the test ponds. The potassium content of the brines at the potash recovery stage is at or above 4%. To date, four batches of lithium carbonate and two batches of potash have been recovered from the pilot facility. These interim results are on track to meet or exceed the 2% lithium and 4% potassium concentrations achieved in the laboratory scale evaporation tests on Sal de Vida brine which were completed in the third quarter of 2010. Realization of these concentrations would compare favourably to commercial lithium evaporation plants and have a significant positive impact on capital and operating costs for a future full-scale operation.

Lithium One President and CEO Patrick Highsmith commented, "We are very happy with the results we are seeing from the Sal de Vida evaporation tests and pilot plant. The results achieved in this short time frame confirm the quality of the brine chemistry and its performance in real-world testing conditions, which bodes well for the future economics of the process. This landmark in our process is analogous to taking a bulk sample from a gold deposit and confirming the gold is amenable to low-cost heap leach processing. With the pilot plant operating we have accelerated our pace towards feasibility at the end of the year, while simultaneously working to complete the first resource estimate on the project in the next few weeks."

Pilot Facility Details

The theoretical plant design (flowsheet) and the corresponding pilot test facility were designed by process engineering consultant, Jerome Lukes. Mr. Lukes has extensive experience with recovery of lithium from evaporation circuits, including a key role in development of the world's largest lithium and potassium solar evaporation recovery process at Salar de Atacama. The Sal de Vida pilot plant evaporation tests will run at least 12 months in order to simulate one full year of weather conditions at the salar.

The on-site test facility consists of two brine wells, two weather stations, six evaporation ponds, and containerized pilot plant, laboratory, and office. The operation consists of three stages:

Pre-treatment stage. Most magnesium is removed from the brines using lime in the pre-treatment phase. Results to date indicate that the Sal de Vida brines are low in magnesium, which should make removal at this stage effective and low-cost. 

Evaporation stage. In the second stage, brine is naturally evaporated in a series of 6 ponds, simulating the evaporation process of a future full-scale, commercial operation. Ponds are of 6 and 3-metres diameter and 0.60m deep. The larger test ponds are made of reinforced fiberglass and the smaller ones are made of metal. The first four ponds concentrate the brine and are designed to remove excess halite (common salt), while the remaining two ponds further concentrate the brine and crystallize a halite/potash (potassium chloride) solid. This solid is further processed in a commercial plant to produce muriate of potash. Excess calcium, sulphate and boron are removed throughout the system.

Lithium recovery stage. In the third stage, the concentrated brine will be treated in the pilot plant to remove the remaining boron (a potentially valuable by-product) and trace magnesium and calcium, producing lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) in pilot plant quantities. The final boron and magnesium treatment hardware has not yet been installed, so the initial lithium carbonate products are of lower purity than the final test product will be.

Four batches of lithium carbonate have been recovered from the evaporation-concentrated brines, with several more to be completed before the yields are representative. Analysis of the brines from the evaporation pond system and pilot plant confirm that the chemistry is behaving generally as expected with respect to K, Na, Li and Cl.

Please refer to the Lithium One website (www.lithium1.com) for photos from the operation.

Review by Qualified Person

The contents of this news release, analytical data, and process testing details have been reviewed and approved by Mr. George C. Lukes. Mr. Lukes is a certified Professional Engineer in the state of Utah (P.E. #: 171939-2202) and a qualified person as defined by National Instrument 43-101. Both Mr. George Lukes and Mr. Jerome Lukes are completely independent of Lithium One, owning no securities of any kind in the Company. 

About Lithium One:

Lithium One Inc. is a Canadian-based explorer and developer of mineral properties with a specific focus on lithium. The Company has two major lithium projects funded through feasibility by earn-in partners: the brownfields Sal de Vida lithium brine project in Argentina, in which KORES, LG International and GS Caltex are earning a maximum of 30% project equity; and the James Bay bulk tonnage spodumene project in Quebec, in which Galaxy Resources is earning up to 70% project equity. The Sal de Vida option agreement also includes a provision for a project completion guarantee in regards to debt financing and an off-take agreement for up to 50% of the lithium production. The Company's strategy is to draw upon its quality team and employ best-practice to develop its projects into leading suppliers of low-cost, high quality lithium products to the global battery market.

ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS,

Patrick Highsmith, M.Sc., President and Chief Executive Officer

Lithium One Inc.
1238-200 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC V6C 1S4 Canada
Email: info@lithium1.com
 
Website: www.lithium1.com

Forward-Looking Statements

This document may contain "forward-looking information" within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation (hereinafter referred to as "forward-looking statements"). All statements, other than statements of historical fact, included herein including, without limitation statements relating to; the completion of a Feasibility Study, securing of debt for future project construction, purchase of future mine production, the timing for completion of an NI 43-101 compliant resource and other matters related to the exploration and development of the Project, are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this document and the Company does not intend, and does not assume any obligation, to update these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements relate to future events or future performance and reflect management's expectations or beliefs regarding future events. By their very nature forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include unsuccessful exploration results, changes in metals prices, changes in the availability of funding for mineral exploration, unanticipated changes in key management personnel and general economic conditions, title disputes as well as those factors detailed from time to time in the Company's interim and annual financial statements and management's discussion and analysis of those statements, all of which are filed and available for review on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. In certain cases, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will be taken", "occur" or "be achieved" or the negative of these terms or comparable terminology. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward looking statements.

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Contact Information

  • Investor Inquiries:
    Lithium One Inc.
    Robert Orr
    604-697-6259
    604-408-4799 (FAX)
    ro@lithium1.com