Kachi lithium brine project, Argentina – update

29th March 2024 By: Sheila Barradas - Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

Kachi lithium brine project, Argentina – update

Photo by: Lake Resources

Name of the Project
Kachi lithium brine project.

Catamarca, Argentina.

Project Owner/s
Lithium developer Lake Resources.

Project Description
The Phase 1 definitive feasibility study (DFS) on Kachi has demonstrated that it is a tier-one project. During this phase, production of 25 000 t/y over a 25-year life-of-mine will be targeted.

Potential Job Creation
Not stated.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
The project boasts a pretax net present value, at an 8% discount rate, of $3.85-billion and an internal rate of return of 25.35%, with a payback of 4.25 years.

Capital Expenditure
Estimated initial capital expenditure for Phase 1 is $1.38-billion.

Planned Start/End Date
Kachi is targeting first lithium in 2027, with the ramp-up to full capacity by the end of 2028.

Latest Developments
Lake Resources has submitted the production environmental-impact assessment (EIA) for the project to the Catamarca Mining Ministry in Argentina.

The production EIA is intended to demonstrate that due attention has being given to the potential impact of the mining operations on the environment and local community.

The EIA, prepared by global engineering consulting firm Knight Piésold, is based on the production scenario presented in the DFS in which lithium brine is extracted through production wells, pumped to the direct lithium extraction (DLE) plant for lithium recovery and then injected back into the subsurface through injection wells.

Lake notes that the Lilac ion-exchange process requires “a fraction” of the water required for evaporation ponds and absorption DLE technology.

The company has also incorporated a zero-liquid discharge unit that further reduces freshwater consumption by about 75%. The injection of spent brine allows for Lake to design a system that maximises lithium recovery, while maintaining the hydrological system as close to baseline conditions as possible during operations.

Other environmental benefits of Kachi, Lake says, include a smaller land footprint and lower solid waste output, compared with traditional evaporation ponds and hard rock projects. 

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
Lilac Solutions (lithium extraction testwork); Hatch (engineering and design services); Citi and JP Morgan (finance coordinators of the project); and Knight Piésold (EIA).

Contact Details for Project Information
Lake Wells, tel +61 2 9299 9690 or email hello@lakeresources.com.au.