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Standard Lithium Gets Big Ally In Arkansas Project: Lanxess.

A Canadian company's plan to extract battery-grade lithium from the salty underground waters of south Arkansas took another step forward last week with the announcement terms toward a joint venture with Lanxess Corp., a global specialty chemical company with extensive operations in the state.

Standard Lithium Ltd. of Vancouver hopes to collect lithium, used in batteries for electric cars, from the same Smackover Formation brine that Lanxess draws from south Arkansas wells for extracting bromine, a substance used in flame retardants. Bromine has been mined from brine in the El Dorado-Magnolia region for 50 years.

The deal is "extremely significant for us, and it allows us to communicate to the world that this isn't just a science experiment," Standard Lithium CEO Robert Mintak told Arkansas Business last week. "It is an actual path we've mapped out to reaching our goal of lithium production. We're putting the pieces in place."

Standard Lithium and Lanxess have signed what is known as a "term sheet" for the joint venture in what Mintak called a "phased approach" to reaching a binding memorandum of understanding. The key is whether Standard can prove itself with a pilot plant designed to retrieve lithium on a commercial scale from waters Lanxess has already processed for bromine.

The deal as envisioned would have Lanxess grant lithium extraction rights to the brine and grant access to its existing operations and infrastructure. Standard Lithium would contribute rights and leases held in the Smackover Formation and make Lanxess a joint venture partner in the pilot plant Standard Lithium is building in Canada and then planning to move to south Arkansas, Mintak said.

Lanxess would also receive significant intellectual property rights.

If Standard Lithium proves its process, Lanxess would fund plans for commercially developing the lithium stream. "The cooperation with Standard Lithium is still at a very early state, but could open up exciting prospects for us in a forward-looking industry," Lanxess Chairman Matthias Zachert said in a statement.

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Title Annotation:Manufacturing
Comment:Standard Lithium Gets Big Ally In Arkansas Project: Lanxess.(Manufacturing)
Author:Massey, Kyle
Publication:Arkansas Business
Geographic Code:1U7AR
Date:Nov 19, 2018
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