(Bloomberg) — Lithium producers must reinvent mining methods for the key metal used in rechargeable batteries to meet rising demand from the electric-vehicle industry, according to Standard Lithium Ltd.’s top executive.
“The industry’s going to have some challenges as higher purity lithium compounds are required — they’re going to have to reinvent themselves,” Standard Lithium Chief Executive Officer Robert Mintak said in a phone interview. “We’re not going to be saddled with 20-year-old processes and refining capabilities.”
The soft silvery-white metal is a vital ingredient in rechargeable batteries of electric vehicles, including those made by Tesla Inc., and Mintak sees both challenges and supply shortages unless lithium producers turn to more unconventional methods to fulfill demand. Standard Lithium is already embracing new ways to recover lithium.
The Vancouver-based company opened its first direct lithium extraction plant in El Dorado, Arkansas this month, with the facility using a new technology that allows for a 90% lithium recovery rate.
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