Exclusive: In lithium industry first, IBAT commercializes new extraction technology

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International Battery Metals (IBAT) has achieved a significant milestone in the clean-energy transition by becoming the first company to commercially produce lithium using a novel filtration technology.

This new direct lithium extraction (DLE) technology, implemented at a site in Utah, produces nearly 5,000 metric tons of lithium annually, promising cheaper and faster supplies for electric-vehicle batteries.

IBAT’s breakthrough, not previously reported, marks a significant advancement over traditional methods like evaporation ponds and open-pit mining, which are slower and environmentally intensive.

The company, utilizing technology partly developed by chairman John Burba in the 1980s, has outpaced competitors like Standard Lithium, SLB, Rio Tinto, and Eramet.

Analysts predict the DLE industry could reach $10 billion in annual revenue within a decade, transforming lithium production efficiency much like fracking did for U.S. oil.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that brine deposits globally contain about 70% of the world’s lithium reserves.

IBAT’s DLE technology, comparable to household water softeners, can extract about 90% of the lithium from brines, significantly higher than the 50% extraction rate of traditional methods.

This innovation is seen as critical to boosting global lithium supply for the burgeoning EV market.


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