Clear Sky Lithium Corp. a Vancouver-based exploration and development company focused on US lithium deposits, said it has initiated a research collaboration with California-based MDS Technical Corp. for the development and testing of a patented membrane extraction technology tailored to lithium bearing claystones. Originally formed in 1980 as a joint venture between Brown, Baveri & Co. (BBC) of Zurich, Switzerland, and Desalination Systems (DSI) of Escondido, California, the company has developed applications for membrane technology from concept to full-size plant installation.

Clear Sky Lithium CEO Patrick Morris said, “Given the advanced state of the MDS technology, combined with the previous successes they have enjoyed in the mining sector, we believe we can quickly undertake a bench test to validate the potential, and initiate a pathway towards a scalable pilot study.”

According to Clear Sky, MDS has provided solutions for the wastewater management, oil and gas, mining, and metals processing sectors. It has developed solutions utilizing its patented processes for the extraction and processing of lithium from clays present in salars, hectorite clay, and hard rock pegmatites.

Processing claystone-based lithium has historically proven challenging. While more than 50% of the undeveloped US lithium projects with established resources are clay associated, none of them have reached commercial production, according to Clear Sky. 

The proposed bench scale studies are scheduled to begin in 2022 and will use samples from Clear Sky’s Nevada holdings. The company said the resulting laboratory analysis will form the basis for determining the viability of a development program based on MDS technology.