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Testing set to begin on lithium extraction

The initial stages of testing the machinery behind an effort in El Dorado to extract lithium from brine will begin this month, officials with Standard Lithium said Monday.

Construction of the pilot project is all but complete, and the "commissioning" -- or startup -- of the operations will begin once utility hookups and and other final matters are taken care of, said Standard Lithium, which is based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Standard Lithium signed a joint-venture agreement with Lanxess Corp. in 2018 to extract lithium from bromine that's already being mined by Lanxess in its decadeslong operations in south Arkansas' oil-and-brine Smackover Formation. The lithium would be mined to feed a growing demand for batteries for an array of products.

Standard Lithium broke ground on the project in late June. A demonstration plant that was built and tested in Canada was broken down and shipped to a site in El Dorado.

The company projects a $437 million investment with the completion of three proposed extraction plants to produce 20,900 tons of lithium carbonate a year for 25 years. It also projects annual revenue of $283.1 million. The three plants would employ about 90 people, the company said.

-- Stephen Steed

Work gets underway in solar-power effort

Entergy Arkansas and a Florida renewable energy company started construction Monday on a 100-megawatt solar project near Lake Village in Chicot County. The project is scheduled to be completed in 11 months, and Entergy said it will be the state's largest utility-scale solar facility.

The center will produce enough electricity to power more than 18,000 homes, the companies said. Entergy, which provides electricity to 700,000 Arkansas customers, is working on the project with NextEra Energy Resources, a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra Energy Inc.

Energy generated by the project will serve Entergy Arkansas customers under a 20-year power-purchase agreement. NextEra is building the solar array, which will cover about 825 acres.

NextEra Energy Resources is the world's largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun and is a world leader in battery storage.

-- Andrew Moreau

Arkansas Index loses 4.99, ends at 463.53

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, fell 4.99 Monday to close at 463.53.

"All three major U.S. stock averages sold off after disappointing U.S. economic data showed U.S. manufacturing activity contracted in November for the fourth consecutive month," said Chris Harkins, managing director at Raymond James & Associates in Little Rock.

The index was developed by Bloomberg News and the Democrat-Gazette with a base value of 100 as of Dec. 30, 1997.

Business on 12/03/2019

Print Headline: Testing set to begin on lithium extraction Work gets underway in solar-power effort Arkansas Index loses 4.99, ends at 463.53

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