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Australia consortium to capitalise on battery boom

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 13:01 -- Hugh Finzel

A federal- and industry-backed consortium will be established in Western Australia to position the country as “a global leader in the manufacture and supply of batteries.”

The AUD135 million (US$97m) Curtin University-led ‘Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre’ (FBICRC) includes 58 industry, government, and research partners.

The Australian federal government has committed AUD25m to support the FBICRC’s development, following a $28 million commitment from partners. Western Australia’s state government seeded the bid with AUD6m.

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Mitsui inks battery metals supply deal with Sigma

Wed, 04/10/2019 - 13:54 -- Hugh Finzel

Japanese chemicals company Mitsui is to pre-pay Sigma Lithium US$30 million under a strategic alliance agreement for the supply of battery-grade lithium concentrate.

Sigma will supply Mitsui with “up to 55,000 tonnes” of material annually for six years, with an option to extend for a further five years.

Sigma said the agreement provided for a significant portion of the funding required for capital expenditures and construction of Sigma’s commercial production plant at its Grota do Cirilo lithium project in Brazil.

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‘Rogue shippers’ risk to lithium air cargo safety

Wed, 03/13/2019 - 11:42 -- John Shepherd
‘Rogue shippers’ risk to lithium air cargo safety

Lithium batteries pose risks for air cargo safety because of “rogue shippers” and a failure to enforce regulations, the head of the trade body for the world’s airlines has warned.

Alexandre de Juniac (right), director-general and CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said the batteries “can be shipped safely if properly labelled and packaged”.

But de Juniac said: “With respect to the safety of air cargo, transport of lithium batteries is the most topical issue.”

 
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Pilbara secures funding to expand Pilganoora lithium deposit

Mon, 01/07/2019 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel
Pilganoora lithium-tantalum project

Australian mining company Pilbara Minerals has secured funding from two of its key customers, in order to expand its Pilganoora lithium ore deposit.

The funding is comprised of a US$25 million offtake pre-payment facility provided by Chinese automotive manufacturer, Great Wall Motor Company, a $50m equity placement to Ganfeng Lithium, and a proposed new $50m Nordic bond to be implemented in the current quarter, with bondholder consent.

The funding package will be combined with Pilbara’s existing cash reserves and future cash flow from stage 1 operations of the Pilganoora resource to fully fund the second stage of operations. Pilbara is targeting commissioning of stage 2 from the March quarter 2020.

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Infinity Lithium eyes battery supply market with Spanish project

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

Australia-listed lithium developer Infinity Lithium has unveiled a scoping study for its San Jose project in Spain’s Extremadura region, including the production of battery grade lithium hydroxide.

Infinity had previously released a lithium carbonate scoping study for San Jose, but said it was shifting the project’s focus towards lithium hydroxide.

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Zimbabwe ‘to build batteries’ on back of lithium mining

Mon, 11/26/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd
July Moyo

Zimbabwe’s government has set out proposals to build battery-manufacturing plants as part of a “lithium beneficiation” programme.

The minister for local government, public works and national housing, July Moyo (pictured), said an unspecified number of plants would be built in the country’s central Midlands Province— spurred by renewed lithium mining activity.

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Albemarle set to invest in Australian lithium joint venture

Mon, 11/26/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

US chemicals company Albermarle has signed an exclusivity agreement to create a potential lithium joint venture in Western Australia.

Albemarle said the agreement with Mineral Resources Limited (MRL) could lead to the creation of a 50-50 joint venture to own and operate the Wodgina hard rock lithium mine in the state’s Pilbara region— and “ultimately develop an integrated lithium hydroxide operation at the site”.

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Lithium Werks in China giga-investment deal

Mon, 10/22/2018 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel

Dutch lithium-ion battery producer Lithium Werks BV has signed a framework agreement to build a 60-hectare battery gigafactory in China’s Yangtze River Delta.

The agreement for the €1.6 billion (US$1.85bn) factory to produce cells for lithium-ion batteries was signed with the Zhejiang Jiashan Economic Development Zone Industry Corporation.

“With our Chinese partners’ help, and as we continue to grow both organically and through acquisitions, we will deliver the energy storage solutions that our customers increasingly ask for as the world transitions to clean energy,” said Lithium Werks chairman Kees Koolen (pictured centre).

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EU pledges more cash to prop up lithium battery alliance

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd
Maroš Šefčovič

The European Union is pledging to throw additional cash at projects that support plans for an EU-wide battery cell manufacturing industry to compete with Asia.

The move comes one-year after the launch of the EU Batteries Alliance initiative— which has been heavily criticised for favouring investments in lithium-based technologies for future electric vehicles while attacking the bloc’s lead-acid industry.

Now EU energy chief and European Commission vice-president, Maroš Šefčovič, has said around €1 million of new funding could be made available under a newly-launched ‘Interregional Partnership for Batteries’ (IPB)— “to promote European cooperation across public authorities, research, and industry” in support of the Batteries Alliance.

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Portugal looks to lithium

Mon, 10/01/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd
Jorge Seguro Sanches

Portugal is set to offer licences for the exploration of lithium in the country in a bid to grab a share of the lucrative battery materials supply market for electric vehicles.

Energy secretary Jorge Seguro Sanches said in an interview with Reuters the country would launch a call for tenders for the licences “by the end of the year”.

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