Australia-listed Neometals has signed a binding memorandum of understanding with Indian company Manikaran Power to jointly fund the evaluation of developing “India’s first lithium refinery”.
A final investment decision (FID) on creating a 50-50 joint venture for the refinery will be taken after completion of a feasibility study, Neometals said.
It is estimated that the study will take about 18 to 24 months, with an FID on whether to proceed with a potential joint venture likely to be considered in the first half of calendar year 2021.
Neometals previously completed a capital cost study on a proposed lithium refinery operation in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, which “indicated a higher than anticipated capital intensity for the 10,000 tonnes lithium hydroxide capacity”. The company said it is continuing to evaluate the Kalgoorlie project without prejudice to its agreement with Manikaran.
Neometals’ CEO Chris Reed said both companies shared a common belief in strong future demand for lithium, driven by the electrification of transports and a shortage of renewable energy.