A strategic initiative to accelerate Australia’s lithium mineral production has been launched to move the reliance away from China’s battery materials industry.
The Australian Lithium Alliance (ALA) will be implemented by EV Metals Group (EVM) through a joint venture with minerals discovery firm Zenith Minerals.
The Zenith Lithium joint venture will be focused on the exploration, development, mining, processing and production of lithium products.
Western Australia has the world’s biggest resource of lithium spodumene concentrate, of which China buys the majority of to supply its domestic chemicals processing companies.
Michael Naylor, managing director of EVM said the aim was for the Australian Lithium Alliance to build the Zenith Lithium into the largest producer of lithium minerals in the form of spodumene in Australia.
ALA, a subsidiary of EVM, aims to secure the supply chains for critical raw battery materials as it looks to fast track the development of its integrated Battery Chemicals Complex (BCC) at Yanbu Industrial City in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Abdullah Busfar, chairman of EVM said: “The BCC is being developed as a midstream and downstream global hub for production of high purity chemicals and cathode active materials for domestic and export sales to original equipment manufacturers and battery cell manufacturers in growth markets in Europe and North America.”
EVM launched the ALA with an agreement in the form of an earn-in joint venture and Lithium Rights Deed (agreement) between EVM, and minerals discovery firm Zenith Minerals and its wholly owned subsidiary Black Dragon Energy.
That agreement includes a potential joint venture over Zenith’s Split Rocks (gold mine) and Waratah Well (lithium-cesium-tantalum mine) projects in Western Australia, as well as a non- exclusive right to bring additional projects to the JV by either party, to explore for lithium/EV metals.
The agreement hopes to accelerate the development, mining, processing and production of lithium minerals from Split Rocks and Waratah Well tenements under the Zenith Lithium joint venture.
EVM will also enter into a life of mine offtake agreement for all production of lithium spodumene concentrate from all lithium minerals projects developed by the Zenith Lithium Joint Venture.
A non-China battery chemicals supply
EVM is building a global battery chemicals and technology business with the development of the BCC.
It will produce chemicals containing lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese and other metals required for cathode active materials used in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage systems.
EVM is developing two processing trains requiring 330,000 tpa of spodumene concentrate containing 6% lithium oxide (SC6) to produce 50,000 tpa of lithium hydroxide monohydrate (LHM) in the lithium chemicals Plant at the BCC.
The BCC has been designed for expansion with a further two trains requiring a further 330,000 tpa of SC6 for the production a further 50,000 tpa of LHM.