Neometals, via its majority stake in a 70:30 joint venture with Mineral Resources (“RAM”), is commercialising a proprietary process (ELi Processing Technology (“ELi™”)) to sustainably produce lithium hydroxide and carbonate from lithium chloride, and/or hard rock feedstocks solutions using electrolysis. The ELi™ Processing Technology purifies feedstocks then utilises electricity to convert lithium salt into chemical. In so doing, decarbonising the battery supply chain with scope to significantly reduce CO2 by using fewer ships, trucks, reagents, processing steps and significantly reducing OPEX and reducing the amount of processing required.
Traditional means of producing lithium chemical creates inherent industry challenges that ELi™ looks to address:
Lithium is the key non-substitutable battery ingredient transporting electric charge, and the World needs more;
Europe has a very small supply of lithium chemicals with demand growing rapidly;
Despite being crucial for the energy transition, lithium production is the largest CO2 contributor in lithium-ion batteries (LIB);
Primary extraction companies often don’t have means to produce chemicals and need a market for mined intermediate or support to produce chemicals; and
Lithium chemical production needs to be more cost effective and more sustainable.
ELi™ has several advantages over conventional processes including lower operating expenditures, higher product purity and a smaller CO2 footprint largely owing to lower process reagent consumption. The patented ELi™ Processing Technology underpins Neometals’ unique Lithium Chemical proposition:
Significant operating and capital cost advantages courtesy of a reduced need for expensive reagents;
Environmental benefits including potential for net zero vanadium production;
Partnership with Portugals largest chemical business with existing facilities, supply chain and electrolysis expertise; and
Flexible and replicable business models.
RAM is co-developing in Europe with Portugal’s largest chemical producer, Bondalti Chemicals S.A. (“Bondalti”). The Portuguese refinery operation will source / process brine feedstocks and leverage Bondalti’s supply chain, infrastructure and operating expertise. A proposed 25,000tpa lithium refinery at Estarreja aims to produce battery quality lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate. Piloting and demonstration will precede commercial refining at Bondalti’s existing chlor-alkali operations. RAM is initially targeting the European market, where there is a large deficit of battery raw materials.