Arizona Lithium charting path to carbon-free lithium with Nikola EV haul truck deal
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Arizona Lithium is charting a path to making its Big Sandy lithium project in the USA emissions free, after signing an MoU to purchase electric trucks from Nasdaq-listed battery EV producer Nikola.
It is the latest step Arizona (ASX:AZL) has taken to bolster the green credentials of Big Sandy, a shallow, flat sedimentary lithium resource with excellent infrastructure that already sets it up with a low environmental footprint.
Arizona is currently progressing a scoping study for Big Sandy, which boasts an indicated and inferred JORC resource of 32.5 million tonnes grading 1,850 parts per million (ppm) lithium for 320,800 tonnes Li2CO3.
Material movement is one of the largest emissions problems for existing mines, and under the deal AZL could move as much as 2Mt of ore a year with an estimated 50 Nikola Tre BEVs.
That depends on a few things, including the eventual scale of the project and volume of the truck. AZL could take as many as 100 Nikola Tres as per the MoU once it’s in production.
The unique partnership will start small, with one Nikola Tre to be placed at site during the research facility phase of the Big Sandy project.
It is anticipated that arrangement will expand once the project is fully proven and the processing facility phase begins.
AZL managing director Paul Lloyd said it is also looking into sustainable charging options for the Nikola trucks.
“As we continue to advance the sustainable development of the Big Sandy Lithium Project, we see it highly fitting to utilise Nikola Tre BEVs for hauling ore and to explore sustainable charging options for the trucks,” he said.
“The intended result would be to significantly reduce the carbon emissions produced through mining lithium at Big Sandy as countries globally strive to meet net zero carbon emission targets.”
Targeting zero emissions at the project will enhance AZL’s standing with customers and governments looking to hit net zero targets in the coming years and develop a truly green EV supply chain.
But it will also enhance the project in the eyes of the US Government, which is warming to the possibility of opening new mines to reduce its reliance on strategic minerals imports.
In a landmark speech in Houston last week, US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told attendees she was working to streamline new sources of minerals urgently needed for electric vehicle production.
That could see increased access to government loans for companies that can demonstrate their worth as suppliers of critical minerals and pass muster in terms of environmental and community relations.
With a substantial resource already in place, AZL is well placed to do that, with Lloyd last month saying it wanted to make the project “a global model for responsible and sustainable mining.”
“As we continue to advance the sustainable development of the Big Sandy Lithium Project, we see it highly fitting to utilise Nikola Tre BEVs for hauling ore and to explore sustainable charging options for the trucks,” he said. “The companies will also look to explore further opportunities for potential joint collaboration in the future.”
This article was developed in collaboration with Arizona Lithium, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.