Infinity Lithium’s Spain-based battery project wins key European backing
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Infinity Lithium Corporation’s (ASX:INF) project in Spain is the first in Europe to receive the backing of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIIT) which has a key role in shaping European Union policy on battery technologies.
The company’s San Jose lithium project is a fully-integrated industrial project focused on the production of battery-grade lithium hydroxide from a mica feedstock, and is the second largest hard rock lithium deposit in Europe.
“Today, the fact that lithium is not being extracted or refined in Europe causes strategic dependence on other markets,” said EIIT chief executive, Diego Pavia.
China currently provides 83 per cent of global lithium hydroxide supply while the European Union has zero production of this essential battery chemical.
This situation has put the European battery industry in a difficult position given the forecast surge in demand for lithium in the decades ahead.
The EIIT is responsible for leading development of Europe’s battery industry through the European Battery Alliance of major lithium-ion battery participants and is working with the European Investment Bank.
“As such, EIIT has already demonstrated its support for Infinity Lithium’s San Jose project with the June 2020 direct investment in the company, committing to further support and to facilitate funding for the project through to its completion,” said Pavia.
The EIIT has provided direct funding of 800,000 euros ($1.3m), and is supporting fundraising for 2.4m euros ($3.8m) for the San Jose project, and has pledged to support 300m euros ($479m) of capital raising for the plant.
European battery manufacturers’ dependence on China for lithium supply was a key issue for the European Union as it seeks to implement its net zero carbon emissions policy, Pavia said.
“With many European Union member states aggressively positioning themselves to capture a part of this generational opportunity to facilitate electric mobility, time is of the essence,” he said.
The San Jose lithium project has the potential to become a beacon for investment in lithium-ion battery production in Spain, said Pavia.
This is because the project combines extraction and refining using an innovative environmentally sustainable process and a world-class lithium deposit.
Spain’s Extremadura region, the location of the San Jose project, also has abundant solar energy infrastructure to power the lithium project.
“The San Jose project is of very strategic importance because raw materials are one of the weakest links in the value chain and there are not many deposits in Europe,” said Pavia.
Infinity Lithium’s San Jose project took a step forward in December with the granting of a government permit allowing work to begin on the project.
Managing director, Ryan Parkin, said the permit is a step towards the company lodging a mining licence for the project.