PERTH (miningweekly.com) - Lithium developer Vulcan Energy Resources has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) and term sheet with European chemicals producer Nobian, to assess the feasibility of jointly developing Vulcan's Central lithium plant (CLP).
Vulcan has previously secured a plot for the construction of the CLP at the Höchst chemical park near Frankfurt.
The joint development project will be phased, accompanied by a joint progress decision at the end of the second phase. Project investment from Nobian will be discussed on market terms following the conclusion of the definitive feasibility study (DFS).
Phase 1 of the development will see the two companies jointly conduct the DFS, development, construction and operation of the CLP, while Phase 2 will see the operation of Vulcan's electrolysis demonstration plant at Nobian's existing site at Höchst.
Phase 3 will be done partly in parallel with Phase 2, and will consist of the design and engineering, the construction, startup and joint operation of the CLP at a commercial scale. Vulcan and Nobian will also discuss chlorine and hydrogen offtakes, which are planned by-products of Vulcan’s CLP.
“This agreement, with one of the largest chlor-alkali producers in Europe, bolsters the operational experience and expertise in electrolysis production within the Zero Carbon lithium project team. Lithium electrolysis, for environmental, infrastructure and economic reasons, is Vulcan’s selected process for lithium hydroxide production for battery electric vehicles. Our partnership with Nobian is consistent with our strategy to capitalise on the synergies that are available to us with existing chemical producers, due to our location in Germany, the largest chemical-producing country in Europe," said Vulcan MD Dr Francis Wedin.
"Nobian’s experience will contribute to derisking our planned scale-up and build-out, towards our goal of starting production from our Zero Carbon lithium project in 2024. We look forward to a long and productive relationship with Nobian and their skilled operations and development team.”
The Zero Carbon lithium project aims to produce both renewable geothermal energy and lithium hydroxide from the same deep brine source.
The CLP is intended as a processing hub, processing lithium chloride from multiple combined geothermal and lithium sorption plants into lithium hydroxide monohydrate (LHM).
From the CLP, the LHM is intended to be transported to Vulcan’s European customers in the battery and electric vehicle industry, dramatically lowering the transport footprint of the current lithium supply chain.
Vulcan is targeting Phase 1 commercial production for the CLP for 2024.
Stage 1 of the production plant will consist of a direct extraction and lithium plant at an operating, producing geothermal well and power plant, while Stage 2 of the operation will consist of the drilling of ten new geothermal production wells, the construction of a new, combined geothermal, direct lithium extraction and lithium hydroxide plant at Vulcan’s Ortenau licence.