Lithium, News, Sustainability, Technology

New lithium battery plant on horizon for Queensland


Lithium Australia and Centrex offshoot, Agriflex, are in talks for a potential phosphoric acid supply deal from Agriflex’s Ardmore phosphate rock mine in Queensland.

The companies will pursue opportunities for growth in Australia’s battery market by way of a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU), which envisages the construction of a demonstration plant near Ardmore.

The purpose of the plant will be to produce cathode powders for lithium batteries.

Lithium Australia has developed proprietary technology to produce cathode powders, including lithium ferro phosphate (LFP) and lithium manganese ferro phosphate (LMFP).

As phosphoric acid is a key ingredient in LFP and LMFP, Ardmore will be in a prime position to supply the component to the plant.

The demonstration plant will have an estimated capacity of 250 tonnes per annum (tpa) of LFP or LMFP, requiring approximately 200–300tpa of phosphoric acid.

If all goes well with the demonstration plant, Lithium Australia will seek to construct a commercial plant with an estimated capacity of approximately 25,000tpa LFP or LMFP, requiring approximately 20,000–25,000tpa of phosphoric acid.

Both Agriflex and Lithium Australia have said they will provide support to the MOU and aim to progress towards a conditional binding offtake agreement for the phosphoric acid.

Lithium Australia will provide technical input and testing of phosphate samples from Agriflex in respect to their suitability for producing LFP and LMFP.

“The MOU between Lithium Australia and Centrex highlights our commitment to building a battery supply chain domestically in Australia, which can provide global battery manufacturers an alternative supply source for LFP and LMFP,” Lithium Australia managing director and chief executive officer Simon Linge said.

Agriflex will conduct a study to produce phosphoric acid in Queensland and will provide Lithium Australia with phosphate product specifications.

“With Australia’s significant lithium production base and the emerging global trend towards adopting LFP battery technology, the opportunity to establish an LFP battery operation in Australia is substantial,” Centrex managing director and chief executive officer Robert Mencel said.

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