UK firm to build lithium sulphate plant in WA

UK-based Alkemy Capital Investments will build a lithium sulphate (LSM) plant at Port Hedland in Western Australia.

UK-based Alkemy Capital Investments will build a lithium sulphate (LSM) plant at Port Hedland in Western Australia, to feed the Tees Valley Lithium lithium hydroxide (LHM) plant at the Wilton International Chemicals Park, Teesside, UK.

One train of the Port Hedland plant is set to process spodumene from Australian lithium miners to produce 40,000 tonnes per annum of primary LSM, with three other trains adding a further 120,000tpa primary LSM production in future expansions.

A train consists of various components to process, purify, and manufacture the desired product.

The development will deliver a low carbon, de-risked lithium supply chain between Western Australian spodumene producers and the burgeoning European lithium battery cell market.

Alkemy director Sam Quinn said the company is now progressing discussions to finalise and secure the optimal site and the definitive spodumene feedstock agreement to underwrite the development of the plant.

“Importantly, the plant will also bring major downstream processing and value adding to the Pilbara region, with significant multiplier benefits for the local community, whilst reducing the carbon footprint of the end to end lithium battery cell supply chain to meet new European emissions standards,” he said.

Alkemy has partnered with global physical trader and merchant in metals and natural resources, Traxys, to source and supply lithium feedstock for Tees Valley’s processing facility. This partnership will also encompass the sourcing and supply of spodumene concentrate to the Port Hedland LSM plant.

“The Traxys partnership will offer existing and new Australian spodumene producers the opportunity to supply their spodumene concentrate to a merchant mid-stream lithum hydroxide refining solution through the Port Hedland plant and the Wilton plant,” Quinn said.

Based on market feedback to date, this offering is expected to provide Australian spodumene concentrate producers with:

  • Direct access to the premium European lithium battery gigafactory market
  • Downstream processing capability in Australia at no capital cost
  • Ability to reduce net carbon emissions in the lithium battery cell supply chain by lowering the volume of material transported to downstream refining capacity
  • Lower overall delivered costs of spodumene to customers by reducing transport distances and volumes.

More than 700 GW of lithium battery gigafactories are planned for construction across Europe which will require over 325,000t of lithium hydroxide (LHM) per annum from 2030.

Currently, there is no LHM production capacity in Europe or the UK.

Editor of industrial titles and mastheads with Prime Creative Media. Publications include Rail Express and Australian Mining (web content).
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