Alkemy Capital Investments Explores £255m Lithium Sulphate Plant in Western Australia

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Alkemy Capital Investments, the parent company of Tees Valley Lithium, has unveiled ambitious plans to construct Australia’s premier lithium sulphate processing facility in Western Australia. 

This facility, pivotal in supplying lithium for Alkemy’s Teesside plant in the UK, aims to produce 15% of the lithium hydroxide required by European electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturers.

A recently conducted feasibility study has shed light on the cost dynamics of this undertaking. The first of four proposed “trains” or production lines at the prospective Boodarie facility near Port Hedland will require an initial investment of £255 million (approximately US$322 million). In return, it could yield an impressive gross revenue of £313 million (around $396 million).

The core operation of the Boodarie facility involves refining approximately 180,000 tonnes per year of locally sourced spodumene, a primary raw material for lithium production. This process will result in the creation of 40,000 tonnes per year of lithium sulphate. This lithium sulphate will then be shipped to Alkemy’s £200 million Redcar facility in the UK for further processing. Ultimately, the goal is to produce battery-grade lithium hydroxide for European manufacturers. 

Crucially, conducting a segment of the processing in Australia is a strategic move to reduce the global shipping of waste materials significantly.

The significance of this development is underlined by Tees Valley Lithium’s earlier agreement with Britishvolt buyer Recharge Industries to supply lithium hydroxide for a potential Northumberland gigafactory. Despite recent uncertainties about Recharge’s commitment to the project, Tees Valley Lithium remains dedicated to constructive negotiations, aiming for a definitive offtake and supply agreement.

Alkemy is also actively discussing long-term offtake agreements with several prominent car manufacturers and battery producers. With an estimated annual production capacity of approximately 96,000 tonnes, Alkemy expresses confidence in securing customers for its Teesside production. Furthermore, the company is open to selling lithium sulphate to third parties, expanding the scope and reach of this vital resource in the EV revolution.

Ryan Hanrahan, the Chief Executive Officer of Wave International, who conducted the feasibility study for Alkemy, expressed:

“The LSM plant at Boodarie is a strong first step to introducing flexibility into a somewhat rigid existing supply chain. We are seeing first hand exceptionally high interest in the model of intermediate chemicals from the end user and investment community, and this plant is no exception. We are pleased to continue to support Alkemy and PHL through the final stages of due diligence with their partners, now that the feasibility study is completed.”

As Alkemy Capital Investments explores these substantial investments in lithium production, the global EV industry watches with anticipation as sustainable battery materials move closer to reality.

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