Lithium is an essential ingredient in lithium-ion batteries for hybrid and electric cars, as well as rechargeable power for laptops, phones and other devices. It is the lightest of all metals, making it well suited for use in everything from pacemakers to jets.
Lithium does not occur on its own in nature but is found combined with other minerals. At our Jadar project, we discovered lithium in a new mineral in the Jadar Valley in Serbia, now known as jadarite.
Lithium is part of our portfolio of materials essential to a low-carbon future. Lithium is a key element needed for low-carbon technologies including the electrification of transport, large-scale batteries and energy storage. Double digit growth in lithium demand is forecast over the next decade.
Our lithium products
We source our battery-grade lithium in the US from nearly a century’s worth of mining waste rock at our Boron operations in California.
Our process involves roasting and leaching waste rock to recover lithium. Since it involves separating lithium from waste rock that has already been mined, this breakthrough process is a more sustainable alternative to other sources of lithium supply.
Our demonstration plant in California has a design capacity of 10 tonnes per year of battery grade lithium. Priorities in 2021 include optimising the process to inform our feasibility assessment for progressing to a commercial scale plant. This plant would have an initial capacity of at least 5,000 tonnes per year of lithium, or enough to make batteries for approximately 70,000 electric vehicles.
We produce battery grade lithium carbonate that meets the strict quality assurance standards required by the electric vehicle industry.
Without lithium ion batteries you won’t have rapid mass adoption of electric vehicles or energy storage. And without the lithium, cobalt, nickel, graphite anode and manganese supply chains to feed these battery plants, you won’t have lithium ion batteries.”
- Simon Moores, Managing Director, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence
A vital component for clean technologies such as electric vehicles and battery storage, lithium will play an essential role in the transition to a low carbon economy. Double digit growth in lithium demand is forecast over the next decade.
Partnerships across the value chain
Partnerships and collaboration are essential to bringing lithium from mine to market. For example, we are investing in European-based battery technology and manufacturing company InoBat Auto to support the development of a battery ecosystem in Europe – spanning R&D, lithium mining, battery manufacturing and recycling.
InoBat has a battery research and development facility and pilot plant under development in Slovakia and is actively pursuing plans to build a number of gigafactories, including one in Serbia where our proposed Jadar lithium mine is located.
We also support industry-wide initiatives aimed at building a competitive, sustainable and innovative value chain in Europe, such as the European Battery Alliance and the European Raw Materials Alliance.