Battery (Cell-) Production in Europe
Jan 27, 2021

Battery Raw Materials projects gaining momentum

The EU Green Deal recognises and highlights the strategic importance of securing the supply of sustainable raw materials to fulfil its ambition to become climate-neutral by 2050 while contributing to Europe’s competitiveness and resilience. Sustainable supply of raw materials within the EU has been pointed out as one of the prioritised actions in the Strategic Action Plan on Batteries of the European Battery Alliance. This was strengthend even more with the proposal of a new regulation on batteries issued last December, clearly paving the way for a European battery value chain based on sustainably and ethically sourced raw materials for the European battery industry.

Since the start of the European Battery Alliance Europe has become a “global battery hotspot” as Vice-President Šefčovič stated at the launch of the second IPCEI on batteries yesterday. This pan-European project includes in fact innovations based in the EU, with mining and supply of sustainable raw material as one of its workstreams.

The Vice-President’s statement is also valid for actual investments in domestic exploration and mining projects the European battery industry. At EBA250, we are seeing with great pleasure the positive developments in this space and we would like to highlight the good progress around a couple of the battery materials extraction projects in Europe that we support within the framework of the Business Investment Platform:

  • Savannah Resources is developing a lithium mine in Portugal and operates an active community programme. The company has announced a Heads of Agreement this month with GALP including an equity share and an off-take deal.
  • Vulcan Energy Resources intends to develop battery-quality lithium hydroxide with no CO2-emissions through geothermal brine extraction in Germany. The company has seen its share-price tripled during the last month while waiting for the release of their pre-feasibility study (PFS) that took place on 15 January and demonstrated the projects’ strong potential to achieve a zero-carbon footprint.
  • Infinity Lithium develops the San Jose Industrial Lithium Project in Spain with the target to minimise the environmental impact of the project to the largest extent possible for both the mining and processing part. Infinity Lithium has been awarded two exploration permits that will accelerate the exploration phase needed for their definitive feasibility study (DFS).
  • European Metals aims at extracting lithium including a number of by-projects in its Cinovec project. The Cinovec Project, located close to Prague, Czech Republic, on the border with Germany, has the potential to be the lowest cost hard rock operation globally due to a number of unique advantages. European Metals completed the listing of their securities on the US NASDAQ market in December following increased US-based interest in its Cinovec project.

Other projects contributing to building a sustainable European battery industry are making good progress as per the example of Euro Manganese. The Chvaletice Manganese Project has recently passed the initial screening procedure of the Czech Republic’s Ministry of the Environment and can now move forward to the next stages of the permitting process.

The market for plug-in cars is increasing at un unprecedented rate. In 2020, Europe overtook China as the worlds largest market for plug-in cars after a spectacular 137% increase in the market. New sharper CO-2 emission targets from EU as well as increased ambitions for electrification from the European automotive companies suggests that the battery market particularly in Europe will continue to grow. And this will – with increased ambitions to secure a raw material supply chain in Europe – help de-risking the projects while steering direction towards greener batteries and competitive sustainability.

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