03/08/2022 - 15:38

Infinity signs off on lithium test program in Spain

03/08/2022 - 15:38

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Perth-based Infinity Lithium has wrapped up its commitments to a successful test work program for its San José lithium project in western Spain by delivering the final tranche of share options to the program’s backer. The company has also announced a new battery industry training program for locals in the Extramadura region, the site of its proposed mine.

Infinity signs off on lithium test program in Spain
Infinity’s test work program included metallurgical assessments in German labs. Credit: File

Infinity Lithium has wrapped up its commitments to a successful test work program for its San José lithium project in Spain by delivering the final tranche of share options to the program’s backer.

The test work, now concluded, resulted in the successful production of battery-grade lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate. The work is a precursor to a feasibility study for the production of battery-grade lithium chemicals from a mica feedstock at San José.

The company has also announced a new lithium-ion battery industry training program for locals in the Extramadura region of western Spain, where Infinity’s San José project is located.

Infinity has issued almost two million zero exercise price warrants or options to EIT InnoEnergy — the innovation initiative of the European Union that backed the program under a June 2020 agreement.

The agreement saw EIT InnoEnergy finance phase one of a pilot plant at San Jose to the tune of up to $1.3 million including metallurgical test work by high-value metals specialist Dorfner Anzaplan in Germany.

In consideration, Infinity agreed to deliver up to 13.2 million warrants to EIT — an amount that, when exercised, will elevate EIT to one of Infinity's top five shareholders.

The San José deposit is the second-largest JORC-compliant hard rock lithium resource in the European Union.

Infinity says the proposed fully integrated San José project, in which it has a 75 per cent stake, would provide an essential component in the EU’s ambition to develop a vertically integrated lithium-ion battery supply chain.

Infinity is a member of the European Battery Alliance, or “EBA” that is seeking to build a fully integrated battery supply chain in Europe to aid the transition to electric vehicle manufacture without dependence on China.

The company says its San José project is the first lithium project to secure European funding from EIT InnoEnergy as part of a multi-level investment and assistance agreement.

It is estimated that currently more than 55 per cent of lithium chemicals used in batteries come from China. Almost 80 per cent of lithium hydroxide, the preferred chemical for advanced lithium batteries, also comes from China.

The test work completed by Infinity is a precursor to a feasibility study for the production of battery-grade lithium chemicals from a mica feedstock at San José.

The San José project proposes an innovative sulphate roast process to deliver a more sustainable refining technology for lithium mineralogies.

Infinity Lithium Managing Director and CEO, Ryan Parkin, said: “Market commentators in the past have not focused on lower-grade lithium-bearing materials such as our mica deposit but we have now proven the ability to produce battery-grade lithium oxide and lithium carbonate under this program.”

Infinity plans to build a large lithium chemical conversion plant close to the resource. The total project will cost about US$532 million, with the plant accounting for about 85 per cent of the sum.

Parkin says a lot of Infinity’s recent work has been addressing what he says were misconceptions expressed by a vocal minority in the community and the company has pivoted.

The company’s original plan was for an open pit but plans were changed to an underground mine to lessen the environmental impact and gain community support.

Infinity is also looking at using green hydrogen and renewable energy and has just announced a new long-term program in collaboration with EIT InnoEnergy to train locals for the battery industry.

Its Spanish subsidiary, Extremadura New Energies, will be a priority partner in the distribution, promotion and delivery of EIT InnoEnergy courses through the EBA.

The platform currently offers courses on topics related to technology, business and innovation in the battery and hydrogen sector.

However the company still has hurdles to overcome in getting permits for its ambitious plans.

If Infinity Lithium can clear those hurdles and progress its half a billion-dollar project, the Perth minnow could be muscling into a potentially huge lithium battery market in Europe.

 

Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@businessnews.com.au

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