ASX-listed Lithium Australia says its wholly owned subsidiary and cathode powders developer, VSPC has produced lithium manganese ferro phosphate cathode powder of “advanced and consistent quality” for use in lithium-ion batteries. Some of the lithium manganese ferro phosphate product will be made available next month to battery manufacturers for commercial testing focused on the electric vehicle market.
ASX-listed Lithium Australia says its wholly owned subsidiary and cathode materials developer, VSPC has produced lithium manganese ferro phosphate cathode powder of “advanced and consistent quality” for use in lithium-ion batteries. Some of the lithium manganese ferro phosphate product will be made available next month to battery manufacturers for commercial testing focused on the electric vehicle market.
The group’s proprietary processing technologies allow the direct synthesis of lithium manganese ferro phosphate from waste spodumene without the need to make lithium hydroxide or lithium carbonate, Lithium Australia says.
VSPC has extensively researched and ultimately developed lithium manganese ferro phosphate, a high-capacity lithium-ion battery cathode powder that does not contain nickel or cobalt.
Lithium manganese ferro phosphate has an energy density similar to that of the more common, nickel-based lithium-ion batteries, however, it is claimed to be cheaper, safer and longer lasting than those nickel variants.
Lithium Australia Managing Director, Adrian Griffin said: "In March of this year, for the first time, China's output of lithium ferro phosphate-type lithium-ion batteries eclipsed that of nickel-cobalt lithium-ion batteries. Worldwide there is a growing trend away from the use of nickel and cobalt in such batteries, a step in the right direction in terms of safety and the sustainability of the industry.”
“Lithium manganese ferro phosphate is poised to become the next generation of lithium-ion battery, which can make electric vehicles cheaper and safer but still with great range. The company's lithium manganese ferro phosphate is leading the way in this regard.”
Laboratory testing of the lithium manganese ferro phosphate produced at VSPC’s pilot plant and research and development facility in Brisbane has demonstrated quality and consistency that has long eluded other researchers in the field, according to Lithium Australia.
The company says several VSPC clients will test its lithium manganese ferro phosphate in commercial-format lithium-ion batteries.
VSPC will also provide limited quantities of the lithium manganese ferro phosphate to battery manufacturers to enable them to put the alternative to nickel-based electric vehicle battery packs through its paces.
Lithium Australia explains that while just as safe as standard lithium ferro phosphate cells, higher-voltage lithium manganese ferro phosphate cells deliver more energy.
Last month the company released a robust pre-feasibility study on the proposed development of a lithium ferro phosphate cathode powders manufacturing facility in India using VSPC’s proprietary processing technology.
The Indian plant option is forecast in the PFS to generate average annual EBITDA of US$66 million and average annual free cash flow of US$56 million.
The financial projections are based on lithium ferro phosphate cathode powder production ramping up to nameplate capacity of 10,000 tonnes per annum in three years from a predicted start-up in October 2023.
Other key base-case PFS financial metrics include a net present value of US$253.4 million and an internal rate of return of 33 per cent, assuming an initial forecast operating life of 13 years.
CAPEX estimated to build the VSPC lithium ferro phosphate cathode powder plant in India is US$113.4 million split in two stages across three years, with capital payback expected in five years.
Lithium Australia says it intends proceeding with a definitive feasibility study immediately.
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