Imerys to open a French lithium mine, aiming to develop into the most important provider to the European Union

French firm Imerys introduced plans on Monday to develop into Europe’s main provider of lithium with a mining mission in central France in a bid to make electrical automobiles broadly obtainable, resulting in a “white gold” rush for the metallic.

Imerys mentioned the outcomes of surveys carried out on the Beauvoir mine within the Allier province in central France enable it to provide 34,000 tons of lithium hydroxide for at the very least 25 years from 2028 to energy about 700,000 electrical automobiles.

The announcement comes as European miners are dashing to launch home manufacturing of uncooked supplies, a vital part of electrical automotive manufacturing, at the moment sourced nearly totally from exterior the bloc.

Electrical automobiles are a mainstay of EU plans to chop emissions, and the union is making an attempt to cut back dependence on battery provides from Asia by way of initiatives with carmakers and battery specialists in Europe.

Throughout a tour of the Paris Motor Present final week, French President Emmanuel Macron informed the monetary every day Les Echos that his administration needs to make electrical automobiles “accessible to all”.

Macron then proceeded to announce a collection of measures to allow households to buy electrical automobiles.

Because the European Union seeks to ban the sale of automobiles with combustion engines from 2035, France is making an attempt to section out fossil gasoline automobiles.

Whereas this step is seen as a vital step on the trail to the power transition, it additionally poses a major problem: It is going to require enormous quantities of metals wanted to fabricate batteries, particularly lithium.

>> Learn extra: Europe joins ‘white gold’ rush to purchase lithium and faces power transition problem

Nearly all the necessary minerals at the moment come from exterior the continent, with China dominating the worldwide provide chain. Lithium suppliers on the planet additionally embody Australia and Argentina.

Since 2015, lithium manufacturing – often known as “white gold” – has tripled worldwide, reaching 100,000 tons per yr by 2021, in accordance with the Worldwide Vitality Company.

“Lithium and uncommon earths will quickly be extra necessary than oil and gasoline,” European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen mentioned final month, including that mass demand for uncommon earths alone would improve fivefold by 2030.

A number of miners are exploring home European lithium initiatives together with Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic.

French Imery competitor, Iramit, is exploring a mission within the Alsace area.

The French mission will embody development expenditures of round one billion euros, Emres mentioned, including that the money value of the lithium mission is estimated at round 7-9 euros per kilo.

The Beauvoir website has been producing kaolin for ceramics for the reason that late nineteenth century.

In Serbia, the native mining mission confronted stiff opposition from the native inhabitants.

(France 24 with Reuters)

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