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New partnership set to revolutionise lithium production

We’re pleased to announce that Reed Advanced Materials (RAM), a 30:70 co-owned company between Mineral Resources and project developer Neometals, has signed a co-operation agreement with Portugal’s largest chemical manufacturer Bondalti.

The agreement will see RAM and Bondalti evaluate opportunities to commercialise RAM’s ELi lithium  process for use in electric vehicle batteries.

ELi radically reduces the requirement for, and transport of, the reagents that are used to treat lithium brine, meaning the process has a lower carbon footprint and costs less than conventional, carbon-intensive methods.

Under the terms of the agreement RAM and Bondalti will:

  • Co-fund construction and operation of a pilot plant at Bondalti’s existing chlor-alkali operations in Estarreja, Portugal, which share significant processing commonalities with the ELi process
  • Complete a Front End Engineering and Design Study for a refinery in Estarreja, if satisfied with the results from the pilot plant
  • Use the findings from the evaluation phase, which will take place over 18 months, to determine the viability of a 50:50 joint venture to construct and operate a lithium refinery at Bondalti’s Portuguese operations

The proposed refinery would be the first commercial operation to use RAM’s Eli process, which has been developed over the past eight years. The goal is to establish a competitive and reliable method of large-scale lithium hydroxide and carbonate production to support efforts to decarbonise the lithium-ion battery supply chain.

A potential gamechanger for the lithium industry, it’s just one of the ways Mineral Resources is applying innovation to increase sustainability and efficiency and deliver low-cost solutions across the mining value chain.

For more information read Neometals’ ASX release.