Lepidico, Australia’s vertically integrated lithium developer, is negotiating with the Abu Dhabi government for funding the $200 million chemical conversion plant in Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD), Joe Walsh, Managing Director, Lepidico revealed at the EU Namibia Business Forum.
“We are in negotiations with various departments at the Abu Dhabi government about strategic partnership and equity funding for the project”, he said.
On the upstream part, the company has completed a definitive feasibility study and appointed an engineering procurement and construction (EPC) consultant, who completed the front-end engineering and design (FEED) last year, he said.
“We're about 20 percent complete on detailed design and engineering, and are finalising the funding for the $63 million mine development and the flotation plant at the brownfield open-pit mines in Karibib, Namibia,” he said.
The vertically integrated phase one project will process ore from Namibia into lepidolite-rich concentrate and transport it to the UAE for chemical conversion into lithium hydroxide, which is then shipped to customers under a binding offtake agreement with Traxys.
Phase 1 output is estimated at between 4,000-5,000 tonnes per annum of nominal battery grade lithium product.
Walsh said Namibia could become a hub for imported concentrates as there are lithium micro rich pegmatites all around the Atlantic Theatre. “Having that critical mass makes a real difference, so we're establishing hubs in Abu Dhabi, Namibia and the EU.”
(Reporting by Sowmya Sundar; Editing by Anoop Menon)
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