Global battery materials and technology company EV Metals Group (EVM), which has offices in Australia, the UK and Saudi Arabia, announced has that its Saudi subsidiary EV Metals Arabia Company for Industry (EVM Arabia) has signed agreements for the allocation of 127 hectares of land from the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu (RCJY) and a gas and power allocation from the Saudi Ministry of Energy.

The agreements support EVM’s planned 3.375-billion Saudi riyal ($899 million) integrated Battery Chemicals Complex at Yanbu Industrial City, which aims to position the Kingdom as a global midstream hub for the production of high purity chemicals required by electric vehicle and battery cell manufacturers, according to EVM’s press statement.

The investment agreement with RCJY, signed at Future Minerals Forum in Riyadh, follows the grant of an Environmental Permit to Construct by RCJY effective from 2 January 2023.

Construction of the complex is scheduled to commence in the third quarter of 2023.

EVM Arabia has also received a gas and power allocation from Ministry of Energy, the statement said. The gas allocation is equivalent to a daily standard amount of 6,240,000 cubic feet. This will be used for the first two processing trains in the Lithium Chemicals Plant to produce high purity lithium hydroxide monohydrate (LHM).

Mohammad Bajba, Managing Director and CEO of EVM Arabia said: “We recognise and thank both the Royal Commission and Ministry of Energy for their support, as we continue to build a fully integrated global battery materials business.”

“Our Battery Chemicals Complex is strategically located to serve demand for high purity chemicals from electric vehicle and battery cell manufacturers both locally, and from target markets in Europe and North America looking for stable and transparent supply chains,” added Michael Naylor, Chairman of EVM Arabia and Managing Director and CEO of EVM Group.

The Battery Chemicals Complex comprises staged development and expansion of a Lithium Chemicals Plant and a Nickel Chemicals Plant. Commissioning of the first two trains of LHM will commence in 2026 and ramp to an annual production capacity of 50,000 tpa. This will be followed by an additional four trains, taking total production of the Lithium Chemicals Plant up to 150,000 tpa of LHM.

In February 2022, EV Metals Arabia had signed a Front-End Engineering Design Agreement (FEED) with Mustang and Faisal Jameel Al Hejailan Consulting Engineering Company, a subsidiary of Wood Plc, for the development of the first two processing trains for production of lithium hydroxide monohydrate (LHM) in the Lithium Chemicals Plant.

Under the FEED agreement, the scope of work will focus on the non process infrastructure, utilities and port infrastructure. The balance of FEED is being undertaken by Amec Foster Wheeler Australia in an integrated owners team with EVM.

The Battery Chemicals Complex will process intermediate feedstock of critical raw materials from Western Australia to produce high purity chemicals containing lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese and other metals for downstream production of Cathode Active Materials (CAM).

In 2023, EVM will accelerate exploration of critical minerals in the Kingdom through its subsidiary RIWAQ Al Mawarid for Mining to develop a localised Saudi supply chain for the Battery Chemicals Complex. RIWAQ has been granted 11 exploration licenses covering 1,093 square kilometres and has 142 applications for exploration licenses with an area of 11,350 square kilometres in process, which have identified or potential for critical minerals containing lithium, nickel, cobalt, copper, platinum group metals and rare earth elements.

(Writing by SA Kader; Editing by Anoop Menon)