Australian mining company Neometals has entered into a deal with Indian power conglomerate Manikaran Power to jointly fund a feasibility study to set up India’s first lithium refinery. The refinery, if established, would process ore from the Mount Marion mine in Western Australia to produce battery-grade material for electric cars.
The study is projected to take between 18-and-24 months and could lead to an ultimate investment decision in first half of the year 2021.
“Neometals and Manikaran hold a common belief in the future demand for lithium driven by the electrification of transport and storage of renewable energy… Given India’s growth projections for electric vehicle and lithium battery manufacturing capacity, this opportunity to partner in India’s first domestic lithium development and potentially realise value from downstream processing our offtake option from Mt Marion is compelling.”Neometals Managing Director Chris Reed said.
“Manikaran has significant on-the-ground presence and commercial standing in India to assist with site location, regulations, access to finance, utilities and reagents, and is part of a group of companies with broad competencies that enhance their value proposition as partners.”Reed further added.
If the India/Australia lithium project continues it will be on a 50/50 joint venture basis with the Australian company providing its skills in mining and early-stage processing of lithium ore, sometimes called spodumene.
The Indian company will take the lead in financing at least half the capital cost as well as securing regulatory approvals, Indian Government subsidies that might be available and site selection.
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