Notably, the operation would include the production of battery grade lithium hydroxide.
The study envisions a fully integrated hard rock lithium project from mining to battery-grade production of lithium hydroxide.
Demand for lithium hydroxide products in Europe
The decision by the company to shift the project’s focus from a lithium carbonate towards a lithium hydroxide output is consistent with the evolving battery market.
Infinity’s managing director Ryan Parkin said: “Infinity has been able to capitalise on evolving market conditions and this scoping study clearly demonstrates the significant advantages in the production of a higher value lithium chemical end product, lithium hydroxide.
“The evolution of cathode technologies used in higher density lithium-ion batteries has seen greater opportunities to capitalise on burgeoning electric vehicle demand for battery-grade lithium chemicals, and in particular leaves Infinity well placed to alleviate geographical supply-side risk of European cathode and battery producers.
“The scoping study demonstrates that the long-life San Jose Lithium Project has suitable production scale capable of providing a materially significant option for cathode producers to diversity within Europe, whilst the long mine and processing life aligns to many European nations’ targeted reduction in emissions and phase out of internal combustion engine vehicles."
Europe chasing behind China in the EV race
There is a wave of investment in Europe to support the development of electric cars including the construction of lithium-ion battery giga-factories as well as a number of cathode plants.
The European Union notes their intention to de-risk the lithium-ion battery supply through investment and developing domestic production.
Parkin added: “European automakers continue to launch large-scale electrification plans and the region is projected to become the second largest electric vehicle market in the world.
“The high margins and low operating costs environment benefit from a resource with a low strip ratio and economic benefits derived from processing variations aligned to lithium hydroxide production from hard rock sources.
Further upside from by-product credits yet to be valued
“There is further upside yet to be factored in through the potential to generate by-product credits, as currently the attractive economic outcomes detailed throughout the scoping study are deriving solely through the production of battery grade lithium hydroxide.”
Discussions continue to advance with strategic financiers, including global offtake companies.
The study confirms that the project's economic, financial and technical aspects are all robust.
It also highlights Infinity’s potential to become a significant, long-life, high margin lithium hydroxide producer located strategically in Western Europe.