The agreement is with Ercros SA, Spain’s leading basic chemicals producer, and will allow Infinity to access essential production inputs sourced within Spain.
Being able to source the chemicals domestically supports the company’s strategy to minimise its carbon footprint by limiting transport and CO2 emissions.
This also prioritises collaboration with domestic companies, supporting the industry and generating growth and employment.
Infinity’s CEO and managing director Ryan Parkin said: “Automakers have already announced they need to be able to maintain visibility of their entire supply chain, including mining and lithium chemical activities, and ensure their suppliers reduce carbon emissions and the impact on the environment.
“Through being strategically located in Spain with mining and processing lithium chemical activities on site, Infinity is in a unique position to limit transport and CO2 emissions.
“However, and similarly to automakers, we also need to be able to look at our own supply chain and make sure we limit our carbon footprint, hence our decision to source our reagents domestically.”
San Jose is a strategically significant European asset retaining an ongoing advantageous sustainability and carbon emission profile.
In maintaining a continued focus on the lithium-ion battery supply chain carbon footprint, it
remains a priority to partner with a domestic supplier of sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) or potassium hydroxide (KOH) to meet its processing requirements and execute a product offtake.
Infinity is undertaking technical works as it progresses towards completing a pre-feasibility Study (PFS) to produce lithium hydroxide on site.
The studies and cost benefit analysis will highlight the quantum of caustic soda or KOH required to be used in the conversion process in the production of battery-grade lithium chemicals.
There is increasing onus within the European Union on the availability of lithium raw materials and lithium chemicals in Europe to support the burgeoning electric vehicle market.
OEMs are also sharpening their focus on all parts of the value chain, including the carbon footprint of suppliers.
Parkin said: “Developing the lithium-ion battery supply chain and electric mobility in Spain is crucial for a country which is the second largest automaker in Europe.
“More recently Volkswagen’s CEO noted that it does not make sense to manufacture electric vehicles in Spain without battery production facilities in country, and Infinity is ideally placed to participate in activities within Spain and the broader EU landscape.
“Volkswagen also recently announced that it has set itself the goal of promoting lithium production in Europe in the medium term.
“The lithium-ion battery supply chain starts with lithium where Spain has the world-class San Jose deposit, providing a unique opportunity to maintain a competitive position and reduce dependence on other regions.”
Ercros has a network of caustic soda tanks in the Iberia region and in order to control its carbon footprint through its production process, Infinity will prioritise the purchase of domestically produced reagents.
Reagents a significant ingredient
Reagents constitute about 25% of the operating cost of lithium hydroxide production and it is expected that San Jose will consume about 160,000 tonnes of sodium hydroxide over the life of mine.
Ercros’ commercial director Carles Arias said: “Ercros is pleased to participate in Europe’s move towards electric mobility and lower CO2 emissions by supporting Infinity’s operations and supply key reagents for the production of lithium chemicals that can be used directly in batteries.”
Infinity Lithium intends to mine the hard rock mica resource at San Jose and develop processing facilities to provide what would currently be the sole European mine-to-end-product lithium hydroxide operation.