Infinity Lithium Corporation Ltd (ASX:INF) (FRA:3PM) is aligned with Europe’s push towards a self-sufficient lithium-ion battery supply chain, a push that has gained momentum during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through its San Jose Lithium Project in Spain, INF aims to help fill a previously identified gap in Europe’s integrated battery industry strategy – supply of raw materials and conversion capacity from within the continent.
This would reduce Europe’s reliance on outside sources, including China, to feed its growing electric vehicle and green energy intentions.
Need for self-reliance reinforced
Restrictions brought about by COVID-19 have reinforced the need for future self-reliance on the continent, not only in the battery chain but all other supply chains.
This need for self-sufficiency is being increasingly espoused by many within Europe, including European Commission (EC) vice-president Maros Sefcovic, who is also leader of the European Battery Alliance (EBA).
Focus on ‘green’ solutions
The EC has been heavily focused on renewables and electric vehicles for a couple of years but COVID-19 and increasing desire from the public for ‘green’ solutions is driving a greater push.
In a tweet on Earth Day, the EC stated, “the European Green Deal is essential for Europe’s future”.
It said: “As the world continues to recover from the coronavirus outbreak, we know global warming will not slow down.
“We will keep investing in renewable energy, clean transport, sustainable food and nature restoration. It will be even more important than before.”
The European Green Deal is seen by the European Commission as the motir for Europe’s recovery after the pandemic, providing an opportunity to rebuild economies differently through investment in clean mobility and renewable energy.
The head of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Fatih Birol, said to Reuters that global efforts to minimise the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic presented a historic opportunity to scale up the technologies needed to speed a transition to cleaner energy. He singled out lithium-ion batteries as a technology for rapid take-off.
“Marshall plan needed”
During the European Parliament’s recent plenary on the COVID-19 crisis, Sefcovic along with EC President Ursula von der Leyen stressed the importance of self-reliance.
Sefcovic said: “We need a Marshall plan for the future of Europe, which will be sustainable, clean, digital, and as many of you said, more resilient.”
“Only in such way, can we develop our future European destiny. We simply have to bounce forward and use the potential of the single market.
“We have to take maximum benefits and advantages from the twin green and digital revolution. And we have to learn the lesson of this crisis and build a more resilient and stronger Europe.”
Need to diversify value chains
He said: “We also have to look for ways to diversify the global value chains, not to be simply dependent on one single country or company.
“And we also have to decide, after a proper analysis, what we need to produce here in Europe, just to be sure to have it when we will need it most.
“Therefore, I think that, as all of you said, we need a more ambitious, a more strategic and a more united approach
“We need to make sure that we would prevent future crises and that we will be bouncing forward into the new economy with high-quality jobs.”
Sefcovic concluded: “What we need is a Europe which should be different, which should be more patriotic, more democratic and stronger.”
The European Investment Bank is another moving along a similar path as its policies shift away from funding fossil fuel projects.
Push for inclusion on critical list
There is also a push for lithium to be included on Europe’s list of critical raw materials, a move which is successful would be positive for Infinity Lithium.
The company is strengthening its links with the EBA and other EC initiatives due primarily to the strong commitment and drive of executive director Corporate Strategy Vincent Ledoux-Pedailles and his participation in various conferences, forums, workshops and other events throughout Europe.
Positive lithium outlook
While encouraged by the strong statements emanating from Europe, the company is also buoyed by the strong outlook for lithium. European demand for lithium hydroxide will reach critical levels in the mid-2020s as the adoption of electric vehicles accelerates in line with EU policies.
It believes that lithium stocks are undervalued due in part to the short-term implications of a more constrained market (ie low base) and the industry’s heavy, but changing, reliance on China.
Infinity Lithium is looking forward to benefiting from the positive mid-term and long-term projections for lithium hydroxide in Europe.