Infinity Lithium Corporation Ltd (ASX:INF) (FRA:3PM) is strengthening its collaboration with the move to create a self-sufficient European lithium-ion battery value chain and its San Jose Lithium Project in Spain is set to play a key role.
The company is regularly engaging with key executives in Europe’s value chain in which the European Battery Alliance (EBA) is a core focus area.
This is part of a European Union (EU) recovery plan intended to create up to 1 million jobs, growth for the continent with €180 billion in new cash allocated and contribution to the EU Green Deal objectives.
Company part of EBA presentation
Infinity’s latest collaborative initiative is being part of this week’s EBA presentation to vice-president of the European Commission (EC) Maroš Šefčovič and European Investment Bank (EIB) vice-president Andrew McDowell.
The presentation comes as the EBA and EC accelerate focus on the EU to become self-sufficient in the lithium industry.
In an endorsement of Infinity’s strategy, Šefčovič said during the EC and EIB press conference: “We are making significant progress to become self-sufficient in [the] lithium industry.”
Role in battery supply chain
The San Jose project maintains a key position within the European lithium-ion battery supply chain in the sustainable supply of essentially lithium chemicals required to support Europe’s burgeoning electric vehicle industry.
In line with the increasingly important requirement to address the EU’s essential critical lithium raw materials and lithium chemicals, Šefčovič said that the EU through the EBA will: “create a dedicated alliance aimed at critical raw materials including lithium”.
He said: “Europe will need 18 times more lithium by 2030 compared to its current supply.”
Not enough extracted in Europe
Šefčovič noted that “raw materials have been extracted in a sustainable way”, and despite the fact the EU has solid lithium reserves, the EU does not extract enough of it in Europe.
“If we want to have a good traceability and know about the sustainability of the product we have to extract and process it here,” he added.
As well as the EC and EIB vice-presidents, the EBA presentation was given to representatives throughout the lithium-ion battery value chain, including Vincent Ledoux-Pedailles from Infinity Lithium.
Other representatives included the head of Group M&A, Investment Advisory at Volkswagen, CTO of EDF, CEO of SAFT, CEO of Northvolt, CEO of Forsee Power, CIO of Schneider Electric, head of Business Management at BASF, senior vice-president of Umicore and CEO of Orano.
For the European Commission and EIB official press conference refer to the following link: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-191346.
EC warns of challenges
Infinity Lithium’s strategy has also received a boost from a recent EC warning that the EU faced major challenges to secure supplies of critical raw materials including lithium, cobalt and rare-earth metals used in high-tech industrial goods.
In a Financial Times report, EU internal market commissioner Thierry Breton said that to meet climate goals, industries would need 60 times more lithium by 2050, as well as 15 times more cobalt.
He also said that demand for rare earths used in permanent magnets required in electric vehicles, robots or wind generators could increase 10-fold.
Although there were lithium resources and reserves on the continent, in the article Breton said Europe was 100% reliant on imports of lithium, with 78% of supplies coming from Chile alone.
Even when there were quantities of these raw materials being mined, he said there were gaps in Europe’s capacity to process, recycle and separate lithium and rare earths and mined products then had to leave the continent for further processing.
These statements are part of an EC report which will also highlight a lack of investment in domestic exploration and mining while also stating that Europe needs to forge a strategic trade agenda to build sustainable partnerships with key countries including Australia and Canada.
Breton stated that while the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions had highlighted the need to bolster the resilience of critical industrial supplies ranging from pharmaceutical ingredients to raw materials used in advanced batteries, this was an issue that was not going to go away.