Infinity Lithium Corporation Ltd’s (ASX:INF) flagship San José Lithium Project in Spain remains well-positioned to fulfil a critical role in the EU’s lithium-ion battery supply chain against a backdrop centred on the EU Green Deal, a net-zero carbon footprint by 2050 and an economy reliant on renewable energies.
In the company’s latest annual report, non-executive chairman Adrian Byass highlighted that the San Jose pre-feasibility study (PFS) for the production of essential battery-grade lithium chemicals not only delivered ‘outstanding’ project economics but a sustainable project aligned to evolving environmental and social requirements for Europe.
Growth within European ecosystem
He said: “The company continues to grow within the vast European ecosystem that is facilitating the development of a lithium-ion battery value chain through the European Battery Alliance (EBA).
“Infinity became the first lithium company to receive direct financial endorsement through this alliance and EIT InnoEnergy, with that has facilitated the advancement of technical works, and signals the start of a partnership that will see services provided from within their vast network in alignment with other European interests.
“The success of the European Battery Alliance has seen the launch of the European Raw Materials Alliance and recognition of lithium as a Critical Raw Material for the first time subsequent to the financial year-end.”
Project fact sheet.
Lithium hydroxide supply imbalance
Byass added that the momentum in Europe had placed San José at the forefront to benefit from the inevitable lithium hydroxide supply imbalance that was being driven by an insatiable appetite for electric vehicles.
“The strengthening lithium sector is benefiting from the impending mass adoption of electric vehicles and grid storage applications aligned to renewable energies, recognising the essential requirements to control downstream activities and the production of lithium chemicals that currently leave Europe exposed to offshore influences.
“Infinity is moving into the next stages of technical studies and evolving the corporate team, whilst placing further onus on localised activities in-country to complement our in-country resources.
"Our team has been busy during the financial year and delivered an outstanding pre-feasibility study, evolution of the board, strengthened capital position and critically, a first in the form of European support through EIT InnoEnergy.
“I am delighted with the progress that has been made in challenging times and believe the project is primed to benefit from the changes in global mindset.”
"Vast lithium industry experience"
On October 8 the company appointed highly credentialled lithium expert Jon Starink as an executive director and chief technical officer.
Starink, a chartered professional engineer, chartered scientist and chemist has extensive credentials in providing engineering, process design and process audit consultancy services in the delivery of leading hard-rock lithium mining and downstream integration of lithium chemicals projects.
With more than 17 years based in London and as a Dutch and Australian national, he brings European and Middle Eastern corporate and professional networks to the company.
Starink has experience in the development of hard-rock lithium projects, including the recent modernisation of downstream lithium chemicals conversion plants.
Byass said: "I am excited with this timely addition to our executive team and I look forward to working with Jon as we utilise his vast lithium industry experience and benefit from his leadership in technical roles."
Advanced European Union activities
During the year, the company has advanced activities in the European Union which included hosting and presenting to major participants in the European and Spanish lithium-ion battery chain.
Infinity hosted Spanish national institutional representatives and EU delegates, including the EBA and European Investment Bank (EIB), in a series of meetings in Madrid.
Continued dialogue with the EBA and EIB saw the advancement of strategic collaboration opportunities and Infinity was invited to present San José at the EBA Stakeholders Meeting, serving as an example of a project that could be supported by the EBA’s new Battery Investment Platform.
The EIB forecasted that the platform would facilitate approximately €20 billion from its inception through to 2023 for mining, refining and recycling projects aligned to the EBA’s ‘EBA250’ target, representing €250 billion lithium-ion battery market developments in the EU by 2025.
Infinity also received recognition from the European Commission who declared support for EU lithium projects and specifically for battery raw materials projects that focus on the process of lithium extraction and conversion to support the EU’s automotive industry transition to electric mobility.
Financial endorsement from EIT InnoEnergy
In March 2020, Infinity announced that it had executed a non-binding MOU with EIT InnoEnergy which contemplated multi-stage equity investment and a collaboration agreement relating to the project.
In June 2020 binding agreements were executed to this end through a project agreement and Value-Added Services Agreement.
Under the project agreement, Infinity became the first lithium company to receive direct financial endorsement from EIT InnoEnergy through the BIP.