Drive to Bypass China in Lithium Refining Grows in Australia

  • In Business
  • 2022-11-28 05:21:03Z
  • By Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Pilbara Minerals Ltd., one of Australia's biggest lithium producers, plans to build a demonstration plant in Western Australia capable of refining the material that's key to the booming global battery metals market.

Most Read from Bloomberg

  • Next Covid-19 Strain May be More Dangerous, Lab Study Shows

  • Ukraine's Victories May Become a Problem for the US

  • The Treasury Market's Big Recession Trade Is Gathering Momentum

The pilot plant would process Pilbara Minerals' hard-rock ore into lithium salt near the company's Pilgangoora Project in Western Australia, in a joint venture with Australia's Calix Ltd. that uses the latter's patented "calcination" technology.

It's part of a push by Canberra to boost the country's onshore lithium refining industry, responding to demand from carmakers in the US and Europe for battery metals that bypass China. Australia is the world's biggest producer of the metal with almost half global supply, but currently exports no refined lithium chemicals.

Read more: Australia Flags More Scrutiny of Critical Mineral Investors

A growing number of lithium producers are moving into refining in Australia, including US company Albemarle Corp., China's Tianqi Lithium Corp., and Wesfarmers Ltd. Most aim to produce battery-grade lithium hydroxide, which could be sold to battery manufacturers ready to use, but none are yet operating at commercial scale.

Pilbara Minerals plans to manufacture a less-refined, easier-to-produce chemical that would be more durable than lithium hydroxide, but would need further processing before it could be used in batteries.

A final investment decision on the demonstration plant is targeted for the first half of 2023, the two companies said in a joint regulatory filing Monday, adding they were in discussions with the Australian government for a A$20 million ($13.4 million) grant. If successful, the technology could be scaled up to commercial levels and potentially licensed to third parties, they said.

Pilbara Minerals' shares closed down 0.9% in Sydney on Monday after dropping 17% over the previous two weeks.

(Updates with closing share price move in final paragraph.)

Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek

  • Apple's Reliance on China Grows Perilous With Chaos in iPhone City

  • Professor Behind Effective Altruism on What SBF's Fall Means

  • The Robot Tractors Are Coming, Just as Soon as We Crush a Few Bugs

  • Elon Musk Keeps Quoting Elon Musk About His Genius

  • Crypto's Crash Is Helping a Few Couples Rekindle Their Relationships

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.


More Related News

Stock Bull Pain Threshold Swells to Pandemic Size in New Market Run-Up
Stock Bull Pain Threshold Swells to Pandemic Size in New Market Run-Up

(Bloomberg) -- Anyone who lived through the 2020 bull market knows: investors, especially of the retail ilk, can stomach a lot of pain. However dark is the...

Amazon Projects Lackluster Sales on Slower Cloud Unit Growth
Amazon Projects Lackluster Sales on Slower Cloud Unit Growth

(Bloomberg) -- Inc. projected lackluster revenue in the current quarter, worrying investors that the company's main e-commerce business has...

Meta Evokes Big Tech
Meta Evokes Big Tech's Glory Days With Biggest Surge Since 2013

(Bloomberg) -- A spectacular turnaround in Meta Platforms Inc.'s stock is bringing back flashes of Big Tech heydays.Most Read from BloombergMerck Covid Drug ...

Bankman-Fried Wins Texas Ruling as States Go After Lost Funds
Bankman-Fried Wins Texas Ruling as States Go After Lost Funds
  • US
  • 2023-02-02 17:31:56Z

(Bloomberg) -- Embattled FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has staved off a case alleging he broke Texas securities laws, after a judge ruled that the state...

Meta Shares Soar Most Since 2013 on Zuckerberg
Meta Shares Soar Most Since 2013 on Zuckerberg's Vision

(Bloomberg) -- Meta Platforms Inc. is headed for its biggest single-day gain in almost a decade after Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg laid out plans ...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


  • stumble guys
    (2022-11-30 04:41:20Z)

    This is a great post. I like this topic. This site has lots of advantages. I found many interesting things on this site. It helps me in many ways. Thanks for posting this again


Top News: Business