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January 17, 2022

EV Metals Group launches the Australian Lithium Alliance

New alliance with Saudi Arabian connections aims to compete with Chinese companies mining lithium in Australia.

By Graeme Roberts

EV Metals Group (EVM) today launched the Australian Lithium Alliance, a strategic initiative to partner with Australian companies to accelerate exploration, development, mining, processing and production of lithium minerals.

The initiative will be implemented by Australian Lithium Alliance (ALA), a wholly owned subsidiary of EVM, through joint ventures and off-take agreements as an alternative to Chinese companies that currently dominate the purchase of spodumene concentrate from Australia to supply chemicals processing companies in China.

EVM is building a global battery chemicals and technology business with the development of the claimed world’s first integrated Battery Chemicals Complex (BCC) at Yanbu Industrial City in Saudi Arabia. It will produce high purity chemicals containing lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese and other metals required for high energy density cathode active materials used in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and renewable energy storage.

EVM chairman Abdullah Busfar said in a statement “The [alliance] is a strategic global initiative to secure the upstream integration of supply chains for critical raw materials required to fast track the development of the BCC in [Saudi Arabia].”

The BCC is being developed as a midstream and downstream global hub for production of high purity chemicals and cathode active materials for domestic and export sales to original equipment manufacturers and battery cell manufacturers in growth markets in Europe and North America seeking stable, long term, independent and transparent supply chains as structural deficits emerge in lithium after 2025, Busfar added.

EVM is in a claimed unique position with the development of two processing trains requiring initially 330,000 tpa of spodumene concentrate containing 6% lithium oxide (SC6) to produce 50,000 tpa of lithium hydroxide monohydrate (LHM) in the lithium chemicals plant at the battery chemicals complex in Saudi Arabia. BCC has been designed for expansion with a further two trains requiring a further 330,000 tpa of SC6 for the production a further 50,000 tpa of LHM.

EVM launched the formation of the Australian Lithium Alliance with the release of details of an agreement in the form of an earn-in joint venture and lithium rights deed (agreement) between EVM, ALA, Zenith Minerals and Black Dragon Energy, a wholly subsidiary of ZNC.

The agreement will accelerate the exploration for and, if successful, the development, mining, processing and production of lithium minerals from the strategically located Split Rocks and Waratah Well Tenements under the Zenith Lithium Joint Venture.

EVM will also enter into a life of mine offtake agreement for all production of SC6 from all lithium projects developed by the Zenith Lithium Joint Venture.

Under the agreement, lithium minerals include ‘lithium (in any and all forms) and all other metals including tantalum, caesium, all rare earth elements, nickel, cobalt, copper and scandium in the Tenements but specifically excludes gold, silver and other precious minerals however they may occur’.

Michael Naylor, managing director of EVM said: “The aim is for the [alliance] is to build the [JV] into the largest producer of lithium minerals in the form of spodumene in Australia.

“The agreement with ZNC is an exemplary working model. [The alliance] will fund all expenditure for completion of a feasibility study for the development of a lithium minerals project to earn an interest of 60% in the [JV] and all [projects] acquired by the [JV].

“EVM will fund ZNC’s share of all capital expenditure for the development and commissioning of a [project] which will be repaid by ZNC from its share of [lithium products] on the same terms as project finance secured by EVM.”

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