Infinity Lithium Corporation Ltd’s (ASX:INF) (FRA:3PM) San José Project in Spain has been further strengthened by ongoing support from EIT InnoEnergy – an independent European Union (EU) body responsible for the industrial development program of the European Battery Alliance.
EIT InnoEnergy CEO Diego Pavia told Spanish news outlet HOY that the project was “integral for Europe and Spain”.
Pavia said: “Today, the fact that lithium is not being extracted or refined in Europe causes strategic dependence on other markets.”
He also highlighted the critical importance of carbon emissions and sustainability following the recently announced green battery standards to be implemented in the EU.
San José is a fully integrated project that will utilise a hard rock lithium feedstock and produce battery-grade lithium hydroxide on-site, in Spain, and serve Europe’s lithium-ion battery value chain that will require vast quantities of product.
Beacon for investment in Extremadura
Development of one of the EU’s flagship projects provides the Extremadura region of Spain with a unique yet time-critical opportunity to capture multiple segments of the lithium-ion battery value chain.
Pavia sees an immense opportunity for the area and said that the San José Lithium Project had the potential to act as a beacon for investment in lithium-ion battery activity in Extremadura and the locality of Cáceres.
He said: “If Extremadura wants to become a relevant player, [it] will have to facilitate and accelerate mining projects such as San José de Valdeflórez.
“[It’s] a unique opportunity to diversify the economy and generate high-skilled employment.
“Extremadura can undoubtedly become a European benchmark in the battery sector.”
Opportunity to benefit from Green Deal
The public acknowledgement and support from EIT InnoEnergy align with rapidly progressing EU policies promoting net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and recovery funding under the EU Green Deal.
Pavia said that in a few years the current footprint of CO2 emissions from the transport of lithium would not be acceptable by European industrial customers.
“The San José de Valdeflórez project can be a pioneering initiative, because it combines extraction and refining and for the latter proposes an innovative environmentally sustainable process.”
Pavia said that Cáceres (and region of Extremadura) had an advantage over their competitors, with the world-class lithium deposit and abundant solar energy infrastructure – “but time is of the essence”.
He said: “Let us not forget that there are other regions in Europe also with lithium and appetite to play a relevant role in the battery sector, and some are already moving forward with a firm pace.
“There is still room for more projects today, but the time to act is now.”
Ongoing EIT InnoEnergy support
EIT InnoEnergy has already demonstrated support for Infinity’s San José with the June 2020 direct financial investment in the company, committing to further support and to facilitate funding for San José through to completion.
Pavia said that their support was not only a statement of intent, but it was already a reality.
He said: “The Cáceres project is of very relevant strategic importance because raw materials are one of the weakest links in the value chain and there are not many deposits in Europe.
“[The people of Extremadura] will be able to count on the support and collaboration of the European Battery Alliance and EIT InnoEnergy.”
The project continues to advance with test-work well underway at Dorfner Anzaplan’s facilities in Germany, and Infitinty Lithium [and the people of Cáceres] have secured a major ally in their quest to attract further investment to the region.