Imerys, a French mining business, has disclosed plans to build a lithium mine in the heart of France. The company reportedly claims that it might play a key role in Europe’s search for crucial electric vehicle battery materials, as per Reuters.
“Imerys’ Emili project is a crucial milestone in the group’s strategic shift towards developing its portfolio of specialty minerals businesses focusing on sustainable energy,” the company said.
After Imerys revealed its ambition to become a key supplier to the European battery industry, its market shares increased on Monday.
Imery’s Emili project targets
On Monday, Emerys stated that the Emili project would be one of Europe’s biggest lithium mining projects. It aims to generate approximately 34,000 metric tons of lithium hydroxide per year at its Beauvoir site in Allier, central France.
The French company projected that the mine would start production in 2028 and continue to generate the desired amount for at least 25 years.
Additionally, it is claimed to be sufficient to supply the batteries for about 700,000 electric cars per year. It represents a large portion of the government’s goal to generate 2 million EVs annually in France by 2030.
CEO Alessandro Dazza stated, “the Emili project would provide a sustainable, competitive, domestic source of lithium supply for French and European carmakers.”
Needed capital for the Emili project
MarketWatch reported that approximately 1 billion euros ($983 million) in capital expenses were predicted to be required for the mine’s construction. Meanwhile, the production cash cost was estimated at 7-9 euros per kilo.
European Union’s stance on the Emili project
It is worth noting that the European Union’s objective to reduce carbon emissions relies heavily on electric vehicles. The union is attempting to rely less on Asian battery suppliers as part of the strategy.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen predicted last month that “lithium and rare earths will soon be more important than oil and gas.”
However, local opposition to new mining operations might arise. Furthermore, the EU currently discusses lithium classification as a hazardous material as it can hike project costs.
Nonetheless, the French government supported the project. If everything goes according to plan, the Emili project could significantly boost European industrial independence.