Australian lithium exploration and development company Lepidico has announced the signing of an agreement with Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD), a subsidiary of AD Ports Group’s Industrial Cities & Free Zone cluster, to establish the first lithium production facility in the Middle East, utilising a first of its kind designed process.
Covering a land area of 57,000sqm, Lepidico plans to invest $95m for the chemical conversion plant in Abu Dhabi for an initial term of 25 years. The first phase of the facility will house clean-tech L-Max and LOH-Max process technologies.
The process extracts lithium and recovers valuable by-products from lithium-mica and phosphate minerals. As an eco-friendly, zero-waste facility, the residue, predominantly gypsum, will be repurposed for use in the construction industry.
The vertically-integrated Phase 1 Project comprises two small scale open-pit mines that will feed a mineral concentrator in Namibia, following which the lepidolite concentrate will be shipped to the facility being developed in KIZAD via Khalifa Port.
Abdullah Al Hameli, Head of Industrial Cities & Free Zone Cluster, AD Ports Group, said: “We are pleased to host an innovative and environmentally conscious company like Lepidico, which aims to establish the region’s first lithium production facility in the Middle East, located in KIZAD. The project is a critical enabler for developing an electric vehicle supply chain in the Middle East.”
Joe Walsh, Managing Director, Lepidico, said: “The signing of the agreement represents an important milestone in developing the first phase of the new chemical plant and enables critical path geotechnical, and infrastructure EPCM works to commence.
“In our endeavour to develop a sustainable lithium industry, we plan to integrate social, economic, environmental, and health and safety opportunities as part of the project design criteria and strive for a zero-waste process through our innovative and proprietary technologies. We look forward to working with AD Ports Group as we bring the lithium chemical industry to the UAE and wider Middle East Region.”