One of Europe's largest lithium mines to open in France to supply electric car industry

AFP - [email protected] • 24 Oct, 2022 Updated Mon 24 Oct 2022 10:20 CEST
One of Europe's largest lithium mines to open in France to supply electric car industry
An electric car charging in Lille, northern France. Photo by DENIS CHARLET / AFP

Industrial metals firm Imerys said on Monday it plans to open one of Europe's largest lithium mines in central France by 2027 to help support the continent's move towards electric vehicles.


France's Imerys said its surveys had confirmed sufficient concentrations and quantities of lithium at the site in the central Allier region to produce 34,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide per year from 2028, enough to equip 700,000 electric vehicles annually.

Lithium is a key component of batteries for electric vehicles.

Europe mines and processes little of the mineral, however, raising questions about whether it is trading dependence on crude oil for lithium as it phases out the sale of cars with internal combustion engines by 2035.


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Imerys said the mine will "increase Europe's industrial sovereignty at a time when car and battery manufacturers are heavily dependent on imported lithium, which is a key element in the energy transition".

The approximately one-billion-euro project will mine lithium underground to limit environmental damage on the surface and meet responsible mining standards.

Imerys said it aims for the project to produce lithium with less than half of the CO2 emissions of typical existing hard rock lithium operations by using an electric mining fleet, low carbon transportation options and low carbon electricity.

The mine is expected to operate for 25 years.


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