European Union’s largest lithium mining projects

Imerys, the world leader in mineral-based specialty solutions for the industry, announces the launch of a landmark lithium exploitation project (“the EMILI Project”) at its Beauvoir site (Allier département of France), which has been producing kaolin for ceramics since the late 19th century. Upon successful completion, the project would contribute to the French and European Union’s energy transition ambitions. It would also 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 results of surveys carried out confirm that the deposit has very attractive concentrations and quantities of lithium. Imerys aims to produce 34,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide per year from 2028, making the Group a leading supplier to the European battery market and a key player in the global lithium industry. This project is a response to the challenges introduced by the energy transition: it offers a long-term solution that addresses Europe’s decarbonization ambitions while also increasing French and European sovereignty by reducing dependency on imports. Lithium – a key raw material and component for Li-ion batteries – was identified as critical by the European Commission in 2020. Its consumption is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years.The project aims at strengthening Imerys’ leadership and expertise in Li-ion battery components and complete its product offering, which includes carbon black and synthetic graphite at its production sites in Willebroek (Belgium) and Bodio (Switzerland).

Imerys’ Emili lithium project is a crucial milestone in the Group’s strategic shift towards developing its portfolio of specialty minerals businesses focusing on sustainable energy.

According to initial assessments, the project would reach a production target of 34,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide per year for at least 25 years. It would be one of the European Union’s largest lithium mining projects and could, once fully operational, equip the equivalent of 700,000 electric vehicles with lithium-ion batteries.

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