Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Lithium: Imerys will exploit lithium mine in France

 World leader in industrial minerals Imerys announced monday 24 october that in the french town of Echassières, writes Le Monde

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On Monday, October 24, the Imerys group, the world leader in industrial specialty minerals, announced the launch of a major lithium mining project in Echassières (central France). Since the end of the 19th century, this open-pit mine – named "de Beauvoir" after the former operating company and located on the edge of the Colettes forest on the border between the Allier and Puy-de-Dôme departments – has produced 25,000 to 30,000 tons of kaolin for ceramics every year.

Studies and core sampling predict the presence at a great depth of high concentrations of lithium hydroxide, a total of 1 million tonnes containing between 0.9% and 1% of oxide, confirming the estimates of the French Geological and Mining Research Bureau (BRGM). This deposit will enable 34,000 tons to be extracted over 25 years, making Imerys a leading supplier to the European market, with a capacity to equip 700,000 vehicles per year with lithium-ion batteries.

In addition to the studies already carried out for €30 million, the project will require a minimum investment of €1 billion, based on an estimated lithium production cost of €7-9 euros/kilo. Imerys considers this "very competitive, particularly on the European market, and sufficient to guarantee a return on investment in line with group guidelines."

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