The plant will be operated as part of a joint venture 50.1% owned by Eramet, which will assume operational management, while its partner Tsingshan (49.9%) will finance the construction of the plant.
“It makes it possible to go fast and share the risks. It’s a win-win,” Eramet CEO Christel Bories explained during a conference call with journalists.
Eramet and Tsingshan are already partners in Indonesia in a nickel mine and processing plant.
The two groups are aiming for an annual production of 24,000 tonnes of lithium carbon equivalent (LCE), a level that should be reached in the second half of 2025, according to Christel Bories.
The project is expected to generate an annual EBITDA (results before taxes) of 165 million dollars when the production goal is reached, he added.
The construction of this lithium plant is part of Eramet’s strategy to become a reference player in metals for the energy transition.
Lithium is used in particular for the manufacture of batteries that equip electric cars.
Christel Bories said Eramet was in talks with car and battery manufacturers in Europe to sell lithium.
These discussions include in particular the two major French automakers, he said, referring to Stellantis and Renault.