Rock Tech Lithium breaks ground on Guben converter; battery-grade LiOH for Mercedes-Benz battery suppliers starting in 2026

Canada-based Rock Tech Lithium officially broke ground for its lithium conversion plant in Guben, Germany, from which it will supply Mercedes-Benz with battery-grade lithium hydroxide (LiOH) starting in 2026 (starting with a qualification period). Lithium hydroxide monohydrate (LiOH⋅H2O) is a crucial precursor for the production of lithium-ion battery cathode material.

The Guben converter will have a capacity of 24,000tpa—enough to support about 500,000 EVs. The two companies signed an agreement last year for the supply of Mercedes-Benz battery partners with high-grade lithium hydroxide refined in the new Rock Tech plant covering an amount sufficient for around 150,000 fully electric vehicles.

The strategic partnership between Mercedes-Benz and Rock Tech was announced at the German-Canadian summit at the end of August 2022 in Toronto following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Mercedes-Benz AG and Canada. It paves the way for deeper cooperation across all stages of the automotive value chain, focusing on natural resources development.

Under the supply agreement, the two companies will cooperate to create a roadmap for achieving net carbon-neutral production of lithium hydroxide by the end of 2030. Furthermore, lithium hydroxide supplied by Rock Tech must be sourced from mining sites audited by the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA).

Mercedes-Benz is deepening its vertical integration of drive technologies in Germany and Europe:

  • The Mercedes-Benz battery plants in Untertuerkheim (Hedelfingen & Bruehl), Kamenz and Jawor (Poland) and the announced sites in Sindelfingen and Koelleda will play a key role in the company’s EV ramp-up.
  • The battery cells will be supplied by the European factories of the Automotive Cells Company (ACC). Mercedes-Benz AG has taken an equal stake in ACC along with Stellantis and Total Energies with the goal of building a European battery champion with global ambitions. The battery cells will be manufactured at three locations in Europe: Douvrain, Kaiserslautern and Termoli (Link).
  • At the heart of its Untertuerkheim plant, Mercedes-Benz is building an eCampus as a center of competence for research and development of new battery and battery cell generations.
  • The plants in Untertuerkheim and Sebes (Romania) will produce electric drive units for new MMA and MB.EA platform models starting in 2024.
  • The Mercedes-Benz plant in Berlin will produce high-performance electric motors for the future AMG.EA platform from the middle of this decade.
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