Rock Tech Lithium signs MoU with Romanian Government for second lithium hydroxide plant

Canada-based Rock Tech Lithium has signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”) with the Government of Romania. The MoU provides for cooperation and support in the company’s search for a location in Romania for one of the company’s next planned lithium hydroxide converters and, in the longer term, the construction and operation of such converter.

The converter will refine lithium-bearing rock into high-purity lithium hydroxide—approximately 24,000 metric tons of lithium hydroxide per year, equivalent to the volume needed to equip around 500,000 electric cars with lithium-ion batteries.

The Rock Tech converters produce lithium hydroxide in three steps: pyro-processing, hydro-processing and purification. The converters are designed to process all available forms of material: freshly minded raw material, intermediate products, and secondary (recycled) raw material. Rock Tech owns its own mine in Canada.

In October 2021, Rock Tech announced its intention to build Europe’s first lithium converter in Guben, Brandenburg, Germany. The company will locate all production steps of lithium refining in one overall plant at the Guben site. That converter is scheduled to start operations in 2024.

“We want to initiate the construction and operation of five lithium-hydroxide converters in Europe by 2029 and are grateful for the Government of Romania to support us in finding the ideal location for one of our next converters. It took us almost two years to find and sign our first location in Guben, Brandenburg. To keep our ambitious targets, we plan wisely and long-term. We not only want to invest in Romania, but also build up know-how, create jobs and work closely with local partners.”, says Rock Tech’s Chairman, Dirk Harbecke.

Rock Tech believes that a key factor in the site selection process of its second proposed converter will be access to regional infrastructure, such as transportation links and a rail connection. Rock Tech will seek a close collaboration with authorities, experts, and local partners for all further planning steps.

Following the signing of the MoU, the company will start examining various locations in Romania and elsewhere in Eastern Europe for the site of its proposed converter, which will further Rock Tech’s strategy of building several converters across Western and Eastern Europe to supply the European electric vehicle industry with high quality lithium hydroxide.

With an estimated capital cost of approximately €400 million, the proposed converter is expected to provide significant and enduring economic benefits, including the direct and indirect creation of more than 500 jobs during its construction and operation.

The MoU establishes a framework meant to address a number of significant factors in the company’s decision-making process, which include:

  • Access to government grants and other financial incentives to support the development of a large scale, commercial cleantech project;
  • Predictable and reasonable permitting and approvals processes and timelines; and
  • Streamlined sharing of information and data for collaboration among project stakeholders.

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