Lithium refinery goes ahead
Portugal’s energy company Galp and UK mining company Savannah are pressing ahead with the building of a lithium refinery in Portugal.
The government has officially recognised the project which has been submitted to the Agendas/Mobilising Alliances for Green Reindustrialisation for Enterprise Innovation which was set up in the light of Recovery and Resilience Programme.
The minister of the environment João Pedro Matos Fernandes said in an interview with ECO that the competition for lithium mining in pre-selected areas and which has been submitted for environmental evaluation will be launched “at the start of next year”.
The minister has not provided further information about the refinery project (location, investment or funding to be received from the RRP) but the two main companies involved are Galp and the UK company Savannah Resources.
When contacted by the news source, neither company confirmed their candidacy or selection for the project or wanted to make any statements whatsoever.
“There will certainly be a lithium refinery in Portugal and there are none in Europe, but yes a project has been presented to me by various companies for the construction of a lithium refinery in Portugal and the project is competing for (funding) to Green Reindustrialisation for Enterprise Innovation,” the minster said.
In June, the CEO of Galp, Andy Brown left no room for doubt and announced on Capital Markets DAY 2021 that the company was already in negotiations with a large European manufacturer of lithium batteries (Swedish company Northvolt) with a view to creating the first lithium processing unit in Europe.
Galp already estimates that by 2025 are than 10% of its investments (€800 million — €1Bn per year) will be directed towards green hydrogen and lithium.
“Portugal is well positioned for this scenario. We have the best lithium reserves on the continent and Galp is already in discussions for a contract to purchase a mine (Barroso, in Boticas) here in Portugal,” said Andy Brown at the time, adding that importing lithium could also on the cards.
Galp is looking to construct a refinery with a lithium capacity of at least 25 kilotons which could be scaled up by 2025.
Galp and Savannah have been working together on a lithium value chain project for sometime. Despite an original agreement being signed in January 2021 expiring in June, both have continued to hold “commercial discussions) on lithium mining in Portugal.
The last communication on the UK mining company’s website reads: Savannah Resources plc, the European lithium development company is pleased to report that its Portuguese subsidiary, Savannah Lithium Unipessoal Lda (“Savannah Lithium”), has joined The Business Council for Sustainable Development Portugal (“BCSD Portugal”) and thus reinforces its commitment to sustainability.
David Archer, CEO of Savannah said: “We are delighted to have become a member of BCSD Portugal, again showcasing the importance that we place on promoting positive environmental, social and corporate governance initiatives within the Company. We strongly believe that the Mina do Barroso lithium project will significantly contribute to the low carbon future of the automotive industry and provide a fundamental foundation for the energy transition of Europe to electric mobility. The production of lithium spodumene from Mina do Barroso aims to place Portugal at the forefront of an essential value chain to successfully meet the environmental targets posed by the European Union’s Green Deal.”
Savannah Resources Plc is a multi-commodity mineral resource development company focused on building cash generative and profitable mining operations.
The Company operates a strategic portfolio of assets, spanning near term production potential and longer term development opportunities. The current asset portfolio includes:
• MINA DO BARROSO, PORTUGAL – A wholly owned opportunity to become the first lithium producer in Europe via the rapid development of the most significant spodumene lithium resource in the EU
• THE MUTAMBA HEAVY MINERAL SANDS PROJECT, MOZAMBIQUE – A strategically located world-class ilmenite rich deposit being evaluated in partnership with mining major, Rio Tinto with a view to building a dry mining operation
The Company’s shares are listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange and trade under the ticker, “SAV”. The Company’s ordinary shares are also available on the Quotation Board of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (FWB) and the Börse Stuttgart (SWB) under the ticker “SAV” on both exchanges.