Galp to import lithium to refine in Portugal

 In Companies, Green economy, Industry, Investment, Mining, News

The Portuguese natural gas and petroleum company Galp and Swedish energy company Northvolt have announced that British mining company Savannah may not be the only supplier of lithium at its new refinery.

The two companies say that they may have to import the ore from other geographies apart from lithium ore deposits in the north of Portugal.
They have, however, set up a joint venture company called Aurora, but so far the players have not definitively said from which lithium sources the ore will be mined, and exactly where the lithium refinery will be located.
To date, the suggestion was that the ore would be mined at the Barroso mine in Boticas, in the Vila Real district where Savannah is developing a mining project which involves a mine and washing station.
Yet, it is equally likely that other countries with rich sources of lithium ore such as Canada, Brazil and Australia will also be explored.
“It is too early to say whether and how much lithium from Portugal will be refined in Portugal. We have a choice of supply, and will choose sources according to a series of factors”, said Paolo Cerruti, co-founder and COO of Northvolt (pictured), addressing journalists after presenting the joint venture Aurora.
“Galp has a memorandum of understanding with Savannah which has expired, but we are still holding talks and certainly this will not be our only supplier of lithium. Plus, the Barroso mine is small and doesn’t have enough ore to supply this plant. We’ll need to find other suppliers”, Cerruti stressed.
The Northvolt COO went on to say “from a business point of view, we can’t put all our eggs in one basket, we should diversify our sources of lithium”.
When asked when Savannah (representatives of which were not at the press conference) would begin mining the first lithium from Portuguese soil, the British CEO of Galp, Andy Brown, said that he had “no idea”. “Perhaps we’ll have to import it. We have to look at other sources of lithium other than Portuguese”.
“We continue to work with Savannah, their project is moving forward with a different timetable and they are waiting for (mining) licences. We will look to other sources of spodumene (a pyroxene mineral consisting of lithium aluminium inosilicate) so that we can start operations in 2026”.
As to the project’s financing, around €700 million would be divided 50/50, but that the final decision would be taken in mid-2023 when “all of the pieces of the puzzle are in place: lithium suppliers, refinery and buyers”.
The Swedish company Northvolt also admitted it is looking to construct a lithium batteries plant on the Iberian peninsula.