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Infinity Lithium buoyed as European Commission VP reaffirms critical importance of lithium in Europe

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Infinity Lithium Corporation Ltd (ASX:INF) (FRA:3PM) has welcomed the continuing commitment by the European Commission (EC) to develop self-sufficient lithium supplies to service Europe’s burgeoning electric vehicle transition.

The company met with the EC vice-president Maroš Šefčovič and presented the San José Lithium Project in Spain during the European Battery Alliance (EBA) Day in Madrid.

Infinity Lithium managing director and CEO Ryan Parkin addressed the current status of the project with Šefčovič at the Madrid meetings and reinforced the critical importance for all stakeholders – including at European and national level – to ensure the timely progression of the project in line with the strategic objectives of the EBA.

The company believes it is vital for all levels of government to support the project to utilise the EU’s limited lithium raw materials that underpin the European automotive transition to electric vehicles.

“Covering the whole value chain”

EIT InnoEnergy CEO Diego Pavia co-hosted the EBA with Šefčovič, which showcased the five industrial projects that comprise the Battchain initiative.

The Spanish consortium, which includes San José, covers the entire battery value chain and is eligible for European funding as represented in an EOI led by EIT InnoEnergy.

Šefčovič highlighted the critical importance of lithium and the development of the entire ecosystem around electric vehicles, with EVs representing 15% of all EU vehicle sales in the first quarter of 2021.

He said: “There are the critical raw materials, there is the anecdotal evidence of how far we have moved and I would highlight the piece of information that just two years ago we did not have lithium on the list of critical raw materials for Europe.

“Now we know that by 2030 we will need 18 times more, by 2050 we will need 60 times more and when I talk to the industry, they still tell me this is a very conservative estimate.

“On top of this, we still do not have one single refinery for lithium in Europe.

“I am so pleased that from the start we have been working on making sure that we are covering the whole value chain.”

España 2050 Project

On the day, the President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, unveiled the first step of the ‘España 2050’ project through the ‘Fundamentos y propuestas para una Estrategia Nacional de Largo Plazo’ (Foundations and proposals for a Long-Term National Strategy) study, serving as a blueprint for other EU Member States.

Sánchez recognised Spain’s geostrategic raw materials as an asset for the EU and the existence in Spain “of one of the largest lithium deposits on the continent” in the San José Lithium Project.

The project is progressing the development of a major European hard rock lithium resource for the production of battery-grade lithium chemicals and the largest JORC-compliant lithium resource in Spain.

Notably, the long-term national strategy also highlighted the need to achieve greater efficiency in the use of materials that are essential to prevent the future digital and ecological transition, which Sánchez said “[Will] require greater use of raw materials such as lithium, and for our country to replace its dependence on foreign fossil fuels with that of these resources.”

The availability of raw materials that underpin the country’s transition to electrification and digital transformation is indicative of the central government’s position on the challenges facing Spain

Looking forward

The San José Project is the second-largest JORC hard rock lithium deposit in the EU – which is anticipated the become the second-largest market for battery-grade lithium after China.

It is the first lithium project to secure EIT InnoEnergy Funding and the company continues to engage with major project stakeholders following the cancellation of the Investigation Permit Valdeflorez, a research permit that is required to facilitate the progression of the project which meets the primary objectives of the EBA and the España 2050 national strategy.

The strategy was coordinated by the Oficina Nacional de Prospectiva y Estrategia and supported by organisations such as the AIReF, the Bank of Spain and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.

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