Ferro-alloys.com：According to media reports on Monday, Canadian lithium exploration company Rock Tech plans to raise US$400 million to open a refinery in Germany, which has won the support of many investment circles. This move is also regarded as an important part of the local electric vehicle battery industry chain in Europe.
Rock Tech CEO Dirk Harbecke said in an interview with the media that the company is negotiating with multiple investors, and the Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt regions in Germany are seen as possible locations for smelters.
The role of the lithium refinery is to convert the lithium oxide found in the spodumene rock deposits into battery-grade chemicals required for the cathode. Having a local refinery can also help European depots avoid the complicated processes involved in transporting highly corrosive substances. Tesla announced in September last year a plan to build a spodumene transfer facility at its Texas plant. It is not common for automakers to directly manufacture raw materials.
According to the current plan, US$150 million of the investment in the new refinery will come from Rock Tech and external investors. In addition, it will apply for a loan of US$150 million and a subsidy of US$100 million.
As a major electric vehicle market on par with China, the necessity of building a local electric vehicle supply chain in Europe has attracted a lot of capital attention. According to media reports, Facebook’s largest external shareholder Peter Thiel directly subscribed for 5% of the shares in the refinery, while retaining the option to increase the capital to 10%. The well-known British investor Alan Howard also confirmed that he would buy a small portion of the shares. The German company Jia Angemanye will subscribe for 20% of the shares and become the largest single investor.
Rock Tech informed investors that the refinery is expected to be put into operation in 2023, Tesla, which is building a plant in the suburbs of Berlin, is expected to become a strategic partner, and Volkswagen's electric vehicle factory is also located in Zwickau.