Extraction made sustainable and positive for all
Modern day mining and metals processing needs to be sustainable with limited environmental impacts during operations that can be remediated on closure and that lead to net beneficial impacts on local people and their communities. Invariably such outcomes are challenging to achieve.
Lepidico is fortunate. We are able to build a highly sustainable business with positive impacts on our local communities and at the end of project life improvements to the environment where we operate in Namibia as we remediate the sites at closure and hand back the currently abandoned industrial land in Namibia for agricultural use.
We start from a position of knowing our technologies and business practices are more compatible with ESG concerns than previous generations of lithium production from conventional sources. And that we are committed to a programme of continuous improvement, which we believe is entirely compatible with delivering returns to shareholders.
Ours is a mission with a purpose
It’s not only what you do
"Our primary motive is to bring people, raw materials and technologies together to create products for a healthier plant and its inhabitants."
Decarbonisation is a necessity to avoid catastrophe. And with global CO2 emissions currently estimated at more than 36 billion metric tons every year, commentators agree there is no single magic bullet. However, EVs - powered by electricity from solar, wind, hydro or nuclear facilities - have the potential to clean-up personal and urban transport.
What is less well known is that there are still chasms to be jumped across on this particular path ahead.
One known unknown is how the world’s suppliers will deliver enough lithium to produce the batteries needed to power EVs based on even conservative demand projections. Despite spot prices for battery grade lithium reaching $70,000/t in 2022, the market’s biggest uncertainty is whether its emerging substantial supply-demand deficit can be solved over coming decades.
This is because EVs are experiencing exponential, tech-like growth. Yet the limitations of mining and chemicals companies prevent them from responding in kind. Large lithium extraction projects can take five to ten years or more to onstream, upstream mines even longer. Meanwhile, ESG concerns are making mining permits more difficult to obtain and challenge project economics.
All of which explains why some commentators believe that the 47 million EV sales needed by 2030 to meet the International Energy Agency’s “sustainable development scenario” is an unattainable goal.
One of Lepidico’s motives is to help close the gap between the demand and supply of quality sustainable lithium, ensuring more EVs can be manufactured and help make Net Zero 2050 a viable possibility.
It’s also the way you do it
"Another motive is to help deliver decarbonisation responsibly."
There is always the potential that a cure for an ailment will also inflict harm, lessening the net benefit of the treatment.
Lepidico has designed its business to ensure that its production of lithium and other minerals comes with no such risk.
As you can see from our underlying technologies, and we attest below, the choices we have made do not just seek to mitigate harm. They seek to minimise and ultimately eliminate any negative impacts of lithium production.
Our Phase 1 Project has relatively low greenhouse gas emissions, modest water usage and a small brownfield land footprint which in time is designed to improve the environment and return it to agriculture. Our waste management strategies are best-in-class. And we actively invest in the communities we work alongside.
In the future we will do better - via our path to full decarbonisation
Greenhouse gas emissions represent the sole reportable impact to the climate for Phase 1. Relative to the lithium industry, the emissions are modest - with opportunities to make the Project best-in-class.
A report by leading industry consultant GHD concluded:
Scope 1 and 2 emissions intensity from the Abu Dhabi chemical conversion plant is “low compared with other emission intensities reported or derived from lithium hydroxide production facilities.”
Upstream mining and mineral concentration in Namibia have an emissions intensity which is, “comparable with other similar lithium mine and concentrator projects.”
This is how Lepidico’s methods compare to other established industry approaches:
Opportunities are being evaluated to not just reduce natural gas consumption but eliminate its use entirely. Installing a hydrogen-enabled or hydrogen-ready boiler will allow the decarbonisation of process heat during chemical processing, via the use of green hydrogen.