Rock Tech Lithium has secured the first partial licence for its lithium hydroxide conversion plant in Guben, Germany.

Issued by the Licensing Authority South of the Brandenburg State Office for the Environment, the licence allows the firm to complete construction for all non-process buildings and site infrastructure.

It also approves the general plant layout and functions for the spodumene to lithium hydroxide conversion.

In December 2022 and January 2023, the firm obtained the project’s early start permissions.

Rock Tech chief operating officer Klaus Schmitz said: “We have already achieved essential progress in securing critical planning and pre-agreements for long lead items, and the basic engineering is done.

“The Bankable Project study was completed last year, and the front-end loading study level 3 is in its final stage and should be completed soon. We are strongly convinced that this first partial licence supports and accelerates further progress in the realisation of this first-of-its-kind project in Europe.”

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By GlobalData

Planned to be commissioned in 2025, the Guben lithium converter project will entail a $683m investment.

It will be equipped to produce approximately 24,000tpa of lithium hydroxide monohydrate (LHM) and process 178,000tpa of spodumene concentrate, which will be sourced from multiple third parties through feedstock contracts.

The facility will process spodumene concentrate using the sulphation-causticisation process route to reduce the technical risk while increasing speed to market.

The project will produce battery-grade lithium hydroxide, a raw material used by the battery and automotive industries.