Manikaran Power Limited and Neo Metals commence joint feasibility study for lithium refinery in India
India’s leading power trading company Manikaran Power Limited (MPL), in collaboration with its partner Australian project development company Neometals Ltd, has initiated a jointly-financed AACE Class 3 Feasibility Study (FS) to evaluate a lithium hydroxide refinery located in India with a nameplate capacity of a 20,000 tonnes per annum LCE (lithium carbonate equivalent).
In addition, the originally planned lithium carbonate co-product stream has been eliminated, offering scope for significant economies of scale from the expanded output and overall capital efficiency gains arising from a simplified flowsheet and process plant.
Primero Group will undertake the engineering study and key vendor package integration, supported by Veolia HPD to design and estimate the hydrometallurgical process package; Sichuan Calciner Technologies (SCT) will design and estimate the pyrometallurgical process package. The calcine testing on the Mt Marion spodumene concentrate feed will also be performed by SCT. Gangfeng Lithium has been calcining Mt Marion concentrates in China for more than 3 years.
In June 2019, Neometals entered-into a binding memorandum of understanding with Manikaran jointly to finance assessment and estimation initiatives towards developing the first lithium refinery in India. The key areas of assessment include feasibility studies, finalization of contractors, consultants and OEM reviews and site evaluation.
The assessment activity results will reinforce the staged investment decisions to the formation of a 50:50 joint venture to develop the lithium refinery.
The kick-start of the jointly funded evaluation study is estimated at A$2 million / US$1.3 millon.
The short- to medium-term forecast for lithium is likely to have an impact on the lithium supply chain during 2025-2028, spurred by the ongoing disturbance caused due to COVID-19. The assessment of the refinery and its development is timed to be commissioned to help match the increased demand for lithium in this period.
Our country is already home to several EV manufacturers, and domestic policymakers are aiming to incentivize EV adoption and downstream investment in the EV supply chain. The proposed lithium refinery, which will produce Lithium Hydroxide, critical for manufacturing of Lithium Ion Battery cells, with Neometals-Australia as its strategic partner will help in achieving domestic downstream manufacturing capabilities for Lithium Ion Batteries, which in turn, will help the EV manufacturing ecosystem achieve the “Make in India” mission.—Manikaran Power Limited Director Jasmeet Singh Kalsi