VUL signs agreement with EU-backed body to drive the Vulcan Zero Carbon Lithium™ Project

By Meagan Evans. Published at May 26, 2020, in Small Caps

Vulcan Energy Resources Ltd (ASX:VUL | FRA: 6KO) has entered into a binding agreement with EU-backed EIT InnoEnergy, as part of the Business Investment Platform (BIP) of the European Commission’s European Battery Alliance (EBA) initiative.

This agreement is expected to significantly accelerate the momentum of Vulcan’s Zero Carbon LithiumTM Project, located in Germany at the centre of the fastest growing lithium market in the world: the European electric vehicle battery industry.

This project is Europe’s largest JORC lithium resource, while the company has developed the world’s first and only Zero Carbon LithiumTM Process where the co-generation of geothermal energy from production wells will power lithium extraction at zero net carbon.

EIT InnoEnergy is the innovation engine for sustainable energy across the European Union, including accelerating innovation and commercialisation along the entire battery value chain. It is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the EU.

The European Commission founded the European Battery Alliance in October 2017 and includes the European Commission, European Investment Bank and key EU industry stakeholders such as automakers, battery and cathode producers.

EIT InnoEnergy manages the industrial development programme of the European Battery Alliance, the “EBA250”. This is a project-driven community which brings together more than 250 industrial and innovation actors, from mining to recycling, with the common objective to build a strong and competitive European battery industry.

Under its agreement with VUL, EIT InnoEnergy will marshal its ecosystem and significant EU-wide resources to drive the Zero Carbon LithiumTM Project forward.

Through the agreement, EIT InnoEnergy will assist Vulcan with:

  • Securing project funding, including the use of applicable EU, national or regional grant schemes, and liaising with EU project finance and development banks
  • Driving relationships with European lithium off-takers, aimed at the entering of binding off-take agreements.
  • Obtaining and fast-tracking necessary licenses for Vulcan’s operations in Germany and services with respect to societal/environmental acceptance of the project and recruiting key personnel.

Compensation for all EIT InnoEnergy services are entirely success-based, with no upfront cost to Vulcan.

Pending successful project construction start and subject to Vulcan shareholder approval if required, EIT InnoEnergy will be entitled to a share-based success fee in Vulcan for the licensing and environmental approvals assistance.

Services can be paid in equity at a 30-day VWAP at the time of issue, subject to shareholder approval. EIT InnoEnergy see equity as aligning interests and allowing EIT InnoEnergy to benefit as the project develops.

EIT InnoEnergy CEO, Diego Pavia, noted: “With its Zero Carbon LithiumTM Project, Vulcan Energy Resources will contribute substantially to securing the lithium supply for the rapidly growing European battery industry. Even more, due to the carbon neutral production of the lithium, the project will be fully aligned with Europe’s Green Deal objectives.”

Vulcan Managing Director, Dr. Francis Wedin, commented: “This marks a major milestone for Vulcan and our Zero Carbon LithiumTM Project. This partnership - with a reputable EU body with considerable resources - will advance our Project by helping to unlock funding, including from EU and national grant schemes.

“This will also support our efforts in securing offtake agreements, further investments with banks, and working with local stakeholders to assist with successful permitting. We look forward to a productive and strong relationship with EIT InnoEnergy, who are looking to join the Vulcan journey and realise our joint goal of supplying the EU battery market with Zero Carbon LithiumTM products from 2023.

Vulcan presents to European Commission and European Investment Bank VPs

Earlier, on 20 May, Vulcan presented its Zero Carbon LithiumTM Project to European Commission and European Investment Bank Vice-Presidents.

This was part of a European Battery Alliance (EBA) presentation by key European battery industry leaders, alongside Volkswagen, BASF, Umicore and EDF.

Managing Director Dr Francis Wedin said, “Our plans to substantially contribute to the European Green Deal objective to be climate neutral, as well as having profound implications for Europe’s strategic need for LiOH, by producing a carbon neutral lithium product, received highly positive feedback. Europe will be at the cutting-edge of sustainable resource extraction, enabling a low impact transition to EVs.

“We look forward to further engaging with EU bodies through the European Battery Alliance and ensuring that the low-carbon transition to EVs will be a core part of the EU post-COVID Recovery Plan.”

Other recent Vulcan activities include:

  • Recruitment of German lithium chemistry and geothermal lithium expert Dr Katharina Gerber to the Vulcan Board.
  • Appointment of strategic communications expert Ranya Alkadamani to the Vulcan Board.
  • Agreement to acquire 3D seismic package to accelerate project development.
  • Commencement of lithium test work for Pre-Feasibility Study.
  • Positive Scoping Study.

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