Inside Lepidico’s plans to establish a lithium chemical plant in Abu Dhabi

October 31, 2023

Lepidico's decision to establish a lithium chemical plant in Abu Dhabi is based on a strong foundation of infrastructure, resource accessibility, government support, and a vision for global growth, the company has said.

Lepidico said the strategic decision hinges on several crucial factors including the presence of established infrastructure, access to affordable energy, sulphur, and other necessary reagents, local markets for bulk products, including gypsum residue, and the availability of skilled and semi-skilled labour.

The lithium developer added that evaluation for lithium chemical conversion hubs is also ongoing in Walvis Bay, Namibia, and in the United States as part of an ongoing scoping study.

This comes as Lepidico is close to securing N$950 million in funding for its Namibian lithium project from the US Government's International Development Finance Corporation, pending the final stages of due diligence.

The project, which is in two components – upstream and downstream, according to a completed feasibility study, requires US$63 million (N$1.2 billion) in development capital to kick start.

Joe Walsh, Lepidico’s Managing Director, said the company needs the funding to establish the upstream component of the project, which includes the development of a lithium mine and concentrator.

Meanwhile, the company will need another US$200 million (N$3.8 billion) for the downstream component comprising the construction of a chemical conversion plant in Abu Dhabi.

"About US$50 million (N$950 million) out of the US$63 million (N$1.2 billion) needed for the project is expected to come from the US Government's International Development Finance Corporation, with the remaining portion requiring equity financing. We're in discussions with potential strategic and off-take partners regarding this equity funding," Walsh said.

He said the feasibility study, front-end engineering, and design for the initial phase are already completed, with the project poised for the construction phase.

Walsh said once funding is secured, the project's timeline can progress efficiently. To bolster their fundraising efforts, Lepidico is working with a London-based specialist debt advisor.

Walsh noted that the lithium project is expected to generate 120 permanent jobs, with a sizable portion of those positions being filled from the nearby town of Otjimbingwe, south of the project's operations in Karibib.

Lepidico's project aims to produce approximately 5,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide per annum with an operating life of an impressive 19 years.





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