Agriflex to supply phosphoric acid to Lithium Australia

  • Spanish Market: Battery materials, Fertilizers, Metals
  • 16/04/24

Australia-based phosphate rock producer Agriflex has agreed to supply high-quality phosphoric acid to Lithium Australia for its lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) or lithium manganese iron phosphate (LMFP) production.

The firms have signed a non-binding initial agreement, which envisages Lithium Australia building a demonstration plant with an estimated capacity of 250 t/yr of LFP or LFMP, potentially in Queensland. The plant will require around 200-300 t/yr of phosphoric acid, Agriflex's parent company Centrex said on 16 April.

Lithium Australia will move on to build a commercial plant with an estimated capacity of around 25,000 t/yr of LFP or LMFP if the demonstration plant is successful and following pre-qualification of cathode powders. The commercial plant will need 20,000-25,000 t/yr of phosphoric acid. No timelines were provided, except that the initial agreement will run for a period of 24 months.

Agriflex will conduct a study to produce high-quality phosphoric acid with low impurity content in Queensland for supply to Lithium Australia.

The two firms are committed to building a battery supply chain domestically in Australia, to provide global battery producers an alternative supply source for LFP and LFMP.


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24/06/24

Q&A: New DLE method seeks to access US lithium reserves

Q&A: New DLE method seeks to access US lithium reserves

London, 24 June (Argus) — Direct lithium extraction (DLE) technology has been around for a few years now, but several methods exist and are mine-specific. US-based Iliad technologies is attempting to find a universal method by which to extract lithium and export this technology to an increasingly diversified global lithium market. Argus spoke with Iliad chief executive Simon Moore. Edited highlights follow: How does Iliad's DLE technology work? It is born out of Energy Source Minerals, which is a company that is developing a project in California on the Salton Sea. The genius of Iliad was really the need for technology that worked at high temperatures and could deal with the fluids coming up from the Salton Sea, and we decided there was not really anything on the market that was right for our project. It is based on absorption desorption, which is one of the longer-standing methods of DLE that I know of. It has been used for 30-plus years and in Argentina. What happens is that the lithium-bearing brine enters the system. The kinetics of the brine push the lithium into an absorbent material that is designed to capture the lithium and ignore everything else. It is almost the reverse of a filter. Everything else washes through the system and is injected back into the ground. Then we wash the lithium out of that absorbent material using just water. So we do not use any reagents, we do not use any acid, and we do not use any other harmful materials. It is a very clean system. We run a continuous process and smaller columns with a very clever valve that basically pumps the fluid through 30 different columns of absorbent. We work the absorbent continuously to take a stream of lithium chloride out of the back end. It means we use a lot less absorbent and a lot less water. Does Iliad technology work in different forms of brine, different from the geothermal brines in the Salton Sea? One of the myths of DLE is that you need a different solution for different clients. We do not think this is true. We have tested on more than 30 different lines. We have tested geothermal obviously, but we have tested salars [large brine fields] and in Smackover [lithium mining area in the US]. We have tested waters that come up with oil and gas. In different countries, we have a lot of data now and Iliad works universally with all of them. I don't think it is true to say that each different project requires a different technology. Our flavour of absorption desorption is very effective. We have tested brines with lithium of as low as 40 parts per million (ppm) and as high as up into the thousands. It works at both of these readings and at everything in between. We are really confident and comfortable that there are technologies out there that have universal application, and we are going to be one of those. Who could make use of this technology, and in what areas of the lithium sector? Our modern take on DLE unlocks resources that couldn't really be developed before. The traditional way to develop brine field lithium was with evaporation ponds in South America, but you get very large losses. You only get 40-50pc recovery when you do that, it takes a long time and the product quality is not there. So DLE allows a step change in performance than what is currently in the the industry and targets resources that are not really able to be targeted today. If you come back to the US, say the Smackover formation, you may get to process 204ppm of lithium. South America has 600ppm-plus of lithium, so DLE gets you lower. Then you get into the conversation around the geopolitics. Do I want to establish a lithium supply chain in the US, Europe and Canada — places that traditionally have not had one? I think DLE is going to be key to unlocking the domestic supply chain that the US government has clearly signalled is very important to it. We raised independent capital from Livent, now Arcadium Lithium. It was our cornerstone investor throughout that process. So it has taken a shareholding early, which is really interesting because it is the one industry participant that has done DLE for 30 years in Argentina already. How do lithium producers use DLE to reduce their impact on the environment? This will be the cleanest lithium you can produce — no question. Take our first project, for example. We are attached to the side of a geothermal power station. We capture the brine, so it comes to us hot. We capture the lithium using our method. Once the lithium has been removed, it goes back down the hole, in the same way that it does today. We use steam from the power station, and we use heat from the brine to do a lot of the processing. We use water to capture the lithium out of the absorbent material. We have no reagents and no harsh chemicals. [It is a] very low energy requirement. Compare this to hard rock mining, where you have a very large carbon footprint, a massive land footprint and then a huge amount of chemical use and the processing of that ore. You do not have evaporation ponds — once again, these leave a very large land footprint and incur very large water losses because you are evaporating the brine to the atmosphere to capture the salts left behind. So I mean, DLE — particularly really efficient DLE, like Iliad absorption desorption — will be the cleanest lithium you can get. By Thomas Kavanagh Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Ford suspends new EV models after further losses


24/06/24
24/06/24

Ford suspends new EV models after further losses

London, 24 June (Argus) — US carmaker Ford has decided to hold back the release of new battery electric vehicle (BEV) models after heavy costs for its existing BEV models forced it to restructure its sales programme. Ford will open up its range of BEVs to all dealerships in the US on 1 July, ending a programme it started in 2022 under which only "certified" dealerships could exclusively sell its EVs. Under programme, which included vehicles such as the Mustang Mach-E sport utility vehicle (SUV), the F-150 Lightning pick-up and the E-Transit van, Ford required "certified" or "certified elite" dealerships to make significant investments in charging infrastructure and customer service. Ford also required dealerships to display their prices on Ford's website, making it difficult for them to make significant mark-ups for EVs in high demand but with limited availability. "We will not launch a second-gen [EV] product unless it's profitable within the first year and we are going to get a return on that capital we're investing," chief financial officer John Lawler said. Ford announced plans in April for an electric truck in 2026 and a three-row SUV in 2027, delayed from 2025. The firm sold 20,223 EVs in the first quarter of this year — up by 86pc on the year — making it the second best-selling EV brand in the US behind Tesla. Tesla posted a 13.3pc fall in sales, down to 140,187 units in the same period. Overall EV sales in the US edged up by just 2.6pc to 268,909 units in the first quarter. Despite strong sales at Ford, the firm posted losses of $1.3bn before interest and taxes from its EV segment during the period, or just over $64,000 for each EV sold, owing to heavy costs. The firm has had to cut prices this year to compete with Tesla, including focusing on smaller, cheaper EVs . The firm also announced delays in EV investments last year worth $12bn , including scaling back plans at its Michigan battery plant . Ford's BEV sales increased by 88pc in January-May on the year to 37,208 units, ahead of 50.9pc for its hybrid vehicles and diesel and gasoline (internal combustion) models ( see graph ). By Chris Welch Ford Jan-May car sales by propulsion Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Urea paper markets rise on India tender rumours


21/06/24
21/06/24

Urea paper markets rise on India tender rumours

Amsterdam, 21 June (Argus) — Urea derivatives have reversed their downwards trajectory and moved back in line with physical prices today, driven by rumours that the Indian government may float a purchase tender next week. Middle East urea swaps rose to $340-350/t fob basis bids and offers for July-August contracts, up from $325-335/t fob at the start of the week. Chinese domestic urea futures also jumped later in the day, with the July contract up by as much as 1.82pc on the 20 June close, before settling up by 0.79pc at Yn2,160/t. The August contract was up by 2.19pc late in the afternoon trading session, before falling sharply to close up by 0.95pc at Yn2,130/t. Rumours of a potential tender to buy in India, the largest global urea importer and second-largest consumption market, appear to be the key driver of the bullish sentiment in the paper markets, reversing the downwards trend throughout most of this week. The tender's timing, if confirmed, would be contrary to most expectations, given that there is plenty of urea availability in India, with inventories climbing to more than 11mn t at the end of May, buoyed by strong domestic production. And the monsoon rains so far this season have lagged the long-term average by 17pc. But a tender issuance would imply that the government expects a potential surge in demand in July-September. Urea prices at major fob origins jumped by 27-28pc from early May to mid-June, but the resumption of production in key supply-market Egypt, following a gas shortage, weighed on physical prices this week to 20 June, pressuring levels by $5-10/t in most markets. By Harry Minihan Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

US urges EU to delay deforestation regulation: Update


21/06/24
21/06/24

US urges EU to delay deforestation regulation: Update

Adds comment from an EU official in paragraph six London, 21 June (Argus) — The US government has urged the European Commission to delay the implementation of the EU's deforestation regulation (EUDR), which is due to come into force from 30 December. "We are deeply concerned with the remaining uncertainty and the short time frame to address the significant challenges for US producers to comply with the regulation," US authorities said in a 30 May letter seen by Argus that was signed by agriculture secretary Thomas Vilsack, commerce secretary Gina Raimondo and US trade representative Katherine Tai, and addressed to the commission's vice-president, Maros Sefcovic. The US authorities have together with "several stakeholders" identified four "critical challenges" for US producers to understand and comply with the EUDR: no final version of the EUDR information system for producers to submit the mandatory due diligence documentation has been established yet; no implementation guidance has been provided — with the traceability system expected to launch in November; many EU member states have not designated a competent authority to enforce the regulation; and finally, the EU has an interim decision to classify all countries as standard risk, regardless of forestry practices. Should these issues not be addressed before the EUDR starts being enforced, it "could have significant negative economic effects on both producers and consumers on both sides of the Atlantic", the letter said. "We therefore urge the EU Commission to delay the implementation of this regulation and subsequent enforcement of penalties" until the challenges have been addressed, it added. An EU official confirmed receipt of the US letter to Argus and said the commission would reply in due course. A number of EU member states had also urged the EU to revise the EUDR in March, although the EU environment commissioner said at the time that the EU was ready for implementation and that they did "not see any issues". The EUDR requires mandatory due diligence from operators and traders selling and importing cattle, cocoa, coffee, palm oil, soya, rubber and wood into the EU. Derivative products that contain, have been fed with or made using cattle, cocoa, coffee, oil palm, soya, rubber and wood — such as leather, chocolate and furniture as well as charcoal, printed paper products and certain palm oil derivatives — are also subject to the regulation. Firms must ensure that products sold in the EU have not caused deforestation or forest degradation. The law sets penalties for non-compliance, with a maximum fine of at least 4pc of the total annual EU turnover of the non-compliant operator or trader. The regulation requires geolocation data for proof of traceability, and does not accept the widely used mass-balance approach, which has often been cited by industries as one major challenge for implementation. The EUDR will establish a system to assess the risk for individual countries, but the US Department of Agriculture has previously said that even if the US were classified as a low-risk country, compliance would still be costly and challenging, and at least $8bn/yr of US agricultural exports to the EU would be affected. By Erisa Senerdem and Dafydd ab Iago Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

US urges EU to delay deforestation regulation


21/06/24
21/06/24

US urges EU to delay deforestation regulation

London, 21 June (Argus) — The US government has urged the European Commission to delay the implementation of the EU's deforestation regulation (EUDR), which is due to come into force from 30 December. "We are deeply concerned with the remaining uncertainty and the short time frame to address the significant challenges for US producers to comply with the regulation," US authorities said in a 30 May letter seen by Argus that was signed by agriculture secretary Thomas Vilsack, commerce secretary Gina Raimondo and US trade representative Katherine Tai, and addressed to the commission's vice-president, Maros Sefcovic. The US authorities have together with "several stakeholders" identified four "critical challenges" for US producers to understand and comply with the EUDR: no final version of the EUDR information system for producers to submit the mandatory due diligence documentation has been established yet; no implementation guidance has been provided — with the traceability system expected to launch in November; many EU member states have not designated a competent authority to enforce the regulation; and finally, the EU has an interim decision to classify all countries as standard risk, regardless of forestry practices. Should these issues not be addressed before the EUDR starts being enforced, it "could have significant negative economic effects on both producers and consumers on both sides of the Atlantic", the letter said. "We therefore urge the EU Commission to delay the implementation of this regulation and subsequent enforcement of penalties" until the challenges have been addressed, it added. The US authorities are understood to not have received a formal reply to the letter from the commission yet. A number of EU member states had also urged the EU to revise the EUDR in March, although the EU environment commissioner said at the time that the EU was ready for implementation and that they did "not see any issues". The EUDR requires mandatory due diligence from operators and traders selling and importing cattle, cocoa, coffee, palm oil, soya, rubber and wood into the EU. Derivative products that contain, have been fed with or made using cattle, cocoa, coffee, oil palm, soya, rubber and wood — such as leather, chocolate and furniture as well as charcoal, printed paper products and certain palm oil derivatives — are also subject to the regulation. Firms must ensure that products sold in the EU have not caused deforestation or forest degradation. The law sets penalties for non-compliance, with a maximum fine of at least 4pc of the total annual EU turnover of the non-compliant operator or trader. The regulation requires geolocation data for proof of traceability, and does not accept the widely used mass-balance approach, which has often been cited by industries as one major challenge for implementation. The EUDR will establish a system to assess the risk for individual countries, but the US Department of Agriculture has previously said that even if the US were classified as a low-risk country, compliance would still be costly and challenging, and at least $8bn/yr of US agricultural exports to the EU would be affected. By Erisa Senerdem Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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