A huge lithium deposit in France will redistribute the cards

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Unless we use new types of batteries, we will need a lot of lithium to power our electric cars. However, for the moment, in Europe, manufacturers are still highly dependent on imports.

Imerys launches a lithium mining project in France

The good news is that a future French operation (the first) will redistribute the cards. In a press release, Imerys announced a lithium mining project at its Beauvoir site (Allier department).

Since the 19th century, the site has produced kaolin. But the results of studies conducted by the world leader in mineral specialties for industry revealed that the site also has a large lithium deposit.

And now, its objective is to produce it in France from 2028, with a production of 34,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide per year. Once operational, the operation would equip 700,000 electric vehicles with batteries.

A matter of sovereignty

Imerys estimates that it will be able to extract lithium from Beauvoir at a competitive cost of 7 to 9 euros per kilogram. But beyond that, this new operation will also strengthen the sovereignty of France and Europe in this area, by reducing the dependence of manufacturers on imports.

Roland Lescure, Minister Delegate for Industry, indicates that this French exploitation will be able to satisfy a quarter of the future “gigafactories” of France.

“This project, exemplary in environmental and climate terms, will drastically reduce our lithium import needs and will enable the production of nearly 700,000 batteries for electric vehicles per year. It will contribute to the objective set by the President of the Republic to produce 2 million electric vehicles in France by 2030 and will be supported by the Government”declared Bruno Le Maire, Minister of the Economy, Finance and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty.

A lithium made in France and cleaner?

Indeed, at a time when we are questioning the way lithium is extracted for our cars and electrical appliances, Imerys wants to position itself as a good student. The project will be developed in accordance with the IRMA standard, for responsible mining.

And the multinational has already announced some measures aimed at reducing the impact of this future operation on the environment and on populations. It also wants to produce lithium while emitting no more than half of the CO2 emissions of existing hard rock operations. Imerys evokes an electric fleet, transport by underground conduits, by train, and the use of the “French low-carbon electricity mix”.

An essential raw material for electric cars

As electric car production increases, prices fall. Stellantis, for example, estimates that the price of an electric car should be below the price of its thermal equivalent in 2026. But it also admits that the costs of an electric car are more exposed to fluctuations in material costs. first. In particular the raw materials for the manufacture of batteries.

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