Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD), a subsidiary of AD Ports Group’s Industrial Cities & Free Zone (IC&FZ) cluster, has announced the signing of an agreement with Lepidico Ltd, a lithium exploration and development company, for establishing the first lithium production facility in the Middle East, utilising a first-of-its-kind process.
Covering a land area of 57,000 sq.m, the first phase of Lepidico’s development for the AED348 million ($95 million) chemical plant will house clean-tech L-Max® and LOH-Max® process technologies. The process extracts lithium and recovers valuable by-products from lithium mica and phosphate minerals. As an eco-friendly, zero-waste facility, the residue, predominantly gypsum, will be repurposed for use in the construction industry, KIZAD said.
Abdullah Al Hameli, Head of Industrial Cities & Free Zone Cluster, AD Ports Group, said: “AD Ports Group is committed to supporting cutting-edge innovative solutions that advance industrial development within the UAE. Lepidico’s process technology also aligns with our sustainability principles and our vision to support innovative environmental solutions that contribute to the long-term sustainable development of Abu Dhabi, as outlined by the leadership of the emirate.
“We are pleased to host an innovative and environmentally-conscious company like Lepidico, which aims to establish the region’s first lithium production facility in the Middle East, located in KIZAD. The project is a critical enabler for developing an electric vehicle supply chain in the Middle East.”
Joe Walsh, Managing Director, Lepidico, said: “The signing of the agreement represents an important milestone in developing the first phase of the new chemical plant and enables critical path geotechnical and infrastructure EPCM works to commence.
“In our endeavour to developing a sustainable lithium industry, we plan to integrate social, economic, environmental, and health and safety opportunities as part of the project design criteria and strive for a zero-waste process through our innovative and proprietary technologies. We look forward to working with AD Ports Group as we bring the lithium chemical industry to the UAE and wider Middle East region.”
The vertically integrated Phase 1 Project (P1P) comprises two small scale open-pit mines that will feed a mineral concentrator in Namibia, following which the lepidolite concentrate will be shipped to the facility being developed in KIZAD via Khalifa Port.
Lepidico plans to invest approximately $95 million for the chemical conversion plant in Abu Dhabi for an initial term of 25 years, which will employ the company’s proprietary process technologies, L-Max and LOH-Max. The project is a significant step forward in developing a sustainable lithium hydroxide industry and supports the global clean energy revolution, the companies said.