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EcoPro and Ioneer Forge Partnership to Develop Lithium Mine in Nevada

EcoPro's subsidiary, EcoPro Innovation, collaborates with Australian lithium firm Ioneer to develop advanced technology for extracting high-purity lithium from clay in Nevada, aiming to bolster the U.S. electric vehicle supply chain
South Korea
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EcoPro’s subsidiary, EcoPro Innovation, has entered into a strategic partnership with Australian lithium company Ioneer to jointly develop a lithium mine in Nevada, USA. The collaboration aims to advance technology for extracting high-purity lithium from lithium clay, a clay-like material mixed with lithium, and subsequently produce lithium hydroxide. The agreement was signed on the 31st of last month at the EcoPro Pohang Campus in Pohang, Gyeongsangbuk-do.

Under this research and development (R&D) agreement, Ioneer will provide samples and basic data to EcoPro Innovation, and the two entities will coordinate technology development efforts through regular meetings. Successful R&D outcomes may lead to the construction of a lithium hydroxide conversion plant in North America.

Nevada is home to an estimated 77.4 million tons of lithium clay in its mines. The key challenge lies in developing the technology to efficiently remove impurities and extract high-purity lithium. Based on typical lithium extraction rates, it is projected that approximately 1 million tons of lithium hydroxide could be produced.

Lithium plays a critical role in the production of cathode materials, a key component of secondary batteries. The quality of lithium hydroxide significantly impacts battery performance. The process involves extracting lithium from mines or salt lakes, converting it into lithium hydroxide through processing, and utilizing it to manufacture cathode materials.

Kim Yoon-tae, CEO of Ecopro Innovation, emphasized the complexity of extracting lithium from clay, highlighting the need for a sophisticated impurity removal process. He expressed confidence in leveraging their experience operating a lithium hydroxide mass production plant and their patented technology for lithium extraction from waste batteries. Ioneer Chairman James Callaway echoed the sentiment, emphasizing the shared goal of bolstering the U.S. electric vehicle supply chain and generating high-quality jobs in Nevada and beyond.

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