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ASX-listed European Lithium has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Saudi Arabian major Obeikan Investment Group to build and operate a hydroxide plant in Saudi Arabia for the Wolfsberg lithium project, in Austria.

Under the MoU, the two companies will work together to negotiate commercial terms for the construction and operation of a hydroxide plant in Saudi Arabia.

“The joint venture (JV) with Obeikan will allow European Lithium to focus its efforts on building the facilities to start mining concentrate in addition to benefiting from the JV opportunities. The huge energy cost savings will make Wolfsberg even more robust,” said chairperson Tony Sage on Friday.

A 2018 prefeasibility study estimated that the Wolfsberg project could produce 10 129 t/y of lithium hydroxide over a mine life of more than ten years, based on a mining rate of 720 000 t/y. European Lithium is targeting the start of lithium hydroxide production by the first quarter of 2025, subject to funding and approvals.

The company recently signed an offtake agreement with automotive manufacturer BMW for the supply of battery-grade lithium hydroxide from its Wolfsburg project, with BMW to make a $15-million advance payment which would be repaid through lithium delivery.