Signed MOU with Australia’s Jindalee Resources Limited for joint research and business cooperation for the commercialization of the ‘McDermitt Clay Lithium Project’ of the U.S.
POSCO Holdings develops lithium extraction process using clay lithium provided by Jindalee Resources Limited… Will consider joint investment consultation when confirming the possibility of commercialization.
POSCO Holdings signed a business agreement with Australia’s Jindalee Resources Limited for the clay lithium business in the United States. Jindalee Resources Limited is a mineral exploration and development company headquartered in Perth, Australia, and owns a 100 percent stake in the McDermitt Clay Lithium Project located on the border between Oregon and Nevada in the western United States.
Under this business agreement between the two companies, Jindalee Resources Limited drills and provides lithium clay from a mine lot currently being explored in the U.S., and POSCO Holdings uses it to jointly develop optimal lithium extraction process technology and conduct business feasibility reviews with Research Institute of Industrial Science and Technology (RIST) in Pohang.
POSCO Holdings has been developing technology to extract lithium from brine, ore, and waste batteries with RIST since 2010, and is currently constructing a commercial plant based on its lithium production know-how and technology acquired through the operation of demonstration plants in Gwangyang and Argentina. The Gwangyang lithium plant with an annual capacity of 43,000 tons is expected to be completed by the end of this year, while the Argentina lithium plant with a capacity of 25,000 tons is expected to be completed sequentially in 2024 and 2025.
Lithium, a key material for the secondary battery, is distributed in clay and oil-field brine including ore and salt lake, but so far, lithium has been mainly extracted from ore and brine. In the case of non-traditional lithium resources such as clay and oil-field brine, there are no commercial production cases yet, and the quality is low compared to existing ore and brine lithium. However, as large-scale reserves have recently been reported in North America, it is expected that the production will increase dramatically with technological improvement and additional exploration, becoming a new source of lithium resources in the future.
Upon confirming the possibility of commercialization of the clay lithium extraction process, the two companies plan to discuss business cooperation including joint investment in the McDermitt project. If POSCO Holdings and Jindalee Resources Limited succeed in developing clay lithium, they will be able to lead the development of non-traditional lithium resources.
In particular, as global secondary battery companies continue to invest in North America following the implementation of the IRA (Inflation Reduction Act) in the United States, if the economic feasibility of the McDermitt Clay Lithium Project of POSCO Holdings and Jindalee Resources Limited is confirmed and leads to investment in the United States, it will preempt the advantageous position of the lithium business along with the benefits of the IRA.
Meanwhile, POSCO Holdings is conducting long-term R&D and investment reviews on next-generation lithium resources such as oil-field brine and geothermal brine, including clay lithium in North America, based on its world-class lithium extraction technology and operational know-how.