Australian mining company European Lithium is in the process of securing two promising lithium deposits in Ukraine, aiming to become the largest lithium supplier in Europe and an essential part of an integrated European battery supply chain.
The two deposits, discovered and subsequently explored in the 1980s and 1990s, are located in Shevchenkivske in the Donetsk region and in Dobra in the Kirovograd region of western Ukraine. Both sites are said to be “under-explored” according to modern methods and “contain significant expected resources”, according to a statement by the Australian company, who have so far made a name for themselves in Europe mainly as the owner and operator of a lithium mining project in Wolfsberg in Carinthia, Austria. A “phased acquisition” of the two deposits has now been agreed, with the transaction expected to close in November 2022.
“I am very excited about the opportunity to acquire the two Ukrainian lithium deposits and combine them with our already advanced lithium project in Wolfsberg. This will not only allow us to become the first local lithium hydroxide producer in Europe, but at the same time form the largest lithium group on the continent and contribute sustainably to securing European demand for lithium,” says Tony Sage, Non-Executive Chairman of European Lithium.
The acquisition of the two lithium deposits in Ukraine is a complex transaction: European Lithium acquired the Ukrainian company Petro Consulting LLC from Millstone. This company has a stake in the two mining projects. In return, Millstone will acquire a 20 per cent stake in Europen Lithium by subscribing for shares worth up to 20 million Australian dollars (about 12.9 million euros) in several tranches. The entire transaction is subject to shareholder approval, receipt of the necessary mining and processing licences and other conditions in consultation with the Australian Securities and Exchange Commission and the so-called JORC rules.
Dietrich Wanke, CEO of European Lithium, emphasises the importance of lithium mining in Europe: “Lithium is currently mined almost exclusively in Australia, Asia and South America. This fact, coupled with the forecast that demand for lithium will more than double in a few years, means a serious situation of dependency for Europe’s industry.” An integrated European battery supply chain, the cornerstone of which is now being laid not least by the intensive activities of European Lithium, could provide a remedy.
European Lithium is listed on the stock exchanges in Sydney and Frankfurt and is represented in Austria by ECM Lithium AT GmbH. Until the completion of the planned acquisition in Ukraine, the completion of the final feasibility study of the lithium project in Wolfsberg, Austria, now has the highest priority, the group says.