European Lithium has doubled the footprint of its flagship Wolfsberg project in Austria after snapping up six new mining licences and extending three existing ones.
These new licences cover the Barbara mining field, one of several mining fields the company had previously identified in its Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) for their potential to be mined in the future.
Barbara is adjacent to the European Lithium’s (ASX:EUR) existing Andreas mining field, which contains 11 mining licences, one of which has been extended.
The remaining two extended licences cover the newly assigned Barbara field.
Focusing on Europe to unlock value
The company’s Wolfsberg lithium project – which has a 12.88Mt grading 1% Li2O resource, secured mining permit, a DFS highlighting its economic viability, and a binding offtake agreement with a top tier car manufacturer – is subject to a transaction with Sizzle Acquisition Corp (Nasdaq:SZZL) which is expected to unlock further value.
Under the deal, European Lithium wholly owned subsidiary European Lithium AT, which holds 100% of Wolfsberg, will merge with Sizzle to form Critical Metals Corp (CRML).
Once this is completed, European Lithium will be issued with US$750m worth of shares in CRML, which also grants it a majority stake in the new company.
CRML will also hold a 20% interest in the Weinebene and Eastern Alps projects that are currently held by European Lithium.
Europe’s ‘first local producer of battery grade lithium’
“The grant of these mining licenses further reinforces our belief that Wolfsberg will be the first local producer of battery grade lithium in Europe to fuel the green energy transition,” chairman Tony Sage said.
“The Wolfsberg Project benefits from Austria’s robust and mature mining industry that reflects many of the aims of the EU’s proposed Critical Raw Materials Act, including a fast track for critical projects like ours.”
Chief executive officer Dietrich Wanke added that the grant of new mining licences and licence extensions provides the company with significant upside to mining operations in the future.
Europe needs local lithium
Europe is facing a domestic raw material production crisis for a range of critical minerals it requires for EVs, clean energy production and other technologies, leading it to pass legislation aimed at making it more self-reliant in the mining, processing and recycling of 34 such minerals.
Lithium is naturally one of those minerals, meaning that the company’s Wolfsberg project is perfectly positioned to benefit from support for access to finance and shorter permitting timeframes once selected as a strategic project.
Ongoing and future work
The company has conducted further internal studies to assess the technical and commercial impacts of relocating the hydroxide plant to Saudi Arabia based on results from the DFS.
It is also continuing to work on optimising the concentrator flow to increase spodumene concentrate levels with the aim to reduce energy consumption whilst advancing completion of the Sizzle transaction.
Separately, European Lithium continues to collaborate with a research group from the University of Graz to develop local lithium hydroxide production from recycled lithium-Ion batteries.